Aberdeen Needs to be Honest With Their Customers and the Market

After a weekend of conversations and email exchanges with a number of those close to Aberdeen -- including recently departed analysts -- I've concluded that Aberdeen needs to update the analyst bios on their website. There are a number of names on the site who are no longer full time employees or employees at all. Without getting into specifics -- other than Vance Checketts, who I have confirmed is sticking around in some type of capacity as a contractor or part-time employee -- I've counted more than a few analysts listed who are no longer employed by the firm.

In my view, this is a misrepresentative face to the market, and one that I hope Aberdeen remedies shortly. Given that they update their research almost daily, there is no excuse not to change the bios to reflect the current situation. And besides, it does not do their research -- which has come such a long way in recent years -- justice. Granted, they will need to rebuild their analyst team as the firm embarks on a new era this summer. Incidentally, in this regard, Jamie Bedard, the firm’s former leader, is no longer the CEO, despite what the website says, though he is still "hanging around the office," according to a number of sources (Steven Gold currently has interim President and CEO responsibilities).

Editor's note: Some may question why I choose to cover the Aberdeen saga at all on Spend Matters. Personally, I think it's critical that someone stay on top of the happenings at the firm given their important role in the Spend Management world. In addition, I have a number of friends who have spent significant marketing dollars with Aberdeen who deserve to know what is really going on -- not what an account executive is shoveling in their direction.

In this regard, I also feel very much personally responsibile for getting at what is really going on, as I've recommended to a number of my consulting clients that they spend money with Aberdeen on either lead generation or consultative services. If my clients are not getting what they paid for because analysts have left or internal turmoil, it makes my firm look bad based on our recommendation to work with Aberdeen.

Going forward, for everyone considering working with Aberdeen in the near future -- vendors, users, consultants, etc. -- I would suggest that the firm appears as committed as ever to the sector (even if there's a near-term revenue and / or services delivery blip based on the current round of departures and the overall reorganization). However, given Aberdeen's inability to keep senior talent around for any period of time, they'll need to prove that going forward -- with new leadership -- that they they'll put a strong talent retention program in place if they're to stay relevant.

Incidentally, one point that I strongly disagreed with Jamie Bedard on throughout his tenure was the value of the individual analyst in building the firm. Jamie favored the notion of putting the firm ahead of the individual both from a brand and overall firm strategy perspective. Let's hope they change this going forward, creating a strategy to find and keep past superstar Aberdeen analysts like Paula Rosenblum and Tim Minahan around for the long haul.

Jason Busch

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