Traditional Analyst Research vs. the Tip of the Spear


Are you looking for insights on vendors and products within a defined market, or are you trying to solve a business problem specific to your unique requirements?

If you’re looking for insights into vendors or products, analyst research like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and Forrester’s Wave can be extremely valuable resources. However, if you’re looking to solve a complex business operations problem specific to your unique requirements, you’re going to need a broader and deeper set of tools.

In early March of this year, Gartner released its Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting. As usual, this Magic Quadrant (MQ) is thorough and well thought out. It clearly lays out the potential use cases for managed hosting, as well as the key players in the space. It also includes important disclaimers to make sure consumers don’t use it as their only source of information for buying decisions, like this one: “It is crucial to look beyond Magic Quadrant Leaders when selecting a vendor, especially if you have an unusual need. The vendor that is perfect for your needs may be a Niche Player.”

However, even with these disclaimers, many IT procurement decisions still hinge on one question: “Is the vendor in the leader’s quadrant”?

While this question may suffice in some IT procurement circumstances, it is nowhere near nuanced enough if you’re looking to solve a broader, more complex business problem. Here’s why: analyst research is not at the tip of the spear, where buying and selling is actually occurring. While extremely valuable, analyst research tends to provide a broad perspective — a macro view of a very specific domain. Alternatively, the transaction and the subsequent delivery of services is the tip of the spear — what clients really want, and what suppliers can actually deliver.

Case in point: Did you know that of the companies listed on the Managed Hosting Magic Quadrant referenced above, less than half would be capable of supporting a transformational infrastructure sourcing initiative with a multinational company, or that only 10 percent could support the same for a global company?

ISG is comfortable (and confident) in making this statement because we’re on the ground every day with both buyers and sellers of IT services. This unique position gives us unprecedented insight into what suppliers are really capable of delivering to clients — clients that trust us to help them vet providers in a fair, transparent way to make sure the vendor will help them solve their ultimate business problem.

ISG knows that both transaction experience and vendor insights are critical for solving complex business support challenges. That’s why we have a vibrant, growing research capability within ISG, based on our deep client experience, in addition to our proven advisory and benchmarking capabilities.

I encourage you to learn more about how we can help you solve your most complex operational challenges.

You can reach me via email or on Twitter.

About the author

Stanton helps enterprise IT and sourcing leaders rationalize and capitalize on emerging technology opportunities in the context of the global sourcing industry. He brings extensive knowledge of today’s cloud and automation ecosystems, as well as other disruptive trends that are helping to shape and disrupt the business computing landscape. Stanton has been with ISG for more over a decade. During his tenure he has helped clients develop, negotiate and implement cloud infrastructure sourcing strategies, evaluate and select software-as-a-service platforms, identify and implement best-in-class service brokerage models, and assess how the emerging cloud master architecture can be leveraged for competitive advantage. Stanton has also guided a number of leading service providers in the development of next-generation cloud strategies. Stanton is a recognized industry expert, and has been quoted in CIOForbes and The Times of London. You can follow Stanton on Twitter: @stantonmjones.