Hfs Research always like to shoot straight from the hip with their opinion on the way the industry analyst business is changing so it was interesting to see their latest blog post on the death of the rock-star analyst.
Everyone knows the rock-stars. They are the industry analysts that are so well known their positive or negative opinions can directly affect the value of the companies they write about.
As Hfs notes, the problem with the individuals becoming famous is that the analyst firms want customers to buy their branded analysis – not the research of an individual. And the obvious danger for the analyst firms is that if it is the analyst – not the firm – whose opinion is so keenly sought then what happens when they are tempted with a better job offer?
There is an interesting market developing in the industry analyst marketplace. Social media is making it possible for individual analysts to develop more of a name for themselves by blogging and tweeting their thoughts. Most big firms are being careful about this with their employees, but it does allow the respected individual analyst – probably ex-big-firm – to publish and have an opinion that is potentially influential.
But there is still value in the brand. This market is really a lot like the publishing business. Every individual writer knows they can publish a book by pushing the content to a blog, to the Amazon Kindle, or to an on-demand publisher like Lulu. However, there are not many success stories from self-publishing – the big successful books still tend to be published by major publishing companies – they can offer the support and marketing required to get books in front of people.
I personally expect the analyst business to follow this lead. Large firms that don’t embrace the more social flow of information will wither and die, but it will still be very hard for lone individuals to be truly influential – the influential analyst brands are not going to disappear just yet.
Photo by Eduardo Amorim licensed under Creative Commons