Friday Rant: Reading Into the Analyst Layoffs

In recent weeks, both Gartner and AMR Research have announced material layoffs. Forrester is rumored to not be far behind. What does this mean for practitioners looking for advice and vendors looking to influence the analyst set? My fellow Enterprise Irregular, Dennis Howlett, offers some analysis over on ZDnet: "As the recession continues to bite, we will inevitably see consolidation of the analyst sector through attrition. Talking to boutique firms, some expect to do well but they attribute that to agility. The larger players -- like Gartner, Forrester and AMR are more sensitive to market change, principally because they depend on the vendor community to keep them afloat...[In regards to the layoffs] a couple of names on AMR's list stood out. Jonathan Yarmis was building himself a reputation on Twitter as AMR's 'emerging and disruptive technologies' unit. Lee Geishecker, formerly with Gartner was on the advisory services part of the house. Lee is well known as an expert on Oracle."

From a Spend Management perspective, I would not expect these layoffs to impact the coverage of the sector. Depending on the firm, I believe that it will continue to be equally as good or equally as bad as the past. I've spoken to a couple of analysts in our sector in the past month who forecast excellent 2009s for their P&Ls thanks to both vendor revenue and practitioner interest in this sector. However, the downturn will certainly give rise to potential independents who take on the larger analyst firms at more attractive price points. One such former analyst in the PLM sector is back on his own again. And I'd sooner take his advice than that of the larger firms given his individual expertise. I also know of at least one analyst covering the sector who is quietly evaluating options to change firms. This reinforces something I've always believed -- put your trust in the individual, not the brand behind the firm. Which as we know, can crumble quickly -- and take time to rebuild -- when a good analyst departs.

- Jason Busch

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