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IT Research firms: Gartner, Meta, Forrester, etc.

Summary posted by Marilou Mally, Omaha Public Power District, on June 21, 2000

We have been in negotiations with both Gartner & Forrester (& have a contract with Jupiter).  Gartner has at least given us a flat rate price that includes all their data/reports/analyst access.  At Forrester, you have a $100K minimum cost just to open the door, then all data costs more on top of that!!  Neither are flexible about transactional pricing or information center users being able to pull data for staff.

Our subscription to Datapro Communications Analyst came up for renewal this May. I received a phone call that it was time for our renewal. When I asked if there was a price increase, my rep said "oh, maybe a small increase. I'll check and call you". He came back with a 50% increase! So much for a "small increase".. . . The major reason we accepted their offer and continued our subscription is that we had changed from the print version to the online version. Not only was the print version a pain to update monthly as well as dealing with lost/stolen sections, but we had no good usage statistics except our gut feeling as to how much the service was used. With the online version, we now have excellent usage statistics.

Don't have experience with Meta but I guarantee Forrester will have even bigger sticker shock.  Forrester also only answers very upper management strategic questions - projecting 5 years or so.  Gartner is much more everyday and advisors are very good about making teleconferences, etc..  The Quickpath has often been a lifesaver in making me look good!  You may want to check Giga - it was started by Gartner when he sold the first company he started.  They offer more of a range of services while Gartner breaks everything into small services that often overlap.  If you do go with Gartner - I highly recommend the IT Journal which offers a better overview of all the services.

We're finishing up a two week trial with Forrester tomorrow and I'm expecting our initial price proposal on Monday.  . . . We've also worked with Meta in the past, but not on a subscription basis.  They've been very accomodating when we've needed specific pieces of research by not charging us an arm and a leg.

What you are referring to, I imagine, is their migration over to a global pricing model, where you have to get everything they publish.  What we will probably do is spread the increased cost over a three year contract, so this first year, our cost increase will be lower.  Since we can use a lot of what they publish, this is valuable for us,as it is cheaper than it would have been before to purchase their whole library.  But if that wasn't the case, I would probably have to dump them.  The same thing happened last year with Forrester.  Forrester came out with a new "Lens" pricing system that made it almost the same cost whether we bought part or all of the Lens, so we were forced to pay a lot more if we wanted any of it.  Jupiter still allows you to buy chunks in manageable groups.

Gartner pricing caused us to let their services go for 2000.  We picked up the slack with META and got coverage for about half the price.  The META model is more interactive than Gartner's so you will find that META's published research is less extensive than Gartner's, but access to their analysts is easier. It's more work for the client to use META effectively because they deliver their research by analyst phone call, on-site briefings, teleconferences, etc. All of this requires the client to do a fair amount of legwork to keep people informed of opportunities, schedules, etc. META in my opinion is at present the best Gartner substitute.  Forrester is skewed toward more retail and entertainment industry issues and lacks the depth of coverage in the meat and potatoes corporate IT issues that Gartner and META specialize in.

Sticker shock didn't begin to describe it. We have Gartner IntraWeb, which is probably their least expensive product, ringing in at 40K+/year. The only way we have access to it is because the cost is split among several departments. Unfortunately, our IT department, the major contributor, decided to pull out this FY, leaving us with a 15K share of the subscription. I don't think we'll be keeping it.

I also spoke to several Buslibbers on the phone.  The opinions vary as to which service provides the most value. This seems to be  based on the type of industry involved.  One theme came through in all the conversations - these services are expensive, and generally not flexible in pricing options. The customer service seems to be better during the first year for subscribers, then the service falls off.  For those vendors lurking on the list, maybe you could convey that to your superiors.