Nancy Shapira-Aronovic, a Tel Aviv partner of Knowledge Capital Group, has triggered an interesting discussion on her blog. She asks readers what they think of KCG’s view that vendors cannot buy the opinions of Forrester and Gartner’s research and advisory services. The discussion is here.
She’s cites KCG’s Bill Hopkins making the comment in respect to what the firm calls ‘Deal makers and Breakers’. Ygel has nice chart on his blog to show who those firms are.
Her title, Are Industry Analysts Objective?, reposes the question very nicely. It would be mistaken to suggest that one can simply buy the views of top analyst firms. But it would be too sweeping to suggest that vendors’ commercial relationships with analyst firms, even the top ones, have no impact. Vendors are not buying opinions the way they buy advertising space, but they are buying an opportunity to shift bias and change the sources of information from which analysts are reaching their conclusions. As Carter comments in that thread, there is bias even in the top firms.
Opinions come from experiences. By buying analysts time, vendors can directing the analysts’ work and focus them on particular topics and viewpoints. There are many reasons to do that, and one is the common-sense observation that we tend towards the opinions of those we know more than to the opinions of those we do not know.