Technology analysts are the ultimate ‘wheeler-dealers’ in that they collect information and insight from one set of their subscribers, then digest it, repackage it, and dispense it to another set of their subscribers. There is no denying it’s not a great business model as everyone pays for taking part. But then again that’s the main attraction of technology analysts. These folk are at the epicentre of all the issues that users and vendors are battling with in their working lives: what solutions best fit my needs, how should we be viewing new technologies, and what business issues should we tackle next?
But unlike you and I, technology analysts are talking with people from their subscriber base hour after hour and day after day – and year after year in some cases—so they are tuned into the experiences of lots of other people wrestling with exactly the same issues. This 360° view into what users are thinking about and where vendors are going next with their technology gives them a unique insight, which when married with sound business sense, means they are well placed for dispensing sound guidance.
To take a rain check on what the hot topics are for those analysts covering financial performance management, I did my own impromptu survey by identifying those covering the area and then doing an analysis of the key words in any publications they had written or co-written in the last six months. The word cloud above shows the results, which were fairly predictable: cloud, in-memory, CPM evolution, consultancies, strategy, role of the CFO, and mobile. In fact, the only thing I can find to say about them is that based on the dominant keywords, one suspects Anaplan is a name that crops up a lot during their calls with users.
The only real surprise for me in doing the analysis was the breadth of subject matter that analysts are covering today, often extending well beyond financial performance management (aka EPM and CPM) into HCM, CRM, and other three letter acronyms. Now while everyone, including Finance, has to do more with less, I fear the analyst groups will dilute their value proposition if they spread their people too thinly across unfamiliar territory.