What Is a Research and Analysis Company For, Today?

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I’m interested in directing my efforts today — and those of the analysts and others who are joining me here, at the new Gigaom Research — toward organizing something new, something better suited to the times we are living and working in.Here’s the understatement of the year: These have been a very fast-paced few months. In early July, I signed up with the new Gigaom Research as the first and only analyst working here, and now — just over two months later — I’ve been joined by over 20 other analysts and researchers, signed up a growing list of clients, and started the process of building a new and substantially different Gigaom Research.

As an aspect of that project, I’ve taken on the role of Managing Director of Gigaom Research. Leaving aside the issue of how the old defunct Giga Omni Media was managed, I’m interested in directing my efforts today — and those of the analysts and others who are joining me here, at the new Gigaom Research — toward organizing something new, something better suited to the times we are living and working in, as well as remaining sustainable, agile, and profitable.

To attack that, I decided to first answer a core question: what is a research and analysis company for, today?

On a superficial level, answering that question for Gigaom Research is simple, although multi-faceted:

  1. Gigaom Research is focused on helping business leaders grapple with the implications of emerging technologies on their companies. To accomplish that, we need deep expertise in those technologies, an up-to-date understanding of their application in business, and an appreciation of the organizational and workforce dimensions of technology adoption. While we aren’t in the management consulting business, guiding customers through digital transformation and the like, we must understand the forces and fissures associated with technologically-induced change and innovation.
  2. Gigaom Research works closely with technology vendors developing the emerging technologies that define our world, providing research on markets and trends driving adoption, and the needs and challenges of businesses that are the buyers and users of these tools. While we aren’t in the business of designing and building hardware, software or everything in between, we need to stay very close to the bleeding edge of technological innovation, and therefore can advise and provide market intelligence to our vendor clients.

Therefore, there are two complementary sides to Gigaom Research: one working with vendors creating the tools and technology platforms that define our world, and another working with companies increasingly reliant on those tools, technologies, and techniques to apply them in their businesses.

We plan to transition away from a subscription-based business model toward one based on dialog, interaction, and participation.However, the Gigaom Research of old was based on a publishing model: writing reports — and to a lesser extent, blogging — about technologies, tools, and their impacts on business. By early 2014 it was becoming clear that the larger part of Gigaom Research’s value for vendors was in the application of our analysts’ understanding of markets and trends to vendor’s plans and strategies. Although the old Gigaom Research had an offering for business clients, called Buyers Lens, it was not much more than a subscription to our basic research, with perhaps a small amount of inquiry time included. And most important: such reports are immediately out of date as soon as published. As a result, we plan to transition away from a subscription-based business model toward one based on dialog, interaction, and participation. I will be writing more about that next month.

On both sides of our business model, we will be working to create greater opportunities for direct involvement with clients:

  • On one side, we are planning to launch the Gigaom Research Council, a community for business leaders whose responsibilities involve understanding the implications of emerging technologies in their companies. These are change agents, heads of innovation and digital, along with others revamping their organizations to better compete in a time of accelerating volatility, uncertainty, and ambiguity. This effort will be led by my colleague and long-time contributor Larry Hawes, with a great deal of support from me and other analysts.
  • On the vendor side, we will be bringing our deep awareness of what’s going on in the workforce and workplace to guide vendors in their efforts to bring new offerings to market, expand the adoption of today’s tools, and to create more effective connections with their users and markets.

Simply writing dozens of reports — however insightful and well-targeted — will not get our clients where they want and need to be.These both will require us to provide new ways to connect and communicate with clients. Simply writing dozens of reports — however insightful and well-targeted — will not get our clients where they want and need to be.

I’ve already written about how we are going to be moving away from statically-defined and siloed technology-centric focus areas for research (see Rebooting Gigaom Research). In the next iteration of our website — and in the way we are already reorganizing our services — we won’t be slotting our work into ‘mobile’ versus ‘Internet of things’ versus ‘Data’. Instead we will be developing a cascade of trends and issues, and tagging our work appropriately. For example, I’ve talked with a number of clients recently about the apparent rebound of email as a platform for communication and technology innovation. That thread will be — on the coming-soon revamped website — tagged (and searchable) as #email-as-a-platform, under the larger theme of #cotech, which is a term I am introducing for technologies that support coworking (all the ‘co’ words: ‘coordination’, ‘collaboration’, ‘coauthoring’, ‘coediting’, ‘cooperating’, ‘cocurating’ and so on). And instead of seeking to write one or two reports on that topic, instead we would be involved in much more active and ‘living’ research. For example, we might have a few analysts participate in an online and open demo of a tool that leverages email as a platform, and we’d publish the discussion of their thoughts on that tool and those ideas. That might lead to discussions with vendors on one side, and members of the Research Council on the other. A week later we might decide to run a survey in the Council on some of those ideas, and we’d publish a Trend Brief — one of our short reports — on the findings. And that might lead to a cascade of other interactions, writing, and analysis.

All of this is significantly different from the old Gigaom Research, but such cascades of activities will become the modus operandi of the new Gigaom Research, going forward.

This is, then, a call to action.

For existing or prospective business clients who are looking for a new, deeper, and more open approach to leveraging analysis and research for their companies, we are eager to engage. Please start with this request for more information, so that we can initiate a dialogue about your company’s needs and how they might align with our new Gigaom Research Council.

For current or future vendor clients, we welcome a chance to talk, to develop a closer strategic relationship, and to work jointly to triangulate market movements and trends. Please contact me to open that discussion. I’ve spoken with dozens of vendor representatives — CEOs, head of analyst relations, CMOs, product leads — in the past few months, and I have learned a great deal through those calls and meetings. I welcome the chance to learn more.

We are going to need a new cadre of aggressive and dissatisfied analysts to join us.For analysts interested in the opportunities at Gigaom Research, we are recruiting. I’ve been fortunate in that so many of the most insightful and active analysts from the old Gigaom Research have been willing to sign up with the new Gigaom Research, but we are going to need a new cadre of aggressive and dissatisfied analysts to join us, as well.

First of all, we’ve adopted a much more researcher-centric operational model, and at this point we have not brought aboard dedicated business development or sales staff. But the new Gigaom Research will need highly motivated and deeply knowledgeable research leads and research directors: practitioners with the expertise and skills to be able to work closely with our clients, to deliver value in this new regime, and to be able to close and manage engagements.

We are rebooting Gigaom Research in an era that demands a new model of operations, one better suited to the times, forces and trends that are shaping the markets and economics that confront our clients.But honestly, if you are interested in a 9-5 analyst job — an ivory tower gig updating last years’ report using a five-year old analytic framework — please don’t even bother. If you contact us, be hungry, and please start by making a list of companies and contacts you think are candidates for Gigaom Research services, lay out a plan of engagement, and we’ll open a mutual dialog with them as soon as practical.

The bottom line: we are rebooting Gigaom Research in an era that demands a new model of operations, one better suited to the times, forces and trends that are shaping the markets and economics that confront our clients. I welcome your involvement, whether you are a change agent at a Fortune 1000 corporation, a product manager at innovative software start-up, or a underutilized and hungry researcher at one of our competitors.

Let’s get busy.

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