That would be Forrester Research’s Ray Wang and his analyst firm.
In early June, the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) announced the top analysts and analyst firms in the IT research industry, as voted upon by analyst relations (AR) professionals in a recent survey. Analyst relations people are those who work at vendor companies and “deal with” IT industry analysts like Wang, briefing them and keeping them up-to-date on what’s happening with the vendor’s products and services. (For an interesting take on the IT analyst-AR relationship, see “IT Research: Is It Time to Analyze the Analysts?” as well as Alan Pelz-Sharpe’s “Dealing with AR.”)
The IIAR received more than 116 responses from all over the world, and “free text” submissions were used “to ensure that results could not be biased by presenting a pre-made list of companies or analysts,” noted the IIAR results report.
“What came out clearly from the survey was that integrity, independence and market knowledge are the analyst qualities that are most highly valued by AR professionals,” stated the IIAR announcement. “It demonstrates very positively how much the IT research industry has matured.”
Wang, in particular, was lauded for “his insight, depth of industry knowledge and independent voice,” noted the IIAR announcement. “AR professionals represent the critical link between an analyst’s perception and the company’s reality,” Wang said, commenting on the award. “Because the AR profession is not only a science but also an art, good AR professionals build the relationships from a position of trust which drive the foundation for all interactions.”
I’ve worked many, many times with Wang on enterprise software stories, and this award is entirely deserved. For a sampling of his opinions and research, see “Companies Struggle to Find the Truth in Massive Data Flows,” “Software Licensing and Pricing Is Still Too Complex and Costly,” and “Can Two Legacy ERP Guys Get IT Executives to Buy into On-Demand Applications?”
I’m not alone in my admiration, however. Vinnie Mirchandani, a former Gartner analyst and founder of vendor consultancy Deal Architect, writes in his blog that Wang is valued because he “is not afraid to say, for example, software maintenance is overpriced,” which he does in “SAP Raises Software Maintenance Fees for New Customers.”
Runners up for the analyst of the year title were David Mitchell of Ovum and James Governor of RedMonk.
The analyst firm of the year title was awarded to Forrester, followed by Gartner, IDC, RedMonk, AMR, Freeform Dynamics, Ovum, MWD, Enterprise Strategy Group and CCS Insight.
In an interesting twist, Forrester was also named as the “most relevant” analyst firm, while Gartner was ranked 10th on the list. However, Gartner was tabbed as the “most important” analyst firm and Forrester was second on that list. Which would you rather be: most relevant or most important? A good question.