Encounters of The Third Kind – Analysts!

I am traveling the US North-East right now on my way to Orlando, where ISIS will be participating in the Forrester Forum.

You know from my speaking and my writing that my stance towards analysts is not overall positive. I have to admit however that especially two people have impressed me substantially – Mike Gualtieri and Mike Gilpin at Forrester Research. While I am unhappy that it costs me a lot of money to be allowed to speak to them in person, I do feel that they actually understand how and why we created a unique DBA Dynamic Business Application platform. More on my ‚Real World Blog‘.

Well, you might think, Max is now trying to flatter those guys to get good ratings in their reports. Nothing could be more wrong. I am very well known within Forrester for my outspoken opposition to some concepts and a number of report findings. I go with Nobel Laureate Robert B. Laughlin ‚I rather be true to myself and disliked than a popular coward.‘ There are other people at Forrester where to respectfully agree to disagree is the only option.

I also had a meeting with Forrester‘s Craig LeClair who had spoken at our US OpenHouse and who is working on another DOM Wave. Phew, we are going to be in it, finally. Will it be good or bad? I have no idea. The research subject of DOM seems to become broader and more complex to judge. We definitely have the broadest functionality in DOM and the strongest link to ECM but will that be seen and weighted as positive? I have seen different.

We were excluded from some Forrester reports because they did not want to ‚confuse readers by introducing new vendors‘. Hey guys, I think that the readers can handle this. They don‘t get confused by a new name! I think it was rather a case of: ‚OOPS, let‘s not admit that we missed something.‘ Good and gutsy people are not afraid of learning something new!

I met with Pete Basiliere of Gartner Group who was the first person ever there to take enough time to listen to what I had to say. Fortunately a very competent man. I am looking forward to their ADF report to come out later this year. He pointed me towards two possible misunderstandings people have about our business. He first thought that we also offer custom development, when I was referring to standard product enhancements on customer request. A substantial difference. He also wondered what we meant by ‚machine learning for process management‘ and whether that would make us eligible for an inclusion in the ADF study. I hope I was able to explain that our technology offers incredible flexibility that no one else can match. I will need to put a ‚machine learning‘ article onto Wikipedia. Apart from great guys like Pete, Gartner in my mind needs to shape up substantially and loose their stuck-up nose.

We have also been included in the upcoming Madison Advisors report on Transpromo. Madison finally put in a lot more effort and went a lot deeper than it did in previous reports. So my not so pleasant conversations with Kemal Carr about the lack of depth in previous research seem to have paid off. It is a very technical report with lots of detail but less product rating and positioning. That is the safe way to go for the analysts because it avoids a potential misrating.

That we do get misrated is nothing new. Years ago we were rated by Harvey Spencer Associates as ‚the company who wants to merge scanning and printing and no one knows why.‘  They propose that our problem (that I don‘t see)  is self-inflicted because our Inbound/Outbound Strategy makes people believe that we are just for certain turnaround documents. Hey guys, there are ONLY turnaround processes! Capture is a fragment YOU created! We are not interested in a price-war in the dying standalone Capture market but want to offer the business a much broader opportunity for process integration. To therefore exclude us from a Capture rating is no more than ignorance. Now that EMC, Oracle and other copy our idea the analysts don‘t admit that they were wrong and we were the first ones.

One analyst to really mess up was Celent. For an unknown reason they felt that they needed to rate technology in their American Insurance market study, when there is no one at Celent to even look at and in my mind understand technology. The rated our technology the lowest and in difference our application range very high and gave NO INDICATION as to why and refused to comment when asked to explain. No surprise they were recently sold off.

Fortunately European IT people do still spend time to look at products themselves to see if they fit. We will however also be in a Strategy Partners Study in Europe soon I hope. They too put in a lot of effort to look at the product, so I am hoping for a good positioning there and that some of it will rub-off on the US.

So those were my encounters with the ALIENS. Some friendly, some fiendish but in the end they are all human and prone to errors. They neither possess a crystal ball nor do they see things your way. Does all the effort that I put into the analysts pay off for the customer … hmm? It is a little bit like reading about a car in a magazine before you buy. That is fine as long as you go and try for yourself! There were a lot of negative reports on the BMW bikes compared to the Japanese for example, but when I went to test drive them – the new BMW-K1200R was the one for me, regardless.

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2 thoughts on “Encounters of The Third Kind – Analysts!

  1. I’m always reading these commenst with a smile. I used to work on the vendor site and when those analyst reports then came in, it always had one response. They really don’t understand what they are talking about. Now I’m on the other site. Although I don’t feel purely an analyst. I still have my bagage of doing projects, product development and sales for the the last 20 years. So I’m also lucky to spent a lot of time with the product vendors and understand the positive and negative sites of their products. Now on the other site it’s with a smile to understand that every product is the best, a world leader in something and has the best performance, more options then the colleagues etc. But is this what is demanded by customers. For me most analysts write about the product features and functions as identified during event visist, read in brochures or from just an hour conversation with tge vendor. My objective is to spent some days with the vendor to be able to create a real independent profile and classification. This might not still please the vendor, after spending so much time, but sometimes it happens, another product is still better. But I must admit, having spent a lot of time with ISIS Papyrus so far, it’s a very good product. One of the few vendor with a coherent offering for the input, management and output site of document processing. I’m keen to understand if Max things the same now after reading the report.

    Oscar Dubbeldam

  2. Oscar, thanks for the comment. Obviously as the creative father of Papyrus I am predisposed and yes, I do not take unfounded criticism lightly. I also abhor ignorance and careless research that hurts people who try hard. My problem with most analysts is the lack of interest and the superficial research, as well as the focus on market parameters such as revenue and marketshare that do not represent a value to the user of the software product. It is an Americanism that if it is big, it must be good. Microsoft produces mostly crap while Apple is definitely the market innovator at this time.

    I am completely ok with an analyst pointing out that another vendor truly does something better. That is good because it makes me try harder. I understand that it is very hard to check out a product and compare features one-on-one. So I am fine with some fuzziness in the reports. When analysts are not even interested in what we do and then make ratings that they are not qualified to make, then my patience is at an end.

    From what I have seen you spent a lot of time looking at the products and tried hard to understand them in detail. That alone is very satisfactory. If in the end I don’t agree with all your conclusions that is totally normal and acceptable. I will start a discussion as to how and why these were made and as long as we can have a sensible conversation, I am happy. Thank you for your good work. Max.

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