AMR/Burton clients: don’t drop your guard

What are the first signs of change at AMR Research in the wake of its purchase by Gartner? How does it bode for Burton Group? In this guest post by Dr Tony Law, the InformationSpan CEO summarises Gartner’s recent AR Community call, with its update on both the Burton and AMR acquisitions.

From the point of view of an enterprise user client: the position is still maintained that AMR and Burton will operate as separate brands within the Gartner umbrella. You will need separate subscriptions. And from the point of view of integration, the two acquisitions are at much the same stage since the AMR deal was pre-announced; both deals completed in the last couple of weeks of the old year.

But crossover has started:

  • two Gartner analysts, Dwight Klappich and Tim Payne, will “move” from Gartner’s ERP/Supply Chain team into the AMR team. They will, though, continue to publish through the Gartner side as well as through AMR
  • AMR’s (small) Enterprise Applications team will move into the Gartner Enterprise Applications group but will still publish to the AMR side
  • users should expect to see “some co-authoring” between the legacy Gartner and the acquired teams
  • Gartner’s research community meetings will expand to include both acquired teams with a view to “managing the research positions”
  • part of the “welcome meeting” happening next week for AMR will be to “align agendas”, despite Gartner’s earlier insistence that the AMR agenda for 2010 is already decided and will be delivered as-is
  • some “small moves” between the analyst groups will also happen to encourage alignment; the Klappich/Payne transfer is the first
  • the head of the Burton research team within Gartner will report to Peter Sondegaard (SVP Research), and will be a Gartner person [See Tony’s footnote] (the AMR team will be headed by Kevin O’Marah of AMR)

What’s not said, but logically must be a consequence of all these moves, is that content will converge. Burton is clearly going to be more strongly “Gartnerised” than AMR initially, but the internal moves of two senior analysts mean that AMR’s offering will converge too. Therefore the “second opinion” functions of these teams must dilute over time.

Gartner identify significant commonality between the Burton and Gartner client bases, and both are IT-oriented. This differs, in Gartner’s view, from the situation with AMR which is said to target “a different buying community”. Where there are two (or, potentially, three) account executives then the impression given is that, over the next few months, one of these will be designated as “lead”; it sounded as if Gartner will trump Burton but may not trump AMR. For smaller accounts, Gartner will consolidate the relationship onto one individual. They have committed to consult with clients about changes: hold them to this!

The teams will move towards common back-office support and delivery platforms, and a new unified web presence should emerge “within months”.

A key point, though, is that Gartner are looking to expand the reach of Burton outside North America. Burton have always had a presence here (and have one analyst based in Ireland), their Catalyst conference used to take place in Europe as well as the US, and there’s Europe-oriented coverage. But the presence has been limited although Burton have been endeavouring to raise their profile. Gartner’s sales teams are already in place and with the integration completed prior to announcement they will be able to sell Burton products as soon as they’re trained.

So the shape of the deals is becoming clearer; but don’t drop your guard just yet!

This first appeared at ITasITis.

AMR/Burton clients: don’t drop your guard
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  • Tony Law says:

    Please note: I’ve been corrected by Andrew Spender, Gartner VP of Communications. The head of the Burton team will be a Burton person. What Peter Sondergaard actually said was that “a senior Gartner research manager” will be moved across to the Burton research management team to ensure “coordination”. I don’t think this materially changes the conclusions!

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