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Analyst Cross Firm Collaboration: Twitter changes dynamic

Its easy to scoff at Twitter. But the online service is having a real impact on businesses. Dell, for example, claims to have sold $3m worth of kit using the service. Sure that’s a rounding error compared to its revenues, but its the kind of rounding error that would make any company executive smile.

One interesting aspect of Twitter is the way it accelerates cross-border interaction. It is a Porous Membrane. While a fair amount of attention has been given to the dangers of giving away internal secrets, accidentally or otherwise, via Twitter, less attention has been given to the new opportunities for collaboration. One industry we’re seeing a real change in that respect is my own, the industry analyst business.

Collaboration traditionally has a cost, but Twitter collapses that cost to near zero. Got an idea? Say it in 140 characters! At an event- share your thoughts with everyone else using a #hashtag. No need to gather your thoughts on blogs, and then wait for feedback. What do we think now? Anyone can comment. And they do. Twitter also, for good or ill, encourages a certain honesty. The immediacy of the service lends itself to unvarnished opinion, which also tends to encourage collaboration. Its a lot more fun to help fill out a partial thought, than deal with a completely polished one.

When RedMonk jumped onboard the trend for Twitter it was mostly the cool kids, even though we were post SXSW adopters. But today there are more than 500 analysts on twitter according to Carter Lusher’s tracker.

Of course analysts have always chatted at events. We all have friends at different firms and so on. This is nothing new. But the scale of this activity has changed completely in the last six to nine months.

If I explain something inadequately then Anne Thomas Manes from Burton will pull me up for clarification.

I closely track Forrester’s Ray Wang (by far the most interesting guy to follow if you want to know what the life of analyst at a major firm is like) and have been known to help with context, if its an area I know, with a direct message. Of course its no surprise Mr Web Stategy Jeremiah Owyang is more than happy to share ideas and ideals.

Jamie Lewis CEO of Burton Group has been known to retweet my stuff.

Twitter is even having a marked impact on Gartner, which traditionally tended to keep itself to itself. Twitter seems to be accelerating the Meta Groupification of Gartner. Meta always had a more collegiate culture than Gartner, and now in a kind of reverse takeover we’re seeing a more collaborative Gartner, with a more porous membrane. Meta alumni like Andy Bitterer and Nick Gall share and share a lot.

If you work with analysts, or are interested in their thoughts and opinions, and how they formed them, all this chatter can be invaluable. The mystique of analyst omniscience is crumbling, which is all too the good. Peer review by Internet is the most powerful way to test ones ideas. We can’ think in isolation, nor should we. Some analysts may prefer to be in ivory towers, and avoid contact with the rough and tumble of the bazaar – but they are missing out.

If you work in analyst relations and are not tracking at least some analysts on Twitter you are quite literally not doing your job. [But please don't be offended if we don't follow you back. Account management collaboration is important, but its surely not as important as Twitter's incredible utility as a research tool. ]

If you work in an enterprise but don’t have a budget for analyst services I can pretty much guarantee you can have a good dialogue with industry analysts without needing to ask anyone’s permission. Free advice – there is such a thing. Especially if we learn from you. I know I am incredibly grateful to be able to learn from software developers, sysops and architects. Its what Twitter was made for.

I think the trend of cross border collaboration at analyst firms will accelerate. This will create challenges for us as businesses, but it will make the industry as a whole more effective. Talent collaborates.

photo credit- I stole it ruthlessly from Ray Wang’s background image on twitter. Its a perfect illustration. I will take it down if he asks me to.

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Comment Feed

31 Responses

  1. Industry Analyst Cross Firm Collaboration: Twitter changes dynamic. my latest post http://bit.ly/21S0P
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. Most definitely – RT @monkchips: Industry Analyst Cross Firm Collaboration: Twitter changes dynamic. my latest post http://bit.ly/21S0P
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. Can analysts collaborate cross-firms? http://bit.ly/m4fn8 @monkchips says yes, and I agree, we do it lightly with Twitter and email.
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  4. reading about the Analyst Community 2.0 (Twitter) from @redmonk http://bit.ly/21S0P
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. I fully agree. This is one of the funnest things about new media, that competitors can show that they can behave civilly, most of the time.

  6. @monkchips is on form again http://bit.ly/21S0P
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  7. Twitter helping break old barriers! RT @jowyang: Can analysts collaborate cross-firms? http://bit.ly/m4fn8 @monkchips says yes, & I agree.
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  8. @monkchips on Twitter and analyst firms http://tinyurl.com/mqy7om
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  9. While we’re all loyal to the companies we work for, the industry analyst community is so small that we’ve often got more in common with one another than those who work in the industries that we cover. The informal conversations at conferences are an all-too-rare pleasure. Thumbs up to Twitter and other social media.

  10. This is very true: http://bit.ly/PoHad (James Governor / Monkchips) – of 28 analysts I follow on Twitter, 15 work for other firms
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  11. this relates to “industry” analysts versus “investment” analysts, but some of same issues apply http://bit.ly/RgfRM
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  12. Love the comment “Twitter seems to be accelerating the Meta Groupification of Gartner.” http://bit.ly/12ndaz
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  13. Only point to add is the transition from Twitter to blog, as you have done in the past, where your tweets coalese into a blog/research output. Clearly Twitter is the brainstorming room that enables you to have a lot more people to bounce ideas/share views from.

    BTW will add this post to the – if you are in AR why you need Twitter area when asked.

    Marc

    Marc DukeJune 24, 2009 @ 5:39 pmReply
  14. James, thanks for your great thoughts on the added value of twitter. I sent this to IT management at my company to make the case for allowing twitter access through our corporate firewall.

    Cheers,
    ewH

  15. Nod. RT @monkchips: Industry Analyst Cross Firm Collaboration: Twitter changes dynamic. my latest post http://bit.ly/21S0P
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  16. Absolutely James. As Twitter has matured I have witnessed analysts collaborating like never before. It seems that the old view that we could never put different analyst firms together to discuss something as they were protective of their IP doesn’t seem to happen in this environment. Long may it continue – after all, isn’t the pursuit of knowledge via sharing and building-on ideas the perfect utopia?

  17. Well said James.

    As someone who tries to be a useful analyst in the SAP space (but with no formal affiliations save for being a blog contributor to PAC), what I like about Twitter is that it is a level playing field of sorts – if you have good information people are doing to listen. If you have strong opinions that frame issues, people will listen (and retweet). Just being part of a big analyst firm doesn’t necessarily confer a lot of status on Twitter, you have to earn in.

    It seems to me that Twitter is playing a role in a trend we are seeing where independent analysts and firms that allow independent outlooks are gaining more traction. At any rate it’s a great conversation and the instant accountability keeps us all more on the ball. Fluff doesn’t fly.

    - Jon

  18. I missed this yesterday but full cred to @monkchips http://bit.ly/VmEWc – will use for upcoming post
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  19. “Analyst Cross Firm Collaboration: Twitter Changes Dynamic” by @monkchips http://bit.ly/YK3t5 via @mauricioswg http://bit.ly/EnW46
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  20. James, you’re spot on. One small thing I’d add: big firm analysts who are successfully participating (i.e., participating – giving value as well as getting it – and helping their business in the process) are doing so in spite of their firms, not because of them.
    Evidence to date indicates that the large firms’ relationship to either the blogoshpere or the twittersphere is queasily arms-length – despite the fact that some of the best minds thinking about social computing work for them. I discussed some of this in a post at http://bit.ly/N4dmg

    • @merv yes and no. totally see your point, but i also believe Gartner, at least, is indeed opening up a bit- you only to read its blogs to see the market increase in value there. The tough part is of course keeping the talent in an open market place of ideas. Gartner seems pretty damned good at this. The folks they acquired from Meta Group have largely hung around, and that was a very different culture.

      @jonerp you are certainly one of my “go-to guys for ERP”, and its always a pleasure to collaborate with you.

      @jonnybentwood glad to get some clear confirmation of the trend i have seen from someone on “the other side of the fence”. But then you’re pretty damned hip to social media.

      @ewh hey thanks man that is awesome. i better write some more about the issue. i suspect the fact a guy from Colgate Palmolive is sending around a blog to his managers written by me is just further evidence of the “new collaboration” ;-)

      @lydia – word! @dahowlett word two!

      @jeffmann I am finding it a lot easier to be civil these days – must be age. ;-)

      James GovernorJune 29, 2009 @ 11:17 amReply
  21. thanks to @LindaAtV3 for the pointer James Governor’s thoughts on analysts on twitter at http://bit.ly/C5wQy Well worth a read
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  22. We highly recommend @Ask_M. We “Asked M” to produce the first in a series of training videos for our our web-based integrated software for small businesses – she was quick, professional and the video is just what we wanted. We hope to work more with Emily in the future.
    See the video Emily produced for yourself – how to import your accounting data from Sage to Pearl.
    Thanks again for your work Emily!
    This comment was originally posted on AccMan

  23. responding to comments from @merv, @ewh, @jeffmann, @jonnybentwood, @jonerp, @dahowlett http://bit.ly/21S0P Industry Analysts Collaborate!
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  24. Twitter-blog interaction is so powerful. @monkchips mentions me in his blog http://bit.ly/YK3t5 with a link, and my blog lights up. Thanks!
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  25. @monkchips summarizes well the bright & dark side of tweeting in analyst community http://bit.ly/m4fn8 http://bit.ly/17zsId
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  26. I am glad to see this post on collaboration and recommending others. These are two of my favorite subjects and I regularly encourage others to go out of their way to “pay it forward”. I make a point of knowing who does what best and suggesting their services to others in my blog, at Twitter, on FriendFeed, at cliKball and anywhere else I travel online.
    I regularly recommend people take the time to post online reviews. I even started a room at FriendFeed trying to get those with skills to share what they do, put up portfolios and set prices for specific tasks to make it easier to others to recommend them. We can improve the world by sharing.
    This comment was originally posted on AccMan

  27. @mrtweetloves i was hoping the piece might spark some discussion by folks like @carterlusher and @jonnybentwood. http://bit.ly/21S0P
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter



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Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] tapping into a general thought that others are having but which is rare in the profession. Check out what James Governor said about collaboration among industry analysts and consultants using… Collaboration traditionally has a cost, but Twitter collapses that cost to near zero. Got an idea? [...]

  2. [...] James Governor’s Monkchips An industry analyst blog looking at software ecosystems and convergence About & Contact « Analyst Cross Firm Collaboration: Twitter changes dynamic [...]