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The FIGs: Who are the 3 biggest ICT analyst firms?

When it comes to industry analysts, there’s three firms everyone has heard of: the FIGs. That’s Forrester, IDC and Gartner, the top analyst firms both in revenue and in analyst count. But just because you know the name doesn’t mean you know their story, and in analyst relations, the story is always important.

So who exactly are these three firms and what makes them so interesting to technology buyers and vendors?

The Gartner Gorilla.

Gartner is the largest analyst firm by a landslide. In 2022, Gartner technology research revenues were USD 3.6b. At present, they have over 1,700 analyst experts, each one covering a specific technology area or persona. It is most known for their landmark evaluative research report, the Gartner Magic Quadrant, which is leveraged by sales and marketing teams alike to prove market dominance in a specific market category. Other noteworthy Gartner methodologies include the Gartner Hype Cycle, which predicts the emergence and divergence of technologies and the Gartner Cool Vendor reports, which, you guessed it, lists up and coming tech vendors in a given category.

Gartner has deep technological expertise and covers a broad range of categories in their research and advisory services. These analysts know and understand technology and advise buyers on the best adoption strategy for their use case through over 500,000 client inquires (phone consultations) each year.

Forrester for edgy.

Forrester has deep business expertise and demonstrates the need for technology across various roles and teams. The firm’s revenue was USD 537m in 2022 and at the time of writing they have nearly 600 analysts on their roster. These analysts typically have years of industry experience to help inform their research and advisory perspectives and will cover an area from a given persona. Forrester’s landmark methodology is their evaluative Forrester Wave, complemented by other methodologies including the Forrester Landscape reports, which outline a market category, and Planning Guides, to help with seamless technology implementation. Forrester’s subscriptions are split by job role on a per-user model.

Forrester’s research is all about customers and their analysts have a strong understanding of customer satisfaction and customer experience. They are often the first to cover new and emerging tech trends and their research strengths lie in both technology and marketing.

The IDC numbers wizards.

IDC is made up of market sizers and number crunchers, making them THE data-driven analyst firm and the place to go for technology market trends. Coming under the IDG umbrella, IDC ironically doesn’t disclose its financials but industry estimates put it at least around USD 500m, at the time of writing they have over 1,300 analysts, publishing almost 700 CIS (continuous intelligence services) each analysing a specific technology area and with a second to none coverage of local geographies. IDC are most known for their MarketScape reports which evaluates vendors in a given category, as well as their Market Shares and Market Glance’s which show a broader picture of the category players.

In 2022, IDC was voted the #1 analyst firm by IIAR> members. This recognition was not only for the quality of the research and the analysts working there, but also how easy they are to work with and their usefulness to AR programmes.

Check out our handy infographic summarising the FIGs below:

This infographic displays the differences between the FIGs, Forrester, IDC and Gartner, as discussed in the blog by Starsight Communications.

The FIGs are important; but don’t forget the rest.

If you have an AR plan that is leveraging all four impacts of analyst relations, you will find that there are times when working with the FIGs alone does not meet your needs. Each vendor has different objectives, budgets and resources and coverage can vary enormously between research firms and individual analysts. Picking the right ones to start and those to spend more of your precious bandwidth on can be daunting. The Starsight team helps our clients to prioritise, get more value, target less known analysts.

Check our next blog post on the top 100 analyst firms. If events are key for your go-to-market strategy, Omdia may be a better bet as they are part of the Informa group which provides powerful outlets to Omdia analysts via its vast events and publications portfolios. For specific verticals, niche firms can be both deep and influential, like for instance KuppingerCole for the security industry, Canalys for channel strategies, Chartis for RiskTech or ABI for IoT. Finally, some firms are not niche but are well-known and well-connected in specific areas, like Constellation in digital transformation or HFS in outsourcing.

Our advice is always to engage with the analysts that help you meet your business goals, whether they are part of the largest firms or not. For more on this, look out for our next blog post where we will dive further into the long tail of analyst firms.

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