Ovum PocketAnalyst: Just sound bite snacking, or harbinger of change for the Analyst industry?

26 November 2010

One of the more interesting developments this month in the AR world was the recent launch of Ovum’s PocketAnalyst tool, which maps its research and intelligence services to the schedule of its clients. At present the application can only be downloaded to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Fit for use, but for what purpose?

The focus on ‘jargon busting’ implies that it will be used for skimming information, rather than deep dive analysis – which makes sense given the form factor. It is likely to just be a smart way for Ovum to drive general awareness of the latest research among prospects and journalists, with a view to cross selling existing research to their current clients more effectively. Further down the line, Ovum could build in geo-locational features, so that users can plan their attendance at Ovum events and symposium.  Perhaps a partnership with FourSquare might be a logical option at some point?

What about the other analyst firms?

It will be interesting to see if Gartner develops something similar to promote its summits. My colleague, Jay Andersen, over in San Francisco, has heard talk from Gartner, and other firms, about using mobile devices for ‘snacking’. And as Jay likes to say, the medium is the message! With its strong digital track record in digital thought leadership I can’t imagine Forrester leaving the mobile app field alone for long either. Ovum has dipped a toe in the water. Which analyst firm is going to cross the Rubicon next?

Deeper opportunities

For me, potentially the most exciting aspect of this kind of app is bringing analyst insights to new audiences who do not currently have direct contact with analyst firms. For example, this kind of app has a lot of potential for syndicating free research – potentially moving past the traditional audience to a broader audience. In the UK, firms such as Freeform Dynamics, TechMarketView, Redmonk, MWD and Quocirca are doing a great job at popularising their research online. It is not much of a leap to see any of these players following a similar approach to Ovum and launching their own mobile app.

Target Small Businesses? Surely not!

An ideal market for an analyst app is the small business segment which the analyst industry has, by and large, ignored. This is a huge, potentially addressable market that is being left untapped. There will probably come a point when the Gartners, IDCs, Forresters and Ovums of this world plateau the addressable large enterprise audience for IT and have to turn to other markets. The SMB IT market would be the next logical market to gun for. It is that, or face cannibalizing each other within a mature and saturated market.

A bite size mobile app focused model (executed well) may successfully address the small business market – increasing analysts mind share over the purchasing process, whilst also diversifying their revenue streams. It would not be much of a stretch to see the CEO or manager of a small business benefiting from the jargon busting aspects of an analyst app. Will the analyst app become a Trojan horse that will redefine the analyst industry? Or will it be just another digital channel to drive information through? The AR team here at Hill & Knowlton would love to hear your thoughts.

2 Responses to “Ovum PocketAnalyst: Just sound bite snacking, or harbinger of change for the Analyst industry?”

  1. Dominic Pannell

    Good post. I applaud Ovum’s move, but the real test will be whether their content is sufficiently engaging to motivate users to open the app. I’ve had it for a couple of weeks on my iPhone and have only clicked on it a couple of times (both times proved useful). There’s a lot of real estate on my device, so the competition is tough.

    Also, Apple is only one mobile provider, of course – it’ll be interesting to see how long Ovum, the expert on mobile, takes to release an app for android, etc.

  2. Tris Clark

    Thanks for the comment Dom. Agree with your points. Yes, it’ll be interesting to see how fast they move to make this app available on Android, and the other mobile operating systems. I’ll certainly download it to my new Sony Ericcson smartphone as soon as it does!

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