Unchecked Bad Behavior Plagues Both Vendors And Analysts.
I’ve dreaded writing this post for a long time. I normally think the best of everyone. Yet, in the course of building our business at Constellation Research, I have to say I’ve seen everything that can go wrong with the industry analyst business. I’m almost embarrassed to reveal the shady tactics on both the vendor and analyst side that perpetuate. But for the sake of airing it all out so that we may have a better industry, I’d like to start the conversation and then invite those analysts and vendors who agree to come up with a solid code. Once we have something, let’s take the pledge on cleaning up the profession.
Examples Abound And We Have Had To Say No.
To be clear, there is a massive self-interest in my putting this out there. Now some of you may still be asking why would I do this? What’s in it for me? I’ll be very transparent, we’ve built a business that has:
- Shrugged off writing white papers for hire;
- Avoided pay to play for content;
- Covered vendors who were not clients;
- Cancelled contracts when our objectivity would have been compromised;
- Rejected stock in start-ups in lieu of payment, even a few pre-IPO’s that would have made us millions;
- Fired clients who threatened to cancel our contracts despite our putting out factually accurate defensible research;
- Refused the pay for lead business;
- Turned down pay for quotes and refused to endorse vendors in quotes unless we had evaluated their products in a side by side comparison;
- Fired sales people who alluded to pay for play;
- Fired analysts who did not understand we were not a pay to play white paper shop even after repeatedly telling them this.
I’ll be honest. In order to uphold our integrity, we’ve lost a lot of business. I’d estimate in the order of $2 to $3M a year. Now, I am comforted in the fact that I do know we are not the only ones who have done so. However, I have sadly discovered that this is few and far between in the business. I am both shocked and disappointed.
Integrity of the Industry Is At Stake.
Now at times, competitors have laughed at us for doing so. But, we have worked hard to uphold our code of ethics. We have stayed objective. We have remained fiercely independent. Talk to our sales folks. They live it every day. Talk to our analysts who wonder why they have to work harder.
We can continue doing this alone and have a differentiation in the market, but I think it’s time the industry takes a pledge to end this bad behavior. It’s important for buyers to know that there is a professional code. Why? It’s critical to the survival of the industry analyst profession.