AR Intranet coverage expands 50%

Things slow down a little for our primary research team during the holiday season, and so we are completing two major updates to our AR Intranet this month.

The AR Intranet is Lighthouse’s online continuous information service, which we launched publicly in 2003. It contains those databases and CRM features AR managers need, profiling hundreds of analyst firms and thousands of analysts. In 2006 and 2007 we have expanded the coverage of the service by half: from 505 firms in 2005 to 745 companies, and from 1,972 analysts to 3,211. That makes it much easier to identify the most influential analysts. Since our database also ranks each firm (reflecting influence, geographical reach, and customer base) it also helps managers to conduct triage of in-bound inquiries, and thus prioritize the analysts who are used most by their clients.

The first major update is expanding our library of marketing collateral and sample research from analyst firms. Many analysts firms give us access to their research in order for us to conduct share of voice analysts. Of course, copyrights means that we can’t share that research directly with clients. Therefore we are asking firms to selects some samples to give our clients a better feel for their approach.

We are also asking firms if they have credentials packs and other materials that give a high-level overview of their services. Our researchers often use those materials to better understand these analyst firms, however the frequency with which marketing materials go out of date mean that it’s a good habit for us to update them regularly.

The second major change is a number of improvements in the way the AR Intranet estimates the ranking of each firm. We collect almost every number we can about the analyst houses, and use complex statistics to give a single overall figure to average the firm’s standing in various measurements of the firms profile and influence. That’s especially tricky, because around one-third of the organizations we track are virtual firms, kitchen-table operations or other micro-firms. Up until now, our policy has been to exclude micro-firms from the ranking.

This month we will change our policy on micro-firms, and add them to the ranking. Increasingly our clients are conducting analyst relations at more granular levels, often with a business-line or national focus. In such contexts these micro-firms can be influential. Therefore we will also start to use a different numerical method to present the influence. At the moment we use an ordinal ranking, where the firm in 1st place is the highest ranked. However, feedback from our users suggests that they want a series where more influential firms get higher numbers, rather than lower numbers. As a result, we will be moving over to using standard scores. That will also have the benefit of being more proportional. The gaps are not the same between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd firms as between the 400th, 401st and 403rd. Using standard scores will more easily show the reality: that a small number of firms are highly influential globally, and that the influence of other firms is more limited.

Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As SageCircle research director, Chapple directs programs that assess and increase the business value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.