Getting the Most From Industry Analysts

Former analyst and software/outsourcing negotiator extraordinaire, Vinnie Merchandani, recently penned a short little number over on Deal Architect in which he suggests that industry analysts may be "too conservative for their own good" when it comes to covering vendors. As an example, he mentions AMR’s coverage of SAP’s recent quarterly results. Vinnie suggests that there’s not much in it for users: "I asked what a CIO or another buyer reader could take away from that piece. Really not much -- it's aimed at investors and vendors. No tough questions on whether SAP's planned maintenance will stick? Their executive turnover? Their position on SaaS and clouds? Forget internal IT -- what about spend on R&D in a recession?"

What's the upshot? Bruce Richardson, who wrote the piece, probably knows more about SAP than any other analyst or individual on the planet. But he and his firm are not going to spill the beans in writing because SAP represents a large revenue stream and as important, a giant time-suck should AMR go too negative in writing (trust me, I've been on the receiving end of vendor furor myself). So we should take Vinnie's ultimate advice to heart: "Ignore what analysts say in print. Schedule a call. Or even better schedule a visit and get them to talk without attribution." That's how you'll get the real scoop on the vendors they cover and know.

- Jason Busch

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