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Are industry analysts still the top tech influencers?

There has never been more general interest in technology than today, with everyday people contemplating whether Generative AI will be the saviour or doomsday for humanity. With holograms, self-driving cars and the world’s information at your fingertips from shop opening times to entire encyclopaedias, the information age has profoundly changed our lives. As businesses are having to increasingly adapt to this digital era, they need guidance and assurance to make the right moves.

Enter: industry analysts, helping navigate the technology industry since 1964– the year of the first mainframe and first analyst firm. Analysts have touchpoints with technology providers and buyers alike, giving them a unique viewpoint of the market. And yet, many say the industry analyst model is ready to be disrupted.

Who are industry analysts?

Analysts are the market pulse. As defined by the IIAR> “An information and communications technology (ICT) industry analyst is a person, working individually or within a firm analysing and publishing research and/or opinions, forecasts, market sizing, on ICT products and services trends, adoption, market-fit, procurement, deployment and/or advising independently technology buyers and vendors and/or providing go-to-market services.”

For examples of analyst firms, check out our most recent two blog posts on the FIGs, the largest analyst firms Forrester, IDC and Gartner, and on the rest of the analyst firm ecosystem.

Analysts are TOP trusted advisors with a unique vantage point.

For tech buyers, analyst firms can expediate purchasing processes by providing a comprehensive view of the market. Armed with the knowledge provided by a host of technology providers and technology users, analyst firms can assess buyer use cases and make informed recommendations via inquiries. With insights from a variety of end user companies, they can help buyers avoid costly mistakes by tapping into collective knowledge about what works and what doesn’t for your industry or company size. However, just speaking to end users is not enough to sustain an analyst firm, they must have input from vendors to ensure they are knowledgeable about the latest market offerings and are best positioned to make recommendations.

For technology providers, analysts can provide a 360-degree view of the market informed by conversations with competitors, customers and prospects. These insights allow providers to make product and positioning improvements to stay ahead of the game. In addition, analyst firms can create custom content based on their industry knowledge to support go-to-market efforts and can help train sales teams to remain competitive in market. Through these activities, technology providers can benefit from all four key impacts of analyst relations. However, if an analyst firm starts to cater only to vendors then they lose their unique value proposition and instead become a pay-to-play market research company. Those companies have their own value but are not analyst firms.

Ultimately, to exist, analysts need access to information. Technology providers and buyers pay for a relationship with analyst firms, typically in the form of a subscription service. In addition to providing payment, they also provide insights about their technologies or their experience of using them, and analyst do not pay for this privileged information. Those symbiotic relationships are an equilibrium, vendors need to provide free info in exchange for awareness in market, buyers need analysts to remain independent to stay credible and analysts need access to both buyers and vendors to exist.

Will CHATGPT REPLACE analysts AS TOP TECH influencers?

Many have predicted the death of analyst firms. They certainly have morphed from providing physically printed, text-based research towards delivering a better experience for technology and services buyers and vendors alike. Through virtual and in-person choreographed events, peer networking and interactive roundtables to more audiovisual content that brings research to life and shareable infographics. But ultimately, despite changes to their delivery style, analyst firms still sell research and advisory subscriptions, event tickets and sponsorships, consulting services and go-to-market assets.

Will ChatGPT replace industry analysts such as Gartner? The symbiotic forces of the analyst relationship with markets is hard to replicate. There may be other influential forces at play, such as peer review sites and generative AI, but these do not provide the same level of market expertise with a unique vantage point. Pure information from third-party sources does not equate to analyst insights gained from real conversations. Therefore, building trusted relationships with industry analysts is key as they continue to be the top influencers of technology markets for another 60 years, unlikely to be replaced.

Start tapping into analyst expertise today with a sustained analyst relations programme. Get up to speed with the analyst firms, what they do and how to use them. For guidance on getting started or levelling up your AR strategy, reach out to team Starsight.

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