IDC layoffs: it’s time for recession AR

Two dozen people, including eight analysts, have been laid off at IDC. The new alumni include semiconductor analyst IdaRose Sylvester and analysts in a number of areas, including handsets, OSS and billing, and business consulting. This is a modest change for IDC, as we discuss below, but it has some strategic and tactical implications for AR managers.

On the tactical level, firms affected by these changes need to identify which analysts have replaced those laid off, and allocate effort to helping those analysts get up to speed.

Don’t forget about the analysts who are leaving, especially from the viewpoint of competitive intelligence. As we discussed earlier, your competitors hire analysts too. It’s important to understand why vendors hire analysts, and to understand that a firm that hires one analyst might hire two. Of course, it’s never been easier to build your own boutique.

However, it’s very important to think about the people left behind. Layoffs are rarely flagged up well enough or anticipated effectively (Although IDC’s European marketing and media chief is responding well from holiday in Crete). Many analysts, consultants and account managers will feel more anxious as a result, and they will be a little bit more on the defensive. That’s especially tricky for AR managers who want to change minds or make analysts less cautious. Back in the last recession, my colleagues and I worked through a tool kit for communications managers needing to work recession. Over the last year, Recession AR has been one of the topics we’ve discussed the most. Check out our thinking here: and let us know what you think.

That said, what does this mean for IDC? Not much: it’s a loss of 1.4% of its headcount, and primarily represents back office work moving offshore. It leaves the firm with more than 1,000 analysts: many more than Gartner. The departing analysts were in modestly mature areas, and IDC still have ten slots open in the US, and more overseas. We feel that there may be more departures by US-based analysts following more mature, more consolidated markets. At least one IDC analyst Sean Hackett (outsourcing) has already given his notice to take another position, and more may follow.

ighthouse’s take is that this is modest restructuring by IDC which has to be placed in context: its revenue will probably grow 10% this financial year and the firm is rebalancing in order to take advantage of growth opportunities abroad. However, many IDC staff will be acutely touched by the layoffs, and AR managers should anticipate a few difficult weeks.

Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As the head of CCgroup's analyst relations team, Chapple directs programs that increase the value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.

There are 5 comments on this post
  1. May 21, 2008, 3:43 pm

    Duncan, Interesting picture. How deep will the downturn have to bite before we see consolidation? And how soon before AR Mgrs concentrate their fire on the likely survivors (Tier 1 firms like Gartner)?

    I don’t think the IT Analyst Industry has recovered sufficiently from the previous downturn (where Gartner swallowed up Meta, Forrester grabbed Giga etc) to be ripe enough for a new round of consolidation (perhaps Ventana Research, Current Analysis, Cutter Consortium and Burton Group might be juicy exceptions?).

    Telecoms advisory is a bit more robust and I’d reckon the latest owners of Ovum and Yankee are probably taking a good hard look at the likes of Pyramid, Juniper, Strategy Analytics, Point-Topic, Canalys and what remains of the World Wireless Forum.

    With all of its assets, is Informa going to go head to head against Gartner at some point?

  2. IdaRose Sylvester
    May 21, 2008, 5:37 pm

    As the first analyst called out in this article, I wish to thank you for sharing your thoughts on analysts moving to and from the technology industry. We come from and go into technology firms quite readily. My previous corporate gig was strategic marketing manager, sitting on the executive level of a technology firm. Our former firms pitch services and ideas to us, and connections only grow over time.

  3. Bob Sakakeeny
    June 03, 2008, 6:34 pm

    It’s my understanding that most of the analysts effected will have first crack at the open positions posted on, and that the non-analyst positions were replaced by offshoring. If so, sounds like a traditional adjustment that all of our companies go through rather than a sign of recession or consolidation.

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