Should Vendors Should Pay for Both Gartner and AMR?

It's the first day back to work for most of us after at least a few days off, and while I'm sure many of you are raring to get back into action, some of you in an analyst-renewal period face a number of added cycles thanks to the recent Gartner and AMR dealings. I know of more than one provider who is trying to rationalize signing two separate agreements -- which are really just one now, for more money, considering the acquisition closed at the end of December -- to work with both Gartner and AMR Research analysts separately. I've spent quite a bit of time examining this issue (not to mention running AR budgets), and have a few quick words of advice that should be especially relevant for vendors and service providers making renewal decisions in the procurement, supply chain, and ERP sectors.

First, as a guide to making the best possible decision, it's important to remember the reason you work with analysts in the first place: to get in front of them as much as possible, and hopefully influence their research and thinking (not to mention recommendations). If Gartner and AMR have been valuable to you separately in this regard and you can quantify leads, partnerships, and other commercial benefits the firms have brought you, then the decision should be a simple one, provided both firms agree to maintain staff and coverage of the area.

Second, if you need analyst input into product, marketing, and overall company strategy, and if you value the individual contributions of both AMR and Gartner –- or one over the other -– then this should play a role in your overall outlook and decision. In regards to marketing support, AMR Research and Gartner are very different: AMR has worked out a fairly general model, for example, of webinar support/participation, priced at <$10K per drink, that has made Mickey North Rizza ubiquitous as a virtual speaker. Gartner, in contrast, offers a targeted webinar model, for a higher sum, that targets its own community. If one -- or both -- are valuable to you, then it makes sense to follow your intuition about working with both divisions of Gartner in this area (or not).

Third, and perhaps most important, your decision should be based on whether Gartner has done a credible job of articulating how AMR and Gartner will fit together in its research portfolio six or nine months from now, in the middle of any new agreement with one or both groups under the parent umbrella. So far, I've not heard either firm articulate the unique value proposition they bring as two parts of the same whole covering similar subject matter. While I'm sure there's significant potential value here (e.g., Gartner focusing more on the feature/function product trenches while leaving AMR to focus more on business and operational issues of technology usage), until they get to this point of segmentation, I'd be hesitant to bank on both firms maintaining a similar breadth of coverage, research support, and analyst bench strength.

Jason Busch

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