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Principal Analyst, Founder, Chairman at Constellation Research, best selling author of several books with Harvard Business Review Press. Previously Founding Partner at Altimeter Group, VP at Forrester Research, and held Exce. positions at Oracle, PeopleSoft, Deloitte, Ernst & Young. Regular contributor to Harvard Business Review and well quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNBC TV, Reuters, IDG News Service. Ray has thrice won the prestigious Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) Analyst of the Year Award.

8 responses to “The Sad State of The Industry Analyst Business And The Need For A Code Of Ethics”

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  3. Chuck Van Court

    Hi Ray:

    Good attempt to try to start some dialog on the pervasive “pay to play” model that absolutely exists and everybody understands exists. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that you will get many if any of the vendors or analysts talking here. Their silence will speak volumes.

    The other area that needs to be called out is the proliferation of all the contests and awards by analysts, magazines and anyone else out there trying to cash in. With rare exception — and everyone will cry out they are the exception — these things are merely fronts for generating money from vendors and have little to do with substantive analysis. I would love to get your comments on this topic.

    What buyers could really use is detailed product analysis completed by people with ZERO money coming from the companies they write about. Don’t get me wrong here, I believe the macro-level analysis commonly done today is certainly valuable. However, only the very naive and/or lazy will give these quadrants, watch lists, contests or awards more than a small weighting when evaluating their purchase options.

  4. Adam Rogers

    Great job Ray – couldn’t agree more.

    One additional piece of crucial information that analysts should disclose is investments they have in vendors (public or private) they write about (at the time of writing). I think Motley Fool nailed it for disclosure. Considering they offer financial advice on public companies they likely are governed by SEC rules around analysts and buyers. That being said, at the end of every opinion piece that is written, the author discloses whether he/she has any holdings of any company mentioned in the article (at the time of writing) and a link to view their current holdings.

  5. www.fuzeanswers.com

    In addition to calling out vendors, why not call out other analysts, contests, etc. that represent “pay to play” behavior?

    In the end, I think rule #1 in your “Analyst Code” should be “do not push opinions about companies that pay you.”

  6. Cottrill Research » The Industry Analyst Business: A Need for a Code of Ethics

    […] Analyst of Constellation Research, writes an intriguing post for Enterprise Irregulars entitled “The Sad State of the Industry Analyst Business and the Need for a Code of Ethics.” Mr. Wang admits upfront “there is a massive self-interest in my putting this out […]

  7. www.fuzeanswers.com

    To close out on this topic for me, which appears dead without getting much conversation from relevant parties for fear of retribution or other concerns, I wanted to refer your readers here to my comment in your company blog where I equated the analyst market to a real estate market where only seller’s agents exist. No debate? http://bit.ly/1chtY7Z

    I also wanted to clarify my contention that with very rare exception analyst evaluations, contests, quadrants, waves, etc. involving software are based on analysis that is just too high level to warrant much weighting by buyers. The market is not demanding it (yet) and it just is not financially worth their time to spend the many hours it takes to test drive software with literally thousands of features. In private analysts admit their “opinions” on software should not carry much weight, but this is never publicly acknowledged. I have even heard analysts say that the companies highlighted in this contest or that contest reflect the one’s spending the most with the company putting on the contest.

    Again, macro-level analysis is important and should remain the sweet spot.

    I believe that most analysts are smart, fair and have the best intentions. I just think the model is broken and needs change. In the end, I would bet that services facilitating actual users of software to comment on a software’s true effectiveness will provide buyers with a good starting point for software evaluations, but they will still be required to complete their own in-depth trials to do right by their stakeholders.

    As the CEO and founder of a successful and independent software company, I recognize the implications of my comments, but they are sincere, accurate and worth saying. Our product will do the talking and insecure analysts can make us pay as they will for my comments.

  8. Tom Cox

    This is an evergreen topic. Every industry faces it when the buyer isn’t the consumer — in this case analyses are paid for by the person BEING analyzed, not the person reading or acting on it.

    While a code of conduct could be useful, nothing will replace the natural incentives of making the buyer and the consumer be the same person. Until that happens, being the high-integrity player will be a great niche for a few analysts and firms, but the common denominator will remain low.

    The temptation to collude is too high, and transparency is too weak.

    Big kudos to the author for raising this issue so eloquently.