Have not you ever wondered: Who analyzes the Analysts? Are analysts really independent? Should we rely on their forecast and predictions? Which analyst reports is more accurate ? Do they follow their own recommendations? Why does an Analyst change his judgment when changing companies?
I've been evangelizing the Internet of Things (IoT) for many years. During all this time, I have been using pictures and infographics from many analyst, reading their reports, reviewing their predictions, sharing ideas in events and working with some of them as independent expert consultant. At last this summer, I decide to write an article divided in 2 parts to help put some order in this group of such influential professionals.
In this first part I will classify the different types of analysts who are involved in one way or another in the IoT.
In the second part I will address the special case of analysts specializing in IoT Platforms.
I have created 4 categories of IoT Analysts and then I ranked them following a few criteria: technology; industry; reputation; coverage(portfolio of Services); geographies, number of IoT analyst, followers in social network, Foundation date, frequency of outcomes, customers.
Let us start for the most powerful category:
The Powerful Analysts' Firms
It was 2009 when Bil Snedier asked “Can you trust Gartner's 'Magic Quadrant' or other analysts' reports?”. A lawsuit alleged their influential conclusions were biased to those who payed.
Considering the importance and influence of these analyst and for the good to the health of the IoT market, the questions of conflict of interest and implicit bias deserve be clarified.
Nowadays, the shadow of doubt continues flying over the reports and recommendations that these prestigious and powerful firms like McKinsey, Gartner, IDC, Forrester, BCG, HBRcontinue to publish.
These multinational companies count with great analysts and influencers and with the machinery for boost the technology trends.
The IoT has not escaped their claws. Given the ignorance and doubts of a market that is no longer so new and innovative, these powerful firms get easily new contracts from their captive customers like they have been doing in the last 40 years.
CIOs believe their analysis and predictions closely.
The outcomes of these firms do not vary too much. Similar content, different format, minor differences to make their respective customers feel comfortable and not create controversy. It is not what we all want, the satisfaction of our customers?.
Its power and influence are so great that they should be regulated like other industries. An ethical code should be demanded.
They are in a privileged position working on both sides of the table, with sellers and buyers of technology. They know first-hand the market but also lose the independence of their analysis and conform their criteria and recommendations based on what their customers expect to receive by what they have paid.
Recommendation – Simply you cannot live without them. Use your own business intelligence or an independent analyst to filter their results and accept that even if they make mistakes, you must continue counting on them.
The Opportunistic Intruders Firms
They are also large firms, less powerful and influential but with great knowledge of some industries and less of technology.
They come from adjoining specialties, they also want to get on the IoT wagon and take advantage of the IoT moment in order their clients could see them on the crest of the new technology wave.
Firms such as Arthur D. Little, Analysys Mason, Informa, Ovum, Frost & Sullivan, IHS market, Linley Group, 451 Research, have good telecommunications, industry, semiconductor or business management specialists who provide their particular vision of the IoT.
They use the general outcomes of the Prestigious and Mighty Analysts' Firms as a guide to customize their reports and analysis to help their clients achieve transformational growth driven by the new disruptive technologies, mega trends, and new business models.
Recommendation - I find their IoT reports, webinars and consultancy projects useful from a vertical or subject matter knowledge point of view. If you want to sell to non IT you will need these guys.
The Specialist Firms
Many of them started with the M2M market and have evolved to the IoT in a gradual way, without losing its essence, at least before being bought (We miss you, Machina Research, it's not the same since you were acquired by Gartner).
Companies of few employees like ABI Research, Berg Insight, Beecham Research, Harbor Research, VDC Research . Usually have a mix of senior and junior analysts and specialize in some technologies or industries. Their market reports forecast provide the basis for many business plans and an excellent source to get an updated list of the main vendors and market share of specific topics.
There are many other specialist firms with focus on technology (Security, Wearables, Cloud, Platforms, AI,..) , or industry (Smart Home, Industrial Internet, Security,…) but out of the scope of this post.
Other firms are aggregators of content specialist that deliver excellent pictures and infographics to be share in social networks.
Recommendation - With the entry of the Powerful their survival has been put at risk. They must grow, change the business model (not just subscription-based) and specialize if they want to continue to bring value to their customers. They are not at risk of being bought because their owners / partners do not want to be swallowed up by the bureaucracy of the Mighty Ones.
The Lone Star’s Firms
I include in this category freelances or companies with less than 10 employees like IoT Analytics, MachNation, Compass Intelligence. Some of them maybe were fired or they resigned to work in the Prestigious and Mighty Analysts' Firms or they split from a specialist firm. After agreed departure have decided to continue their work, now without the machinery and support of their past employers.
Although in principle they try to sell their work to their former customers and use their reputation to get new ones, either by clause of their termination contract or by inaccessibility as a freelance, they should look for startups or niches where still there is not competence.
Their knowledge about specific domains of IoT, the local market and the use at least at the beginning of the assets of their old companies, makes their criteria and their work are appreciated.
Over time if they have not managed to specialize they will disappear, but if they take advantage of the hype and offer a few valuable services can earn a reputation that will work well for their survival (acquisition).
Their participation as speakers or event moderators and their free publications allow them to sell small projects, customized reports and hire junior analyst to escalate and maybe be acquired.
Recommendation - The good ones will stay, the bad ones will disappear quickly. By not having access to large clients, their recommendations are realistic and valuable because will be based on their work with small companies that are closest to the earth and see the today market and not the day after tomorrow. It is an excellent way to know the reality of the current IoT market.
It is very likely that many analysts will be replaced by Robots in a few years. Estimates, forecasts and predictions will be made by Machine Learning algorithms. But, until that day comes, we will see their pictures and infographics published and shared in social networks and internet media influencing our decisions.
Both powerful analyst firms, as well as specialist firms with their recommendations, predictions, company/products rankings are ideal for their clients. They are a low-cost marketing channel with great resonance and value. However, not all of us can afford to buy its expensive reports, nor to hire senior analyst,
Lone Starts are using social networks to claim and resonate. Not sure how long they can compete. They are in some way democratizing the analysis of IoT. Their influence will grow in the coming years but they run the risk of being acquired or disappear if not resist the move of their analyst.
One thing is for sure, for this market to continue influence, all of them must provide shareable knowledge, value and a high degree of neutrality.