Monday, September 17, 2007

Yankee hires new enterprise mobility analyst

Yankee Group's enterprise team is in hiring mode.

It's appointed Nick Spencer of Canalys; he's going to focus on enterprise mobile application environments.

There's a second hire in the works for Camille Mendler's team too. More on that soon I am told.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Another small analyst firm is expanding

UK boutique firm Macehiter Ward-Dutton (MWD) is expanding.

It has hired Angela Ashenden as a principal analyst. She was previously a senior analyst with Ovum, working in the general area of information, knowledge and content management.

At MWD, Angela will be covering collaboration, a new research area for the firm. In her first blog post, she explains:

"I will be coming at collaboration from a different perspective from most other analyst companies...taking the enterprise need as my primary consideration, rather than the technology...I will be looking at the technology in as far as how it addresses the organisation's broader business need...I aim to keep the focus on how the technology fits within and complements that structure...I'll (also) be looking at what makes collaboration work within an enterprise, and what techniques and methods you can use to implement collaborative working patterns within your organisation."

Sounds pretty much in line with the two Neil's focus on IT-Business alignment then.

It is great to see MWD expanding again - and it's part of a developing trend. In recent months, we've seen new appointments by Quocirca, Freeform Dynamics and CCS Insight (to name but a few).

There's an ever increasing recognition in the market that these smaller firms have a lot to offer.

They bring experienced analysts, sensible service offerings and a more flexible way of working (which contrasts sharply with the aggressive sales-led approach it seems some of the larger global firms are now adopting).

They have might not have the direct commercial impact on technology buyers that Gartner and Forrester can offer - but when it comes to media impact, influence within the ICT community and a willingness to engage in debate and provide insight and feedback during briefings...

Oh, and watch out for more departures from Ovum. Everytime we pick up the phone, there's another rumour of an analyst deciding that now is a good time to seek alternative employment.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Morgan Chambers acquired by EquaTerra

Action in the sourcing advisory arena today with EquaTerra's acquisition of Morgan Chambers.

You can read the press release here. The Houston Business Journal adds some additional comment.

This is big news - at least for those in the outsourcing and IT services space. Both firms are substantial players in the 'third party advisor' (TPA) market. The Black Book of Outsourcing 2007 names EquaTerra as the leading provider in the IT Outsourcing market while Morgan Chambers holds the same position in BPO.

As the two firms have different approaches to the market - EquaTerra takes an industry view while Morgan Chambers is more focused on countries - it'll be interesting to see how these are brought together. If done well, it will most likely result in a powerful approach that could easily spark further consolidation as others in the market try not to get left behind.

And there's plenty of competition around. TPI* says it is the largest sourcing advisory firm in the world (a claim not challenged by EquaTerra in the press release; instead it uses phrases like "market leading" and "advisory firm of choice").

Then think of other specialists like Everest, NeoIT and Alsbridge, the big management consultancy firms and even traditional analyst firms in the shape of Gartner Consulting, Ovum's Orbys and, increasingly, NelsonHall.

The power of the TPA has long been apparent to those AR professionals working in the IT services and outsourcing sector. In this market, they are far more important commercially than the industry analysts - although they do lack the 'rounded' influence that the typical industry analyst is capable of delivering.

(As background, there was a fascinating conversation back in late 2005 over here at ARmadgeddon on the relative importance of analysts v TPAs. Make sure to read the comments by HP's Carter and ex Gartner analyst, Vinnie!)

* It's an interesting side-step to remember that less than two years ago, EquaTerra was planning a merger with TPI. Just a few months later, this deal was terminated by 'mutual consent'.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hurwitz executive joins Quocirca

Fran Howarth has joined Quocirca as a principal analyst. Fran was previously a partner on the executive team at Hurwitz.

At Quocirca, she's going to be covering "emerging technologies and business models" which sounds wonderfully vague. More specifically, her areas of coverage are going to be supply chain and lifecycle management, information management, security and asset management.

Fran's appointment should give Quocirca additional coverage of some important market sectors. Sharon Crawford already covers supply chain as part of her enterprise solutions remit while Bob Tarzey has carved out a niche for himself in the IT security space alongside his core focus on 'route to market'.

The beauty of Quocirca (indeed, of many of the boutique firms) is that they deliberately set out to avoid the silo mentality practiced by some of their bigger rivals. In a market that is continually consolidating and converging (and sometimes colliding) it's always good to see an analyst firm recognise that the old divides in the ICT industry are no longer as relevant as they once were.

Quocirca's continued expansion backs up recent conversations I've had with the firm. Business is good and there's a lot of confidence about the future.

In the meantime, what does this mean for Hurwitz? The company's never had much profile over on this side of the Atlantic, choosing instead to partner with Bloor Research in the UK as a means of providing European coverage to its clients.

Fran was Hurwitz's only 'local' European analyst and we suspect she won't be replaced. Instead, we expect to see Hurwitz focus on developing its relationship with Bloor Research (especially given that Robin Bloor is a partner at Hurwitz as well as being chief research officer with Bloor).