Anthea Stratigos – April 13, 2016
At Outsell’s Signature Event last year, I presented our annual Information Industry Outlook and in that keynote discussed the key themes we see affecting our industry. We then published these trends in our annual year-end Information Industry Outlook report, which we give to industry complimentary, after we pre-release this analysis at our event. A tradition now going on over 15 years. Last year, I spoke of these trends through an Outsell case study since we are of the community we serve, a privileged position we respect. And in the spirit of Outsell’s Signature Event, which is off-the-record, peer-to-peer and congruent with Outsell’s Leadership Council, by and for CEOs who compare and contrast case studies, best practices, and industry trends, I shared our story.
As part of that case study, I pre-released many of the ‘trends’ we were watching and how they were coming together in our ‘house.’ Our responsibility to demonstrate what is ahead and the integration of four major themes coming together in one place. Machine generated data and machine learning to build basic data capabilities. In this case, improving our coverage of companies and markets by expanding coverage in this era of convergence – content, software, and services in the myriad sectors we cover. Our analysts used to be able to cover neat and tidy spaces. But with convergence, came our client’s demands for more software industry coverage, more services coverage, and more coverage up and down the value chain as education content became education, training and human capital management, or as credit or financial or legal information became governance, risk and compliance. What we knew to be STM is now innovation and discovery, and applied healthcare – health info/health IT – and so on and so forth. Media companies are now in marketing services and using/competing with AdTech and MarTech. So, with this extension in the value chain, came our need to cover more. And on an organically funded budget that means deploy the machines.
We wrap this around our thought-leadership – what the industry has come to know us for – our fact-based analysis and our leadership in seeing key trends, around the corner and before many of our leaders. That was why we publish analysis before most people even see the trends coming, and why we stay focused on quality and making sure our analysts compare and contrast what’s going on in their sectors and how it applies to other sectors and analyst areas – because the learnings are ‘across neighborhoods’ of our industry, not just within them.
We explained how the ‘gig economy’ and the need for ‘focused scale’ meant the imperative, in a long tail industry like the information industry , to extend our thought-leadership and our data to create custom research and consulting engagements for our clients. We have been asked about freemium legal information solutions in Poland, veterinary information in Denmark, or the market for aggregation of TV programming information. We’ve been asked about news gathering by helicopters and its disruption by drones and we’ve been asked about classified ads for doctors. This is a long-tail industry and we are not going to effectively syndicate for an ’n’ of 3 clients who might care. In fact, in most of our industry’s ‘focused scale’ is being challenged by ‘super niche’ and the ability to get to serving those needs is through machines, expert networks and other means to ‘augment’ thought leadership – whether analysts, journalists, or consultants. That’s why journalists now use bloggers to help source stories, or the iPhone photos and videos of consumers – we have new raw materials in our industry regardless of our sector. In B2B, research and advisory, that means ‘gig’ and machines to augment thought leadership.
And we believe, unlike Gartner, Forrester, or IDC and traditional R&A models, that we don’t have a hold on all knowledge, and the conduit to our knowledge is not through analysts alone. There must be a platform for clients to access a friendly doorway that has our content, that of ‘our machines,’ our analysts, our affiliates and custom capabilities (third party blended with original) ALONG with community. Not all of our clients want community, but many do. And we have a place for them. We said last year in Pinehurst that community was a key layer and that community and events were all one – 24 x 7 x 365 in a way that online and offline – physical and digital people with shared interests could convene, and that in today’s world it was essential to combine these for users who could have access to content any time, any place. Enter Outsell Anywhere.
We also believe services are best delivered to personas, something we’ve been espousing since we began Outsell. And combining this into a responsive design so users could log in any time, any place and engage with Outsell data – our own, third party, driven by the machines off the open web; thought–leadership – whether our published research; or our analysts, and an ability to dig deeper into a custom capabilities (just for them) or engage with communities and our events – all in one place, was the wave of the future.
So we built it.
Over the years our brand has been associated with high-end, expensive, quality – excellence. Like the Mercedes S class it was ‘inaccessible except to those who could afford it.’ So we built our platform, integrated and combining all of these components with more yet to come. And we are improving our client experience, and opening up our ‘C’ class options – something one can do in a platform driven world. Because scale matters, and in a long–tail industry with lots of different needs, scale cannot be achieved without a platform and technology. The world doesn’t want entirely bundled options and higher priced solutions but the ability to buy for a person or a team. And we opened up that capability because our platform now allows it. From free to freemium to price points that reward volume, we have something for a person of 1 or an entire enterprise. It’s amazing and we know for our class of services its best in class. Just like the Mercedes – S class or C.
It’s an amazing story. It’s not over. There’s more to tell and it’s not been easy. In fact it’s been darn expensive and like any CEO with a vision, I’ll say it hasn’t come fast enough and I ask why does it take so long? But good things in life are worth waiting for. And our platform, like a new house, still in need of some finishing work and a bit more interior decorating, is darn amazing. It’s an amazing house that we know you will make home. And we say welcome to it. Come on in and visit Outsell’s Leadership Community, Outsell’s Information Management Community, and our Market Intelligence Service.