Think back to a time you made a big purchase; perhaps a car or a house. How much research, planning and thinking did you put into that purchase? A lot, right? Now imagine you’re buying a multi-million pound email system for your whole company. How much research would you want to do before you bet your job on one particular option?
Or imagine you are developing something new that you want to sell; perhaps a new website or service. How would you know exactly what consumers want? How would you know what the competition is doing? If this were your job on money on the line, you’d want to be confident you had all the information at hand.
And this is where industry analysts come in. Industry analysts work in every possible industry imaginable – my area is cloud computing. Our job is to have a full, detailed view of the market for the area we cover, so we can advise buyers and sellers of their options. We get this view my talking to everyone! I talk to cloud providers, big companies, small companies, buyers and investors, I read the press, I travel, I attend events, I read and contribute to surveys, and hopefully, after all this, I have a good idea of what is going on.
I share my views and the state of the market through online reports, speaking at events, client phone calls and meetings. And my area of specialism is the economics of cloud computing.
Cloud is a term splashed everywhere – and chances are we all involved in it, be it the iCloud, Dropbox, Hotmail or Google Drive. But what is cloud? In ye old days, if you wanted to run a website you’d have to buy a server. You’d have to have capital to do this, and then on an ongoing basis you’d have to keep it fed and watered.
But a few years ago, someone had the idea of buying a bunch of servers, and then renting out fractions of it to end-users. This is essentially what happens when you pay for Dropbox; you are paying to access a certain amount of storage for a certain period of time. It’s pay-as-you-go, with no need to buy a big server upfront. But this pay-as-you-go model has made budgeting and finance more complicated – especially if you’re a global conglomerate spending millions. And that’s where I come in.
Fortunately, I don’t need to be in an office to do my job. The research company I work for, 451 Research, is really flexible about location, and I can work pretty much from wherever I want as long as the job is getting done. When I’m not travelling, the hub is a nice, sociable base for me to work at – less lonely than working at home, and the people are great.
A lot of startups and small companies find industry analysts a bewildering bunch – “what exactly do you do again” is a phrase I hear a lot! But we just want to know what you do – and we might just drop your name in a conversation with a buyer, or mention you in something we are writing. A lot of deals happen with our influence, without anyone outside knowing we were involved.