Analysys’ OSS purchase creates a global niche leader

As we mentioned last week, Analysys Mason has bought telecom software shop OSS Observer. That’s a significant move for Analysys’ managing partner Tony Lavender: he arguably now leads the biggest practice in BSS/OSS/telecoms IT in the world.

Certainly the OSS Observer guys are well respected and, because they’re based in the US (only one in the UK), the two practices fit neatly together to extend reach. OSS Observer had a high influence level way beyond its size, partly as a result of its niche focus which amplified the quality of the people who work for it (it’s not yet clear if any staff will depart, but a Tekrati report suggests modest change during the buy-out, which includes new roles for OSS Observer’s leading analysts).

It’s a good move for Analysys Mason, and balances out a couple of departures. Danny Dicks left Analysys end of last year to form Innovation Observatory with Simon Sherrington (who had led custom research at Analysys). Danny formerly headed up the telecoms IT practice at Analysys and his departure probably matured Analysys’ need to bring in more senior level muscle to that group (hence the acquisition). There aren’t that many analysts in this area at a senior level so choice is somewhat limited. 

The other major players in this market are the usual suspects of Gartner, Yankee, Forrester, Stratecast (Frost’s premium brand) and IDC. So two niche practices joining together, like Analysys and OSS Observer, means that Analysys Mason can now compete at the highest level internationally –  especially on deal that require custom consulting. While Analysys Mason has a consultancy practice in this area as well, some other firms are reducing their commitment to consulting. As a result, Analysys’ market share is now more than people realise and its influence just went up considerably in the telecom software space.

Other things happening at Analysys: It has moved the main research office to London, although the Cambridge office still there, and they’ve had a major rebrand, are mid-way through a website overhaul and they seem to be developing more research which spans the firm’s traditional silos.

I think it’s good news for clients, and for AR managers, because it means there is another global alternative in the telecom software market. Generally, diversity of opinions helps technology buyers. Ongoing M&A in the analyst sector has helped shareholders, but has not always led to a better supply of high-quality research. We need more mid-tier players and it looks like Analysys aims to be one of those. However, Analysys and other challenges are picking their markets carefully. So they are definitely a firm to watch to see whether they can deliver over the next couple of years, and whether their niche value makes them attractive M&A partners for other firms.

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.