The top ten analyst firms for business growth

One of the most interesting discoveries of the Analyst Value Survey was that some demand-side firms have a very different idea from supply-side firms about which analyst firms are driving business growth. We asked users of analyst services to name the five firms that most drove business growth, Generally there was agreement about the top ten.

  1. afoty14-TOP5GROWTH600x400Gartner was named as the top firm for business growth by the most people, and over 65% of them were on the supply side. Interestingly, more than three-quarters of them used Forrester and two-thirds used IDC.
  2. Forrester was named as the top firm by fewer people, but only 26% of them were on the supply side. It seems that these two top firms have rather different value propositions. As we noted last month, Gartner is more highly rated by the supply-side than by the demand-side.
  3. IDC has in a more balanced position that you might expect. 42% of those who said that IDC was top for business growth were on the supply side. It has an especially strong position in the services segment.
  4. HfS Research, which came in the top three firm on many of our analyst firm awards, came in fourth place for business growth. This shows the limitations of its freemium strategy; while the firm’s research is valued, those who are reading for free do not feel that HfS is influencing purchasing decisions.
  5. Everest Group, another firm which is somewhat undervalued by the supply side, made it into the top five. It scored especially strongly with folk in the North American services segment.
  6. afoty14-TOP10GROWTH600x400NelsonHall scored strongly in Europe and Asia, but it seems that most of the firm’s notable readership in North America does not feel the firm is driving business growth there.
  7. Frost & Sullivan is a firm that many industry insiders, especially those outside North America, will be surprised to see in seventh place. More than 70% of those who felt the firm was driving business growth are on the supply side.
  8. Digital Clarity Group is developing a notable niche leadership in the North American software market. It could make much more of the impact available through community services and reprint rights.
  9. Greyhound Research seems to be driving results in India’s services and software markets. It will be interesting to see if it can consolidate its leadership
  10. ISG rounds out the top ten with one of the most uneven scores: 90% of those who said it was driving business growth are on the supply side. It’s clearly a firm that brings home the bacon for clients.


Gartner, Forrester, HfS & DCG lead American analyst industry

Hundreds of professionals across the Americas have voted Gartner, Forrester Research, HfS Research and Digital Capital Group into the top slots in Influencer Relations’ Analyst Firm Awards for 2014. Ten firms have won our Americas AFOTY14 award.

  1. Gartner was the obvious number one on every criterion used for the survey.
  2. Forrester Research was second in most criteria, with an especially strong position in terms to perceived media influence.
  3. HfS Research came out very strongly in the Americas, where it was one of the four firms participants said that clients and prospects mentioned the most.
  4. Digital Clarity Group stood out as a firm whose users gave it immensely strong feedback, especially on the demand-side and in the investment community. That propelled it over the heads of firms with more users.
  5. IDC performed well in most criteria, and could have been higher if the IDC Insights businesses has not been counted separately.
  6. Everest Group was one of best-performing firms in terms of winning paying clients.
  7. NelsonHall also did well in terms of paying customers, but seems to have slipped somewhat in terms of demand-side influence.
  8. ISG also performs strongly in the Americas, with influence on buyers similar to that of DCG and Nelson Hall.
  9. 451 Group was one of the top four firms influencing investors, reflecting its strong links to the VC community.
  10. CEB/TowerGroup got in the top ten by a whisker, pushed up by independence, its influence on journalists and investors, and by being mentioned to participants by prospects and clients.

Ovum, Aberdeen Group and Frost & Sullivan are also worth mentioning as firms with notable numbers of users across the Americas but whose users did not give them the same positive feedback as the top ten firms above. IDC Financial Insights also stood out in South and Central America.  Next year we also expect to see KPMG, Deloitte, Alsbridge and Novarica in more competitive positions.

Ten AFOTY14 winners delivering value in Asia Pacific

Because 2014 was the first year when the Analyst Value Survey had around 140 valid responses from Asia and Oceania, Influencer Relations’ Analyst Firm Awards for 2014 can also spotlight the leading firms in that region. Looking at the data, it’s very striking that the demand-side and supply-side use very different portfolios of analysts. More people on the demand-side responded to our survey, but they each use fewer analyst firms than do people on the supply side. That means that the supply-side in the region is getting more value from analysts than the larger demand-side.

Ten firms shared the Asia Pacific Analyst Firm of the Year Awards for 2014.

  1. afoty14-TOP5ASIAPACIFIC600x400Gartner has a leading position with vendors in the region, especially in the services and software region. Indeed, it’s one of the few firms that have more supply-side users than demand-side users in the region.
  2. Greyhound Research is being well used by firms looking for insight into cloud applications and platforms, and into big data and analytics. Its freemium users rate its insight very highly. Like HfS, it is respected for independence.
  3. HfS Research is a very strong contender in the services space, especially outsourcing, with most of its users also benefitting from Everest Group and Gartner insight. However, a very small percentage of those using HfS insight are paying customers.
  4. NelsonHall came very close to HfS and certainly beat it on one criterion (perhaps the most important); having paid customers. HfS has more reach, but NelsonHall knows how to capture value.
  5. IDC is held back by its modest freemium and social diffusion. It’s taken seriously by the demand-side and journalists.
  6. afoty14-TOP10ASIAPACIFIC600x400Forrester Research is seen as being especially influential on investors and the media.  It is also strong at getting paying customers, perhaps because of its consulting services and purchase of Springboard.
  7. Everest Group‘s another firm that seems to be getting business development right in Asia Pacific. It seems to be especially valued by vendors looking for business leads.
  8. ISG is also a services leader, addressing similar clients to Everest Group, with a similar focus on outsourcing and analytics business leads. It suffers from a very low profile with investors.
  9. Celent is a financial services specialist that, compared to other firms, seems to put more of an emphasis on Australia than other firms. Its clients feel it is notably influential on buyers, and they trust its insight.
  10. For many Aberdeen Group will be a big surprise in the top ten, and the only one of these ten firms to be used as widely by the demand-side as by suppliers. As a research firm producing content to enable marketing and thought leadership campaigns, it is valued by firms concerned with strategy challenges. Its unique business model and remarkable reach also means that it’s thought by some vendors, rather mistakenly, to have a notable influence on buyers while others rule it out. Generally, vendors underestimate Aberdeen’s impact.

A few runners up are also worth mentioning. Frost & Sullivan and Ovum both had slightly more users in the region than Celent or Aberdeen. Frost & Sullivan has a much higher profile in Asia Pacific than other regions. Ovum does especially well in terms of paying customers, but their services did not rate as well.  Users in the region had some concerns about their independence.

Deloitte, KPMG and CapioIT are also worth mentioning. The first two are global firms that seem to be taken very seriously as providers of analyst-type support in Asia Pacific.

CapioIT, on the other hand, is an Australian firm being used globally by some of the most notable firms trying to use outsourcing and other IT services to drive strategic innovation. In four years, founder Phil Hassey’s built a brand that’s credible in his native Australia, but primarily has a global audience.

As a services and cloud expert Phil’s customers are mostly savvy solution providers who say that he has the independence and the insights they need on key topics like outsourcing, IT services and cloud applications. They want three things: research, direct access through inquiry calls and face to face advisory days. Of course, the last two of those three things are both expensive and logistically hard with almost all the firms I mentioned. They play to Phil’s strengths.

Not every analyst can set up for themselves as successful as Phil has. He has 20 years’ research experience and a very high profile.Furthermore, few firms make their business principles as clear as CapioIT does. It would be easy to see that with two or three sales people, and then two or three consultants, CapioIT could become a firm with a global reach.

Ten AFOTY14 winners delivering maximum analyst value in EMEA

Trends across Europe, the Middle East and Africa vary greatly, but the five firms there delivering the most value in Influencer Relations’ Analyst Firm Awards for 2014 (AFOTY14) are international firms with world-class services. National leaders can be strong, but it’s notable that CXP is the only national leader to get into our top ten.

That’s partly because users of analyst research have similar questions in every developed economy, and in developing countries often don’t have the budgets needed to consume a wide range of analyst services.  I had an interesting discussion about this with Johan Jacobs, a Gartner alumnus in South Africa who pointed out that few analysts are writing research about Africa. That’s true, but the very limited responses to our survey from Africa suggest that many folk there have questions that don’t necessarily have an African specificity.  Indeed, some analyst firms are able to serve a global client base from one major headquarters location, like NelsonHall and Nucleus Research.

That said, boots on the ground clearly matter as much as the breadth of services to many customers. That’s what allows NelsonHall to punch at the same weight as IDC and allows PAC to match ISG’s global strength.

arfotya-TOP5EMA-600x400The top five analyst firms in EMEA are:

  1. Gartner: a global leader with an unparalleled roster of EMEA subsidiaries of US clients as well as a notable European client base.
  2. HfS Research: a British-led freemium firm whose wide diffusion means its reaching far beyond its client base.
  3. Forrester: The global number two, but whose analysts in EMEA typically have a global remit.
  4. NelsonHall: a long-established leaders in the massive European services and BPO space.
  5. IDC: in many EMEA countries, the only global analyst firm.

The other top-ten leaders are:-

  • Everest Group: a business advisory services giant, of which sourcing advisory and market analysis work is a small sliver.
  • Digital Clarity Group: a surprise high entry from another committed freemium firm.
  • CXP Group: the owners of BARC (and now also PAC) but well known as the leading analyst firm in the French-speaking region.
  • Pierre Audoin Consultants: once French, this is a now a global analyst firm whose savvy freemium project has given in remarkable access to top CIOs in Europe.
  • ISG: other services giant, into which sourcing advisory firm TPI was absorbed.

I think there are some remarkable results here. Again, we see the incredible reach that freemium strategies are giving analyst firms that want to expand their influence. And we also see some traditional European players, most notably Ovum, squeezed out of the top ten by those firms.

Ten analyst firms that tech vendors value most

Influencer Relations’ Analyst Firm awards for 2014 (AFOTY14) show a major market divide: In contrast to demand-side users of analyst services, people in supply like firms like technology vendors, service providers and equipment manufacturers are tightly focussed using analysts to drive sales. Suppliers see analyst value very differently and, in particular, they see Gartner’s influence as being much stronger than people on the demand-side do.

Suppliers responding to our Analyst Value Survey were equally split between Europe and North America, with another fifth in the rest of the world. They were focussed on topics like strategy, analytics, outsourcing, big data, IT services and software – and the top ten firms listed below reflect that.

afoty14-TOP5SUPPLYSIDE600x400The top five firms

  • Gartner was the leader on more or less every variable in our survey, with an exceptional leadership position in influencing investors.
  • Forrester’s strong position as the number two is most categories seems to be especially strong with suppliers. They appreciate its great support for strategy days.
  • HfS Research is getting mentioned widely by customers, clients and prospects, and seems to be influential on them according to suppliers: pushing it up into third place.
  • IDC performs strongly in many categories, and suppliers say it almost pips Forrester for second place in terms of perceived influence on investors and journalists. It’s also doing well with getting suppliers to subscribe.
  • NelsonHall rounds out the top five on many criteria, but is especially strong on independence.

afoty14-TOP10SUPPLYSIDE600x400The rest of the top ten

  • ISG clearly has a leading role in the services market, especially in North America, but also with a very notable profile in Asia.
  • Everest Group is also seen as being mentioned widely by clients, and influential on them. Like ISG, it has great traction with vendors in Asia, but with more of a focus on outsourcing.
  • Digital Clarity Group is clearly a trusted advisor North American software firms grappling with e-commerce and digital strategy questions. It seems to be getting traction with journalists.
  • There’s not much that can be said about Greyhound that it has not already said. They are becoming go-to people for vendors in Asia looking to understand cloud software and services.
  • 451 Group is better known for North American cloud and software expertise than for the global telecoms insight that came with Yankee Group. It’s also valued by firms looking for big data, IT services and strategy guidance.

Of course these top ten firms are not the only ones: next year we’ll be keeping an eye out for TechMarketView, Alsbridge, Novarica, Hackett and Verdantix, which seems to be getting larger on the supply-side’s radar.