Tag Archives: Gartner

Where is the Yelp for B2B Tech? Gartner Chimes In…

We now live in a world where four billion people – more than half the global population – are connected to the internet, and one of the most intriguing outcomes of this widespread connectivity has been the advent of crowdsourcing. Since you’re one of those four billion people, you’re probably familiar with crowdsourcing, the practice of enlisting the services of a large number of people (typically via the internet) to achieve a common goal. In fact, if you’ve ever contributed to a Wikipedia article or published a Yelp review – or even just answered a question on Quora – you’ve participated in crowdsourcing. It’s a powerful form of collaboration that relies on the “wisdom of the crowd.”

As with most technology advancements, crowdsourcing made its most immediate impact with consumer-facing services (Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.), which helped everyday people decide where to spend their money on products and services they regularly use. And there is now an increasing appetite in the business sector to draw on the wisdom of the crowd for the same effect. Why? The foundational technologies that help a B2B company run – such as servers and storage appliances – can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each, so making the wrong purchase can be costly. This is also true of services in which B2B companies make significant investments, including ongoing subscriptions with leading analyst firms (Gartner, IDC, Forrester, etc.) – which can cost upwards of $60,000 each.

If it’s clear that businesses seek a crowdsourced resource for the comparison of B2B products and services, even for complex, high-cost purchase decisions, what are their options? In parts two and three of this blog post series, we’ll examine the most popular options that are currently available, as well as the lesser-known sites that are emerging. In this post, we’ll take a look at the site that has generated the most amount of buzz in this relatively nascent space (and this buzz isn’t surprising, based on the site’s namesake): Gartner Peer Insights.

Launched in 2015, Gartner Peer Insights, whose tagline is “Choose IT Solutions with Confidence,” presents itself as a site featuring “reviews from your enterprise peers – verified by Gartner.” Its goal is to offer detailed perspectives for every phase of the IT lifecycle, from evaluation and implementation to service and support. That’s ambitious, but one of the biggest advantages Gartner Peer Insights has is something that all crowdsourced projects aim to leverage: tons of contributors. If the true value of crowdsourcing lies in the collective wisdom of the crowd, doesn’t it stand to reason that for accuracy’s sake, you want as large of a crowd as possible? If so, Gartner Peer Insights has that box checked, boasting more than 85,000 reviews of enterprise software across almost 300 product categories.

In addition to volume, the other main advantage Gartner Peer Insights has over competing sites is the trust and credibility associated with the Gartner brand. You’d be hard-pressed to find an IT professional who doesn’t pay attention to where their organization stacks up in its respective Gartner Magic Quadrant. In fact, Gartner is almost too influential: there’s a reason that, when a startup is looking to get its marketing strategy off the ground, one of the first questions it tends to ask is “does a Gartner subscription make sense for us?” Whether it does make sense is a question for another blog post – so watch this space for that…

While the cynic might claim that Gartner Peer Insights is simply a “feeder service” whose real aim is to turn its users into paying Gartner customers – and/or that the crowd are all carefully picked positive customers put forward by its client base – the site is without question one of the best options currently out there for crowdsourced evaluations of B2B tech products and services. In our next blog post in this series, we’ll examine some of the other most popular comparison sites currently available, so you can better understand what each has to offer to maximize your organization’s product and service investments. Until then, may the wisdom of the crowd be your guide!

By Drew Smith

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The Five Things You May Be Missing from your Analyst Program

We talk to marketing executives everyday either bragging or complaining about the results and ROI of their paid analyst engagements.  There are five ‘misses’ we find consistently:

Gartner
Every client or prospect we talk to complains about the ‘tax’ they have to pay to impress Gartner and get inclusion in their reports. The key is to ask how often they are talking to their Gartner analysts. I had one client express his shock to me that his company didn’t move up and to the right in their MQ, while explaining he spoke to the authors only twice in 12 months.  One of my favorite Gartner analysts once told me, “You get out of Gartner what you put into Gartner.”  The Moral of the story is to make sure you are having frequent (monthly) inquiries, briefings, demos, meetings at tradeshows, coffees etc. with your Gartner champion(s).  You can’t expect them to remember every detail of your solution and competitive advantage if you talk to them infrequently.

Leverage Second Tier Analysts for Reports
Not all vendors can afford to pay top tier analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester out of the gate, especially those that are early stage.  Unless your able to take a lot of time for the care and feeding of Gartner analysts (tip above) then we suggest you engage with smaller analyst firms like 451 Group, Ovum or EMA.  These firms have shorter lead times to get briefings and will be willing to write reports on your company, especially if you are a newcomer to the market.  These reports can be licensed for as little as $5,000 and will serve as third-party credibility and content for lead generation campaigns and the sales team.

Dig In: The First Rule of Gartner’s Cool Vendor is Not to Talk About Cool Vendor

One of my favorite Gartner analysts once told me: You get out of Gartner what you put into Gartner Click To Tweet

Social Media
Are you following your analysts on Twitter?  Are you connected on LinkedIn?  Are you reading their posts?  Are you liking their LinkedIn posts and retweeting their tweets?  If you answered no to any of these questions you have made mistake #3.

Share Content with Analysts
Do you feel like you’re talking to your analyst champions regularly?  Do they know the specifics of your last product release, customer wins, global expansion, partnerships or new hires to your executive bench?  It’s important to share press releases with your analysts to keep your brand top of mind. This also keeps them updated on your progress both from the perspective of the ability to innovate and execute.  Creating analyst newsletters that are sent out monthly are another great source of educating analysts on your business momentum.

Analyst Lab Review
There are few media publications that conduct product reviews anymore and some solutions aren’t capable of being tested by low tech media.  With that said, technical reviews are important for the bottom of the funnel leads, especially for technical decision makers. Consider hiring Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) or NSS Labs for technical reviews. You can control the testing environment and criteria and ensure you have credible content for the sales team.  These engagements aren’t cheap (running about $30,000), so plan your budgets accordingly.

Bonus Tip
Depending on the life stage of your company, you will engage in different ways with various analyst firms. For startups, those who are in stealth, or who have yet to take series A funding, analysts can play a pivotal role in validating messaging as well as how and in which category you choose to position your company. It’s not a step you want to short-cut.

Dig InLaunching an IIoT Disruptor – FogHorn Systems

By Angela Griffo

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Security Never Sleeps- HBO Social Hack, Security Spending

HBO social media hacked in latest cyber security breach

“Facebook and Twitter accounts breached”

HBO has had two of its social platforms hacked in the latest cyber attack against the entertainment firm. OurMine, a hacker group, seems to have taken control of the main account posting messages such as “OurMine are here. we are just testing your security”. This is just the latest in many attacks on HBO, with notable recent incidents resulting in the leak of popular show Game of Thrones scripts and other company data.

Gartner Predicts Information Security Spending To Reach $93 Billion In 2018

“Security concerns grow with malware rise”

It seems that anyone who has anything to do with tech has probably had an endless stream of malware scares hitting their news feed seemingly daily. Data breaches, ransomware, Trojan’s, and much more are on the rise, prompting a big increase in security spending. Gartner released a report this week that predicts over $86.4 billion in information security spending, a 7% increase over last year. Further, the following year it will likely grow to $93 billion by the next year given current trends.

70% of DevOps Pros Say They Didn’t Get Proper Security Training in College

“Mostly on the job security processes”

A new Veracode survey shows that most DevOps pros don’t get adequate security training in their academic institutions. The vast majority of the respondents, about 70% of the 400 total, feel that their college did not prepare them to be successful, and 65% learned most relevant skills while they were on the job.

The data breach blame game

“UK business cyber threat is growing steadily”

Ever since the National Cyber Security Centre opened in February the UK has been hit by 188 high level attacks, and there were many other low level attacks that are difficult to quantify. This was big enough to bring in the NCSC.

Public outcry searching for answers leads many to impromptu blame and quick answers, while the truth is often much too complicated for such solutions. Certainly security systems must improve for business, and regulation will accompany this.

‘Indefensible’ hack could leave modern cars vulnerable to critical cybersecurity attack

“Advances necessary for safe systems”

A connect car hack has recently revealed that the systems is currently “indefensible by modern car security technology.” These vulnerabilities can put large numbers of consumers at considerable risk. Traditionally these attacks focus on specific models or makes of cars, such as the Jeep hack in 2015, while this threat target the controller area network. Trend Micro’s Forward-looking Threat Research team discovered the hack, and first posted the information on Wednesday in their blog.

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10Fold Security Never Sleeps- Fancy Bear, IoT Security

RUSSIA’S ‘FANCY BEAR’ HACKERS USED LEAKED NSA TOOL TO TARGET HOTEL GUESTS

“Russian espionage campaign used WiFi networks to spy on guests”

High profile customers have been targeted by Russia’s ‘Fancy Bear’malware, now with upgraded NSA hacking tool EternalBlue leaked out to the public on the internet. According to FireEye, the attacks are are hitting victims through minimal security hotel WiFi routers. The security firm has also stated that they suspect the group is working with Russian Intelligence agency GRU.

8 Critical IoT Security Technologies

“Necessary as prevalence grows”

Gartner has recently reported a prediction of nearly 20.4 billion connected IoT devices in just the next three years. That’s a rate of about 5.5 million new ‘Things’ per day! These metrics suggest that standard security practices will be insufficient in the very near future to counter the cyber threats that face IoT devices.

Report: SMBs Better Prepared For IoT Security Threats Than Large Enterprises

“SMB prioritize cyber threats more effectively”

IoT security firm Pwine Express has found that SMB’s are far more equipped to handle and identify threats to their workplace networks than larger competitive businesses. About 41% of IT security pro’s at large firms did not know what types of attacks had actually occurred on their devices last year, compared to 25% at SMB-based companies.

Hackers Say Humans Most Responsible for Security Breaches

“Hackers asked about methods and practices”

About 250 hackers at Black Hat 2017 were polled on the processes they use in hacking systems. Thycotic surveyed many of these individuals, finding that 51% identify as ‘white hats,’ 34% as ‘grey hats,’ and 15% as ‘black hats.’ Defenders can use this data to understand better how to safeguard their own systems.

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Trends 2017: Big Data Adds Big Intelligence and Bigger Learning

While it’s too early to say that Big Data is all grown up, it is mature enough to have spawned a number of new and very interesting offspring. As Gartner analyst Betsy Burton explained in late 2015 when she removed Big Data from the firm’s Hype Cycle, “Big Data has quickly moved over the peak of inflated expectations and has become prevalent in our lives across many hype cycles.”

Big Data is now a fundamental basis of several emerging technologies including the IoT, self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, deep learning, and augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR). It has moved beyond elemental data into more sophisticated areas such as image recognition and correlation, and natural language querying systems such as AI-based personal assistants.

The Big Data category is evolving so rapidly it’s difficult to say where it will be at year’s end but strong trends are evident. 10Fold has a dedicated Big Data team that has been driving and closely tracking its evolution, and below is a short list of some of the important trends we see for 2017.

Data Democratization

Delivering ease of use and understandable analytics to people who are not data engineers or scientists is evidence of the industry’s maturity, a key to its growth, and increases ROI via simplification. Improvements in data processing and cloud apps and services, including BDaaS and STaaS, have delivered simple and sometimes free tools that make Big Data results easier to access. The cloud is now the main means of implementing most Big Data initiatives, allowing users to specify the needed storage and compute by spinning up databases for apps and data warehouses in mere minutes, at minimal cost, and without the all the previous physical hassles of configuration. This year and the coming decade will see more from the next level of data democratization, and one that is born of Big Data itself, with VR- and AR-based data interaction capabilities providing an immersive and further simplified experience.

IoT, Big Data – and Blockchain?

IoT perfectly exemplifies Big Data, delivering constant generation of unstructured data from a variety of sources. IoT is hot, but it also expands the attack surface among a variety of new vectors. Interestingly, media and analysts alike see blockchain technology growing beyond its financial origins to impact Big Data and as a potential remedy for IoT’s security issues. Blockchain’s relevance comes from its distributed ledger capabilities that hasten communications, its encryption, and from its unalterable nature. If these capabilities can be successfully applied to IoT and across other distributed Big Data systems, then not only will they speed and improve performance, but will greatly reduce risks.

AI Continues Learning

According to IDC’s 2017 predictions, “by 2019, 40 percent of digital transformation initiatives and 100 percent of IoT initiatives will be supported by AI capabilities.” AI provides timely analytics from Big Data and is especially useful with unstructured data by rapidly sifting through and identifying which data are most relevant for specific use cases. AI has morphed into a variety of new applications including machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, cognitive computing, image recognition, speech recognition and natural language processing just to name a few.

Feeding Big Data’s analytic output back into the system so the database learns from itself creates an iterative process that is the main tenet of machine learning, with AI hastening that process. Cognitive solutions that leverage AI are particularly useful by providing explanations, recommendations, and informing future actions or outcomes via their predictive nature.

While the predictive nature of these solutions positively impacts a variety of industries, it is especially useful in the most critical area to us all—healthcare. Using AI and other learning technologies to harness Big Data sources such as genomic sequencing, imaging analytics, medical devices (IoT), and data from medical records can deliver decision support capabilities enabling: health risk predictions; prevention of hospital readmissions; and faster decisions for improved patient outcomes. As proof of its importance, industry giants including Microsoft, SAP, Dell Services, IBM, Google and others have invested heavily in healthcare with the goal of applying machine learning strategies to complex problems such as cancer research.

Better Than Humans and Accelerating

Recently published results from experiments at Google’s Brain and DeepMind artificial intelligence research groups, OpenAI, MIT and UC Berkeley indicate AI software can design machine-learning systems with better results than those designed by humans. This has powerful implications such as: reducing market demand/stress for AI engineers that are in low supply; accelerating the pace at which machine-learning software is deployed; and reducing the amount of required data consumed for a system to perform (learn) a task well—with the last two further accelerating the pace of machine-learning’s evolution.

The pace of innovation enabled by Big Data and its various intelligent and self-learning spawn is so rapid and widespread that its outcomes may be impossible for mere humans to predict, though perhaps AI and the learning systems themselves will have an answer soon. One thing is for sure, at this pace we won’t have to wait long for the results.

Increasing ROI from Your Gartner Subscription

If you are a technology company selling to the data center, no doubt you are thinking about how industry analysts may be an important part of your marketing strategy and/or your product development strategy. Over the last ten years, consolidation has separated one analyst firm, Gartner Group, from the rest of the pack. With more than 32 acquisitions since going public in 1993 – including notable firms such as Meta Group, Burton Group and AMR Research – Gartner Group is considered the most influential of all the analyst firms with the end-user community.

At $2 billion in revenues, Gartner Group has a worldwide presence and is best known for connecting CIOs, architects and data center executives with companies that have the best solutions to solve their technology challenges. This translates to a simple, but powerful advantage for technology vendors: approval from a Gartner analyst (in a call with a prospect or in a research report) can mean instant credibility and a major new revenue opportunity for a vendor mentioned. As companies build traction with customers, their annual strategic initiatives often include securing a favorable position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is designed to inform buyers of the pros and cons of the vendors they might consider when making a purchase. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that so many technology companies are trying to develop the best possible relationship with Gartner analysts.

Now that we’ve established that having a relationship with Gartner is advantageous, the big question is what should you buy. Gartner services have always been sold at a premium, and that premium has only increased as Gartner has become even more powerful. Years ago, simply being a Gartner client was enough to establish a relationship with an influential Gartner analyst. With so many firms vying for a position or mindshare with the analysts, just purchasing a Gartner subscription has proved to not be enough to make an impact on Gartner analysts. What’s more, Gartner has changed the game by establishing new rules for analysts, parsing up the time an analyst has for individual companies and dramatically limiting what the analysts are allowed to do for companies that purchase only a base subscription. After some investigation with former Gartner sales staff, we have put together some thoughts that may inform your strategy for spending marketing dollars with Gartner. Below are seven tips for better understanding the way Gartner structures client engagements and three ideas for making the most of Gartner’s supplemental services.

Seven Simple Guidelines for Working with Gartner

1. The structure for analyst compensation has changed dramatically over time
Analysts are now paid only for research. This means that they are no longer paid for extra consulting they call SAS days that previously added bonuses to analysts’ pockets for half-day or day-long client visits to advise on strategy, product roll-out, or marketing initiatives. What surprised us is that Gartner analysts also do not receive bonuses on orders for reprints or licensing agreements of their reports. Similarly, they do not receive additional compensation for webinars. However, webinars do offer promotional benefits for individual analysts and groups of analysts, and do not require the grueling travel that other services require.

2. How to begin a solid relationship with a Gartner analyst
Most companies buy a base-level service from Gartner that includes unlimited inquiries with the analysts. Inquiries are exactly as they sound: questions that can reasonably be discussed or answered in a 30-minute time slot by the analyst. Asking questions that demonstrate strategic thinking is one great way to make a good impression on an analyst. In fact, our sources suggest the seat holder (the owner of the inquiry service) has to remain fierce about reading and finding research on which they can base questions and approach the analysts. In short, setting up frequent inquiries is key. And, there is a best practice for making an inquiry: send your questions via email before the inquiry appointment. This way the analyst can prepare and articulate a thoughtful response.

3. Analysts no longer like SAS days
While analysts were once eager to support SAS days, this is not true today. SAS days typically require brutal travel, and analysts no longer receive additional compensation for their effort. What you may not know is that you must establish your salesperson as an advocate for you if you really want a SAS day. Our sources suggest that a salesperson has to insist strongly that you get your SAS day, because analysts will do their best to avoid delivering on a SAS day, or will try to send a less qualified analyst in their place.

4. Reprints from a Gartner report make an impact and have staying power
Every growing company has an insatiable need for credible content – and all the better if the content educates or offers credible third-party guidance on investing in technology solutions. If your company has been featured in a Gartner Group report or Magic Quadrant in a flattering way, this single piece of content may carry you a long, long way. Be prepared, however; licensing Gartner content isn’t cheap – but it’s extremely beneficial for impressing new prospects or helping those already in your pipeline make a decision to purchase your product.

5. Analysts appreciate most webinar opportunities
Webinars can offer advantages to the analyst because vendors typically advertise the webinar widely and name the analyst leading the webinar. According to our sources, analysts love webinars because they get impressive exposure without having to travel, and because the added work is minimal, as they are able to use their existing body of research as the basis for their webinar participation. What’s more, the discussion topics in webinars inform attendees and create new possibilities for research. Webinars also afford analysts the opportunity to interface with end users – which often inspires valuable ideas for their next research topics.

Just one note of caution: don’t expect Gartner to promote your solution or be swayed to make over-zealous statements on the webinar. Gartner analysts play by a very strict set of rules, and, if they don’t believe you are the market leader, the fact that you hired them for a webinar (or any other project) won’t change their minds.

6. You can change your salesperson
Not feeling confident about the value of the service you receive from Gartner? Arguably, this could happen more often today than it did just a few years ago because the Gartner salesforce has become noticeably younger and less experienced. They often don’t have the experience to know when to push for their clients – especially if it means going toe-to-toe with a grumpy analyst. Our sources suggest that you contact Michael Yoo, who is a senior Gartner executive and part of the Gartner operating committee. He can help you find the sales rep who will give you the experience with Gartner that you need.

7. Sales reps and quotas
As is the case with most sales organizations, the Gartner salesforce is required to sell a variety of services. Their quotas include a percentage of revenue to come from custom consulting, a percentage from one-off projects (SAS days included), and a percentage from standard licenses. Learn to recognize if your sales rep is pushing something overly aggressively as a potential ploy to make quota for that service line. And, remember that there are considerable challenges associated with in-person custom consulting.

Three Ways to Make the Most of Gartner Services

1. Buy an advisory seat and use it!
Make an inquiry at least once a month (if not more often) and ensure that the questions you present are well thought out and sent in advance to the analyst ahead of time.

2. Webinars are a smart spend
Webinars help analysts have valuable interactions with end users, discover new research topics, and offer free publicity or advertising for them and their service. Schedule webinars after 1) you have had a number of inquiry sessions so that the analyst understands you and your company’s unique advantages, and 2) once you understand how the analyst will position your product and company.

3. How to best engage with a SAS day
Instead of asking an analyst to fly to your location (assuming they do not live near you), consider scheduling a SAS day near the analyst. Let’s face it, most start-ups don’t have impressive, differentiated offices, and these analysts have seen almost every iteration of a cool office anyway! You’ll earn far more good will by going to the analyst rather than having them endure the travel. As a side note: many analysts work out of their homes, so booking a conference room at a nice nearby hotel will likely be your best strategy.

By Susan Thomas