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Grading the analysts

Analysts go where the money is. Perhaps there's more money in startups over the long run?

Sam Lawrence, Jive's chief marketing officer, has issued a report card for two analyst firms with which Jive works. Net net? Forrester is pretty engaged with its clients (and non-clients), and Gartner, apparently, is not.

I've talked about analysts on this blog before, and don't want to spend more cycles denigrating their work. Like Sam, I've found Forrester to be particularly good. Forrester has actively talked with Alfresco despite the fact that we're not clients.

Perhaps Forrester recognizes that there's more to a market than the incumbents (though, as Sam found, no analysts with which we've worked have been all that interested in actually talking to our customers). After all, we're often the ones exerting a big influence but don't want to spend money on buying our way onto an analyst's report.

With Forrester, we haven't had to, which frankly makes me all the more interested in the research a group like Forrester produces. More balanced. More complete.

Kyle Mcnabb at Forrester and Kas Thomas at CMS Watch have been particularly great to work with. We've also really enjoyed our interaction with The 451 Group, and on a personal level I highly respect the guys at Redmonk and the fact that they share information freely - not just with those who insert coins into their mouths.

I know that analysts have to make a living, and that living isn't going to be paid by startups like Jive or Alfresco. Our money is focused on R&D so that we can serve customers, not analysts. At a certain size, however, we'll start giving back to the analyst community. The analysts can help us to get there by offering up unbiased, high-quality analysis on the work that we're doing.

In other words, subsidize coverage of the startups now in order to reap the rewards later.