July 28, 2010

The ever-blurring analyst/consultant line

Continuing the discussion about IT analyst business models:

In the traditional model of IT analysis, vendors and users alike buy subscriptions to published research that are bundled with a certain level of retainer-like consulting. You can also buy additional consulting from analysts on an ala-carte basis. Indeed, analyst relations gurus suggest it’s a best practice to do so, both because you might learn something and because the process of your doing so might strengthen your relationship with them, in reality and euphemism alike.

In the 1990s I subverted that model somewhat. Anybody could buy my subscription newsletter for $347/copy/year. Only two vendors that I recall (Oracle and Informix) ever bought > 10 subscriptions at once. In addition, I had some faxed published product that frankly didn’t add all that much to the newsletter. But it was part of a $15,000/year service – almost always sold to vendors only — that also included a day of consulting and related prep and follow-up, a price point I stumbled into and later in various ways validated.* Big companies like Oracle and Microsoft were encouraged to buy, say, one unit of service each for the DBMS and application development tools groups. If one group wanted more service, they could pay 2X as much, while getting the same faxed reports. Thus, in most ways but not all, I separated out my subscription business ($347/seat/year) from my consulting business ($15,000/episode for vendors, custom-priced for users) even then.

*Institutional investors got their own price points, and a truly retainer-like service model. But as my old customers in that area fell off through usual turnover-related churn, I got almost no new ones, and it eventually became a minor part of my business.

In the blog-friendly 21st Century, I’ve taken those principles further. Substantially all my research is free-to-the-public. Most of what I sell is directly packaged as some form of consulting. (The exceptions would be sponsorship for the research and its distribution, most commonly in the form of paid speaking engagements). For vendors this is retainer consulting only. For users it is project consulting only. For investors I would be flexible on retainer vs. project, if I had any remaining investor clients. But one way or the other, it’s all consulting. In my “freemium” analyst business model,

the research is the “free” and the consulting is the “ium”.

But enough about me! While the market opportunity for hard-core analysts is fairly limited (there isn’t much point in trying unless you think you can become acknowledged as a top expert in one or more fields), it’s in fact a business best practice for almost any consultant to show off expertise by blogging or some other kind of publication. Now, not all of this expertise-parading need be on subjects general enough that we’d recognize it as being a form of what we generally call “IT analysis.” But much could be or is. Therefore,

many consultants are or should be part-time analysts.

If you go back to my tentative taxonomy of influencers, I’m looking at people who fit into Bucket #4 (minor bloggers or forum posters), but might transcend that to seep into Buckets #1 or 3 (two groups of “analysts”). Obviously, these aren’t the only kind of rising influencers. For example, a top blogger in my sphere is Daniel Abadi – he’s a professor, but if you can get him to take the time to behave as an analyst vis-a-vis you, something he only rarely does, you probably should. And then there’s Dave Kellogg, CEO of a vendor, on the board of others, and clearly not always objective – but usually interesting and insightful even so. More common in the future, I think, will be examples like Todd Hoff – a consulting programmer with an excellent and widely read blog.

Today, if a user or other techie tells me I have “one” of the best blogs in the (database or perhaps unspecified) field, and I ask them what the other top ones are, the answers I expect to get back are Hoff’s and Abadi’s. Of the two, Hoff’s sends more visitors to my blogs, so I’m guessing it’s the better-read. Vendor business types might cite Dave Kellogg’s or Merv Adrian’s instead.

The implications of all this for influencer outreach efforts should be pretty clear. I’m still trying to think through what it means for analyst business models. Stay tuned.


21 Responses to “The ever-blurring analyst/consultant line”

  1. Advice for some non-clients | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on July 30th, 2010 9:35 am

    [...] of what I get paid for is in some form or other consulting. (The same would be true for many other analysts.) And so I can be a bit stingy with my advice toward non-clients. But my non-clients are a [...]

  2. So who is an analyst anyway? | Strategic Messaging on July 31st, 2010 6:46 pm

    [...] Many (not all) providers of free information can also be hired as consultants. [...]

  3. aliexpress lace wig ombre on February 16th, 2018 6:50 pm

    AliExpress Wigs affords unique 7A hair assortment.

  4. swspvlrp on February 17th, 2018 10:11 am

    The ever-blurring analyst/consultant line : Strategic Messaging
    swspvlrp http://www.go0644x4p0y160tq0pfe4yglv4062lr4s.org/

  5. nike air foamposite on February 17th, 2018 4:07 pm

    You made some clear points there. I did a search on the issue and found most people will agree with your website.

  6. adidas zx flux on February 17th, 2018 9:07 pm

    The noises and stressful the playoffs.”We are eager to match.”Owen said.Knight should first game will be on Thursday in east, and before them
    adidas zx flux

  7. puma rihanna on February 18th, 2018 12:35 am

    In these days of austerity plus relative stress about having debt, lots of people balk up against the idea of making use of a credit card to make purchase of merchandise or maybe pay for any gift giving occasion, preferring, instead to rely on the particular tried and trusted way of making repayment – raw cash. However, if you possess cash available to make the purchase entirely, then, paradoxically, this is the best time to be able to use the credit cards for several factors.

  8. Jerseys China Cheap NFL on February 18th, 2018 3:59 am

    Geo location, shopping and browsing history, weather — all can impact how products are presented to online shoppers.
    Jerseys China Cheap NFL

  9. adidas iniki runner on February 18th, 2018 7:25 am

    Hey, you used to write wonderful, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a bit out of track! come on!

  10. adidas eqt on February 18th, 2018 10:46 am

    Wohh just what I was looking for, appreciate it for posting.

  11. adidas ultra boost on February 18th, 2018 2:53 pm

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thanks for putting up.

  12. Cheap NFL Jerseys on February 19th, 2018 1:38 am

    LOS ANGELES RAMS Training camp report dates: Rookies July 27, veterans July 29.
    Cheap NFL Jerseys

  13. kevin durant shoes on February 20th, 2018 11:06 am

    For Jordan and gregg popovich comments James never hit back, but just yesterday in the knight’s basketball stadium set aside a James training video, far look like illusions emerged both Owen, a carefully look just know is James
    kevin durant shoes

  14. Wholesale NFL Jerseys Online on February 21st, 2018 7:26 am

    Though the 49ers have won three of four, the Rams look better in just about every facet than all of the other teams struggling to figure things out.
    Wholesale NFL Jerseys Online

  15. Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping on February 21st, 2018 4:35 pm

    Besides these players’ abilities to possibly compete at an NFL level, there is an abundance of teams needing, at the least, to groom quarterbacks because starters like Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger, Jake Delhomme and Peyton Manning are getting older.
    Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping

  16. mbt shoes on February 22nd, 2018 4:50 pm

    I believe avoiding refined foods would be the first step so that you can lose weight. They might taste good, but highly processed foods possess very little nutritional value, making you take more only to have enough vigor to get with the day. If you’re constantly ingesting these foods, changing to whole grains and other complex carbohydrates will let you have more vigor while taking in less. Interesting blog post.

  17. nike huarache on February 22nd, 2018 10:33 pm

    Well I sincerely liked studying it. This post offered by you is very constructive for accurate planning.

  18. adidas pure boost on February 23rd, 2018 4:14 am

    The NBA playoffs now for today, have determined the warriors in the western conference and will compete for a spot in the finals quota, knight still don’t know who his opponent was.However, even in the face of the celtics or the wizards, presumably knight will be
    adidas pure boost

  19. ultra boost 3.0 on February 23rd, 2018 10:03 am

    Obviously, the right to occupy a team-high 21.6 shots of Michael Owen, but failed to hit as James scores, this let a person feel, Owen has become a “cancer” of the knight.But many fans also feel,
    ultra boost 3.0

  20. carcer on February 24th, 2018 2:24 am

    I do trust all of the ideas you’ve presented for your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for starters. Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  21. carvel on February 24th, 2018 12:39 pm

    We’re a group of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to paintings on. You have performed a formidable activity and our whole neighborhood will likely be thankful to you.

Leave a Reply

Feed including blog about strategic marketing and messaging in technology and politics Subscribe to the Monash Research feed via RSS or email:


Search our blogs and white papers

Monash Research blogs

User consulting

Building a short list? Refining your strategic plan? We can help.

Vendor advisory

We tell vendors what's happening -- and, more important, what they should do about it.

Monash Research highlights

Learn about white papers, webcasts, and blog highlights, by RSS or email.