In the old cowboy movies, when a ‘red’ Indian said that someone was being duplicitous or exhibiting a double agenda, the words they were given to say were ‘XXX speaks with forked tongue”.
Analyst organizations often extol the values of the Internet, allowing teams to work together virtually, while being disconnected physically. But when you see a job opening for an analyst company it is frequently for a location which coincides with the analyst main office.
So when I saw this blog from the TechnologyEvaluation group for a new analyst position, the “forked tongue” comment came to mind.
Do you think I am being unfair?
I am coming to the conclusion that the research group International Data Corporation (IDC) is out of step with just about everyone else when it comes to the research they publish.
This first came to my attention when I was referred to an IDC report on the top ERP vendors. Looking at the report’s table of contents, I was surprised to see that companies such as TOTVS, Activant, Micros Systems, CGI and Torex Retail, were included. In no way can these companies be called top ERP vendors. So I was left wondering on what basis did IDC identify its vendors.
Now, there is a report that IDC predicts 27% compound annual growth in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market, only a few days after Gartner is reported as “backing off the software as a service (SaaS) bandwagon“.
Whether you are a customer or a vendor, do you wonder where IDC are getting their data?
Sometime in the next few months, the Gartner analyst group is going to be releasing an updated Magic Quadrant (MQ) of the mid-market ERP software vendors. The reason I know this is because I was heavily involved in preparing the presentation that SYSPRO gave to the Gartner analysts.
Its an interesting experience to prepare for an MQ session – interesting as in the Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. Or as a former mentor wrote to me: “the prep for Gartner is a killer and usually disproportionate to the benefit.”
For me, it started several weeks before, documenting the company’s product roadmap. But the work became really intense in the week leading up to the presentation.
If you aren’t familiar with it, Gartner evaluates product and service providers on an MQ against two criteria, made up of different measures:
- Completeness of Vision
- Ability to execute
Under “Completeness of Vision”, the measures and scoring are:
For “Ability to execute”, they are:
|overall financial viability||standard|
|market responsiveness, track record||low|
What first struck me was when I saw Innovation with a low scoring. On further reading of their preparation document, Gartner explained that this score was set because mid-market companies are usually not innovation focused. This corresponds with SYSPRO’s positioning in the market – what we call the ‘pragmatic buyer’. However I was surprised that Track Record was scored low as mid-market decision-makers tend to use word-of-mouth in evaluating suppliers.
Another discrepancy for me was that while Marketing Strategy was scored standard, marketing execution was low. Does this show that Gartner care more about spin than substance? Probably not, as the scores for Sales Execution and Customer Experience are high, indicating that Gartner do look at results and real-life experiences.
One caveat – while Vertical/Industry Strategy has a standard rating, don’t assume this isn’t significant. Other members of our presenting team knew from experience that Gartner like to see industry-focused strategy clearly spelt out.
Before the first call we debated whether we should show the product or discuss it. Our decision and approach was greatly assisted by reading Carol Rozwell’s blog ‘Vendors: suggestions to maximize briefing value’.
We have now done the first conference call, and are waiting for Gartner to get back to us to present their initial ideas and findings – this is to give us an opportunity to respond and suggest amendments.
If you have gone through a Gartner MQ briefing, how did you find it? Do you think it is worth it? It occurs to me that a little wiki could be set up to provide ideas, guidelines and good practices for vendors approaching an MQ call.
When I read analyst reviews of what’s going on in various markets, I often get the feeling that none of it applies to South Africa. Now I understand why.
In a recent AMR note about Oracle in Africa and the Middle East, Bruce Richardson made the telling comment that AMR hadn’t visited SA in 11 years.
11 years ago I was the Alliance Manager at Digital Equipment SA responsible for, among others, 10 ERP players. In the hardware vendor market, there were at least twice as many players as there are now. In South Africa, we still had Nelson Mandela as president, and there had been only one open general election. The local IT environment had developed significantly, and we aren’t so dominated by international players.
Shame on you AMR. South Africa has changed hugely in 11 years, and you haven’t even bothered to update yourselves.
I recently spoke with a woman who works as a research analyst for a large local IT firm with international operations. During our conversation I mentioned a large JD Edwards customer I know who has decided that JDE is not going anywhere and will be moving to SAP in the next few years. She commented that the company should consider instead Microsoft Dynamics AX.
When I asked her why that comment, she said it would be easier than SAP. So I proceeded to inform her that SAP had thousands of customer references whereas AX had (maybe) scores, that while SAP skills weren’t plentiful there were more of them than AX skills, and that AX wasn’t necessarily easy.
This led me to wonder how this analyst had been mis-led. She is not a technical person and hasn’t touched an ERP system in ten years, so somewhere she heard a ‘spiel’ and was led to believe it. Without an understanding of the technical issues of how ERP systems are customised, she had no experience on which to evaluate the ‘spiel’.
How many companies are mis-led by unaware analysts who don’t have the necessary background to evaluate the software they are supposed to be reviewing?