One of the great sports of recent times has been to make fun of Jonny Bentwood and his passion for industry analyst relations.  In fact analysts have always been easy if not fair game, after all it’s their job to forecast the future and give people advice on serious amounts of money and why they should spend it in a certain way.  Clearly a profession that is asking for a ribbing and one that it got in the fall out from the dotcom forecasts.  So in a world where as we know Trust in experts is in precipitous decline who would be bold enough to stand up as such an expert?

Well fortunately for the technology industry many very smart people are happy to don the domed forehead of industry analyst-dom.

However, even though they pertain to be font of all knowledge when it comes to IT – they have tough times ahead. In a similar manner in which media has witnessed a battle to keep its market with the growth of easily available content on the web, analysts have also had to adapt or die.  In this battle where their IP is what they have to sell, they have had to face three distinct challenges:

  • How to make their content better than what is freely available on the web.
    Solved by adding unique value by deep knowledge of market trends and being truly independent.
  • How to become more visible in a noisy and crowded environment so their voice and opinion can be heard and consulted on.
    Solved by an aggressive adoption of social media to increase their share of voice in technology conversations
  • How to tackle in enterprises the reduction of discretionary spend in this tough economic climate.
    Solved by adapting their business models to provide more tactical solutions with clear metrics as oppose to generic forecasts and strategy.

Despite these challenges, the analyst market is robust and remains strong.

One intuitive explanation for this growth is that as technology becomes ever more pervasive then the need for brain boxes to analyse its use and role grows accordingly.  However, there is another explanation that can be found in the Trust Barometer and that is that Industry and Financial analysts have been one of the expert groups to retain trust as a credible source of information.  In caparison the trust in CEO’s fell to only  29% last year.  The only other group to hold its head above water were academics.

This is all fine but it does leave the question as to what analyst have done to earn this trust ‘privilege’ after all they have not always been seen as independent to man (or woman).   In search of some insight I spoke to the martyr of the cause Mr Bentwood himself.

Clearly that’s just one man’s view but I would love to hear other thoughts as to why industry analysts have this trust privilege and indeed do they deserve it?

Jonathan Hargreaves (@Naked_Pheasant)