Episode 19 – Interacting with analysts: Amardeep Modi
Analysts are the mystical wizards of the tech industry. Their reports and analysis results shape markets and sometimes also the fates of organizations that play in that market. Therefore, many organizations want to control access to analysts and a lot of questions are unanswered, leaving behind confused people.
But we are here to change this, by having Amardeep Modi, an experienced analyst on the show who is giving us a “look behind the scenes” of the analyst business.
Amar is a Vice President at Everest Group. He’s a seasoned advisor and leader with many years of strategy consulting and business research experience.
He’s a seasoned RPA, intelligent automation, and process mining SME, advisor, and leader. At Everest Group Amar leads the Service Optimization Technologies (SOT) research and advisory practice, which includes not only leading a 12-membered team, but also developing and managing client relationships and identifying and leading business development efforts.
We are talking about the following topics:
- How Amar came to the Everest Group and what he’s doing there
- The role of analysts in the marketplace
- Buyers of analyst reports and services
- The main two offerings of Everest Group
- Which type of people become analysts
- The engagement model (and sometimes a pay-to-play scheme in the market)
- How analysts identify trends and topics for their research
- How a major report, such as the Peak Matrix Report, is created
Ep. 19 – Interacting with analysts: Amardeep Modi – What's Your Baseline? Enterprise Architecture & Business Process Management Demystified
- There is no additional information for this episode.
Music by Jeremy Voltz, www.jeremyvoltzmusic.com
- CP1 (Welcome)
- FC Horns (Interlude 1)
- Industrial Beat (Interlude 2)
- South Wing (Outro)
(The transcript is auto-generated and was slightly edited for clarity)
Roland: Hey, J-M, how are you doing today?
J-M: Not too bad, Roland how are you doing? It’s a great day outside. It’s finally warmed up. Ah wow.
Roland: Yeah, well, yeah, that’s good. That’s good. But hey J-M, I do have a question for you. Have you ever used an analyst report in your professional life?
J-M: I would love to say that I use the Analyst reports to make decisions. But the truth is I’m mostly consulting all the analyst reports to see how the companies that I work for are doing. So I’m using them as, you know, when you were in high school, those sheets said ‘oh who got into the school play’ and everyone you know goes around and says ‘oh my goodness X person is the lead next person is you know in the background chorus’. I’m going up there and making sure my name’s near the top of that list. I’m also giving away a little bit about myself. I suppose people also do that with sports. I was definitely one of the theater kids checking on who got the lead in the play.
Roland: Well, then, J-M, since I’m in the control group and I’ve never been in a theater group, I have something for you to learn, because today’s guest is actually an analyst. So we have Amar Modi from The Everest Group as a guest on our show and I’d like to welcome you, Amar, to our shenanigans here.
Amar: Absolutely, so it’s a pleasure to be. I am a vice president with Everest Group and I lead ever group service optimization technologies research and advisory practice globally. I’ve been with the firm for nearly eight years and my role here has been focused on leading industry-defining research and advising our clients on intelligent automation technologies such as robotic process automation, process mining, intelligent document processing, process orchestration and conversational AI. My role also involves continuous interactions and engagements with senior executives and automation leaders at enterprises, technology providers and service providers to really get a 360-degree review into the enterprise adoption of intelligent automation technologies, impact achieved, and the future of work. Before joining Everest Group, I was with Deloitte’s strategy and operations practice, advising clients on various strategic initiatives. I’m an engineer by education from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.
J-M: Wow, what kind of engineering did you study?
Amar: So I studied metallurgical engineering and material science.
J-M: Oh wow, material science, and that it’s a beloved discipline. I’m a mechanical engineer originally or manufacturing, and I suppose we had a little bit of an easier go. I know material science folks had a lot of chemistry involved. Or at least materials production stuff going on.
Amar: We had a little bit of everything. A little bit of computer science, a little bit of mechanical engineering, a little bit of electronics engineering and whatnot.
J-M: That sounds fun and tell me: how did Deloitte prepare you for your role here at Everest? I mean, it seems like going from consulting, which is something where you’d be doing a lot of these evaluations, to going to an evaluations company makes good sense. Is that how you did your transition?
Amar: Absolutely, so at Deloitte I was part of the strategy operations practice and my work primarily involved consulting our clients on various strategic initiatives that relate to go-to-market strategy, market assessment, and things like that. And the work that I am doing at Everest Group is not completely different from what I was doing at Deloitte Strategy and Operations. So at Everest Group, my role is focused on providing advice to our clients, using our research and IP, and also using contextualized problem solving to solve specific problems that they are facing, which was what I was doing at Deloitte primarily. So at Everest Group, I get a greater variety of things. So here I’m not just advising our clients using contextualized problem solving and not just helping them solve specific requirements that they have, but I’m also providing industry and science across our client base, which are related to coverage of broader industry trends and insights based on the research that we are doing here.
Roland: Which I’m pretty sure removes 85% of all the cat herding that you typically do in a consulting project. You know, chasing your clients tracing the deliverables and all that wonderful stuff because you’re the expert.
Amar: And just to just to highlight since we’re kind of speaking about the differences between, you know, what I was doing at Deloitte strategy and operations and what I’m doing at Everest Group. So at Everest group, as I mentioned, the variety is broader. And it also provides the analysts with the platform to become industry experts, which is missing from a strategy consulting pure play strategy firm or practice like Deloitte strategy and operations, or any of the Big 4 consulting practices. So it provides a good mix of what one does at the Big 4 consulting firms and what people would be doing at the likes of Gartner and Forrester, which are the pure play analyst forms.
J-M: Interesting, and I want to speak a little bit more about this later as well, but it sounds like this is much, ah, much more of an enablement practice. Rather than simply keeping the knowledge within the house, you’re helping to give the knowledge and enable people to look for their own needs, solve their own problems. I think it’s kind of cool. But before we get into exactly what you do and how you do it, I also want to know a little bit more about you. I think our listeners are fascinated by the people who come on the show. Tell me more about you as a person. What do you do in your off time? What’s your guilty pleasure then you. What are your bucket list items? The things you want to do before you die.
Amar: I’ll try to make it short and interesting. So as a person I like learning about new technologies and innovations. Watching movies and TV series is another thing that I spend a lot of time on which I don’t get much of. Traveling and playing sports are some of the other things that interest me, although during COVID, traveling has been quite restricted, so again I’m just looking forward to restrictions going down to pre-COVID levels so that I can kind of resume the usual traveling schedule. From a bucket list perspective, there is a lot actually. But I’ll just try to highlight a couple of items that I recently added to it and those are staying in an underwater hotel and fly-dining with my wife.
J-M: Those are also things that evil geniuses do – I feel like we’re on the level of Evil Genius now – “I have an underwater bunker” and “I am eating in the air”.
Roland: Well, the latter is super easy. United just throws some precooked half-warm stuff on your lap and you have in-flight dining.
J-M: Oh wow, we just lost our sponsor.
Roland: Oh, wait a second United: If you want to come back, we’re happy to bring you back to the family.
J-M: We’ll say good things about your meals, we promise. Ah well. And besides the fun stuff, that sounds really cool, and I’m sure you have a line on those things. So when the world opens back up and we are all on the show crossing our fingers that things become safer for everyone. And we send all of our love to everyone all over the world who is dealing with the same things we’re all dealing with, which is having to stay inside, having to keep each other safe until it is safe outside.
Roland: Yeah I can tell you a few weeks ago I was speaking at an in-person conference and it was weird, you know, First of all, I forgot half of the stuff that typically was in my travel back so you get rusty over time but it was so exciting just to see other people in person even though everybody wore masks and and all that type of stuff. But I think everybody’s ready for it. But having said that, Amar, let’s go to the topic of our conversation and thanks for giving us that insight into your personality and the things that you like to do. So when I was working for one of the Big 4 organizations, I had very weird interactions with analysts because they restricted access to analysts. You know, there was an analyst relations department and you were not supposed to talk to any of those and whatnot. Can you elaborate a little bit more about the role of analysts in the marketplace, please.
Amar: Absolutely, and, you know since you kind of mentioned that experience of yours when you were at Big 4. Let me start by sharing a quick experience of mine as well. So when I was at Deloitte I used to refer to some of the analyst reports, and the Everest Group report was something that I also referred to as part of one of the projects that I was working on while at Deloitte. And in addition to the Everest Group report, I was kind of looking at some of the other analyst reports that Deloitte had access to. And there was a big difference between the Everest Group research that I was accessing and some of the other analyst data that I was accessing, and I’ll kind of not mention the name of the other analyst firm. The main difference that I saw there was that the Everest Group report was very nicely presented with interesting graphics and very actionable insights. The other data sets from the other analyst firm that I had access to were just a bunch of data in Excel. This could be because Deloitte didn’t have access to the other analysts’ reports in the same way as they had to Everest Group’s. But this was a big difference that I witnessed when I was at Deloitte and that is when I got to know about Everest Group, and when I kind of got the opportunity to get a role here, it made a lot of sense to me. And when I got to know about the kind of work that Everest Group does, which is a really good mix of what the consulting firms do and what the pure play analyst forms do, it just kind of also resonated well with what I was doing and what I had learned at Deloitte at the same time. It also was kind of something that I saw as an enabler for me to really become an industry expert versus kind of just doing a lot of different things but not being able to kind of emerge as an expert on a particular area.
J-M: Right. And then besides yourself, what do you see as the role of Everest Group or just in general of Analyst firms in the marketplace. You’ve got consulting firms – you talked about what you do, sort of touched upon that. But when you look at analysts themselves, where do you see them playing a role in the Market? What do you think they offer, in general, as a service to their clients and to the industry in general, and what do you think they should be doing? What’s the best version of that?
Amar: Analysts work towards creating and publishing research and advising organizations on the ‘why’, the ‘how’ and the ‘where’ of enterprise technologies and global services in terms of their procurement, their deployment, and their usage. They are the experts in doing an in-depth assessment of demand and supply site trends to help enterprises, technology providers, and service providers make strategic business decisions. Analysts also play a key role in creating market awareness and thought leadership, especially about new technologies, services, solutions or use cases. They create awareness about the various new technologies and services, enabling enterprises to form a future looking view into how things are going to happen or likely to happen, and provide that kind of thought leadership is again one of the key things or the key value that analysts also bring to the table.
Roland: So, Amar, that sounds to me like you’re playing the role of ‘King Maker’ in many many organizations by telling them (after looking into your crystal ball) where the future will go. So, tell me a little bit about the clients and the different types of companies that are looking for analysts’ help.
Amar: So, of course, there are enterprises or buyers of technologies and global business processes and IT services across industries and geographies. There are shared services organizations. Then the providers of business process or IT services such as Accenture, TCS, Cognizant, Wipro, IBM, and so forth. Then there are providers of technology products such as Microsoft, UIPath, Automation Anywhere, Software AG, Celonis, Salesforce, SAP, and the list goes on. And then there are private equity or venture capital firms, and not a lot of people know that analysts work a lot with them. At least Everest Group works a lot with private equity or venture capital firms as well to kind of help them across various strategic initiatives. There are also industry bodies such as NASSCOM that seek analysts’ help.
J-M: So I’m hearing three different groups who you’re talking about: enterprises / buyers of services, technology providers, and venture capitalist firms / standards bodies. I would assume that you embrace the idea of ‘cook once and serve many’. The same kind of report would, at a high level, help influence all of these. But how do these stakeholder groups differ in the kinds of detail they need? I think you, but you mentioned it as an earlier point, something really interesting, which is that you don’t necessarily always pick the thing at the top of the matrix, right? Because there are lots of details in the report that might influence you in different ways than simply the position itself would. How do these different companies use those details differently, or what kind of products you serve up when you slice up the offerings you have at Everest to make their day to make their decision-making process and review process a little easier.
Amar: So for a lot of these reports, the way these are designed is to serve different and varying needs of all the different types of organizations that leverage and seek analysts’ help. And I’m sure we kind of get to more details around what type of reports we generally see, but I can kind of talk about how we see different organization groups leveraging analyst reports. So enterprises typically leverage analysts’ help in developing, refining, or validating their digital transformation automation outsourcing and offshoring strategies. This includes market trends and outlook, peer insights and comparisons, adoption of best practices, and case studies. Selecting the right providers and getting the best out of existing provider relationships, talent and location strategy, deal pricing insights, and so on and so forth. Service and technology providers leverage analysts to make vital decisions about services, technologies, pricing and locations. Some of the key use cases include market assessments, global services and technology trends, competitive benchmarking, go-to market strategy, price benchmarking, thought leadership and marketing support. And regular access to analysts really becomes crucial to ensuring that strategy is up to date, especially in a constantly changing environment. And to add some more color to the earlier question around contextualizing the reports or the insights to different requirements of different organization groups. So if I talk about Everest Group, a lot of the insights that most of the organizations want – whether they’re an enterprise, or a service provider or venture capital firm or industry body – they all want to know about the market trends they all want to know about the market outlook they all want to know about the supplier landscape. And that’s how we also structure a lot of our reports, and there are a lot of situations where these companies require more contextualized insights, and this is where we have different models to help them provide more contextualized insights on top of the market reports that we produce. These can take different forms. These could be a kind of quick analyst query call which could be 30 to 60 minutes to share some additional nuances. This could be a custom engagement exercise that could go for anywhere from two weeks to months to provide more hands-on support, more customized support depending upon the type of objectives that they’re looking to achieve.
Roland: Yeah, that’s a very interesting question because that’s half of the question that we had before. I get how your customers use your reports and your deliverables that you produce, but talk a little bit about what the typical engagement model is. You mentioned analyst calls and all these things, but if I were an organization, and I wouldn’t have a clue about where I want to go right, but I know your phone number. Would that be the first step? Would I give you a call and say “Amar tell me a little bit about this”? What is the typical engagement process that your clients go through when they reach out?
Amar: Talking about the business model that we have at Everest Group, there are two ways in which our clients typically engage with us. One is a membership construct. That kind of provides around the year access to our research, our analysts, and these are annual memberships generally. And then there is contextualized problem-solving-driven decision support or custom engagement construct. And that includes various types of engagements such as Market Assessments or partner selection, and things like that, that kind of provide more contextualized insights to our clients.
J-M: Right, so I’m hearing there’s one that’s ‘hey we’re gonna do a bunch of research and join our club knowing that we’re gonna give you our best ideas and insights for the market’. And number two is “well you need the special lane. You’re going to come and have a 1-on-1 interaction with us and you’re going to discuss your problems and we’re going to act almost like a full-on pure play consultancy in that capacity”. Those 2 tracks are different and interesting. You also established the fact that independence is important to you.
J-M: And I suppose that’s going to give you authority and validity in both of those spaces. Number one, that you know for all of our club members, we’re not influenced by any given company. You’re going to get our unbiased opinion of the market. And for number 2, our unbiased opinion is going to inform our problem solving and solutioning for you so that what you’re getting is the best possible solution given all factors and with no bias. Which I think seems like a really hard thing to do. That means you’re going to have to bring in people like yourself who come from places like Deloitte because that second tranche of work is very much thinking work. It’s very much problem solving work. What kind of people do you have to have to make this whole business work? What are the core skills that you need and where do you hire from? What’s the pool you draw most deeply from?
Amar: One of the key criteria for hiring talent is problem solving. So as part of the interview process, as part of the hiring process, problem solving is one of the key capabilities that we look for in the talent that we hire. And we also hire from organizations such as the Big 4 consulting divisions and people who have that kind of consulting background. Because the kind of work that we do is a combination of both industry analysis as well as contextualized problem solving. So absolutely, from a talent perspective. Also, this is a really important differentiator because a traditional analyst firm may not be focusing on contextualized problem solving capabilities of individuals as part of their hiring process, whereas at Everest Group this is probably the most important criteria.
Roland: I’m so glad that you said that you didn’t hire from very successful podcasts because otherwise I would have to do this by myself going forward! But maybe to bring this first part of our conversation to a closure would typically do a little break between the different segments, and this is the time where I actually want to reach out to the listeners of this episode and give them a moment to think while we’re playing some music. How have you and your organizations conducted market analysis, technology assessment, and large scale problem solving in the past? What kind of information did you receive and where would it be helpful for you to have engaged with an analyst to solve those problems? We’ll leave you a couple of seconds to yourself. Please don’t take notes while you’re driving and we’ll come back in a moment.
Musical Interlude, “FC Horns”, Jeremy Voltz
J-M: All right, folks, welcome back and to our second section of this wonderful episode with Amar from Everest Group. And Amar, this has been a really interesting conversation so far about the role of analysts, what they do, how they work, the kinds of people who you bring together to generate the insights that organizations desperately need. But we have been kind of treading around the big topic: you work at the Everest Group. And that particular organization has a way of being that might be a little bit different. We’ve kind of alluded to this ‘2 stream approach’ but tell me specifically about the Everest Group as an organization. Who are you? Tell me the background in history of the Everest Group. How did it come to be the way it is today?
Amar: Absolutely, so The Everest Group was established almost thirty years back in 1991 and has almost thirty years of experience advising global 1000 companies with its distinctive combination of custom decision support and research capabilities. The firm specializes in providing research-informed-insights and business decision support in areas such as digital and next generation technologies, IT services, business process services, engineering services, provider sourcing, and talent and location strategy.
J-M: So it sounds like you have a pretty comprehensive offering, and particularly I like how the research component of things kind of informs everything you do. It’s research first. I feel like a lot of organizations, particularly when we think about organizations that are talking to customers every day who are doing a lot of hands-on consulting, they’re kind of doing ‘research after the fact’. You get a problem and you go figure out how to solve it. It feels like Everest comes from the perspective of ‘let’s see what kind of solutions there are and then when problems come to us. Let’s see how they pair.’ And that makes all the difference. It means you’re having to do lots of work even when there’s no customers around because you’re having to continuously monitor and figure out the market, but I feel like that means you’re better prepared when someone comes to you with a challenge. I see what you mean by this, giving you a specific place in the marketplace to fit in – that’s cool. I wanted to ask you where you see that fit, because obviously there are other analyst firms. I mean, you’ve mentioned them before on the podcast. And particularly I know people talk about them a lot, Gartner and Forrester. How do you fit into the landscape that is Gartner, Forrester, and a whole whack of other smaller players. And what do you think are your key competitive differentiators if someone’s going to come to the Peak Matrix over the [Forrester] Wave or over the [Gartner] Magic Quadrant?
Amar: I think we can really summarize the key differentiators that every group has in 5 key points: specialization and expertise in global services and digital technologies that enable those services, unmatched depth and breadth of our IP and research in the areas that we cover, unwavering focus on providing unbiased and fact-based research, and we don’t charge companies for participation in our research.
J-M: Whoa, whoa, whoa – I want to stop you there because that’s an interesting thing that is a really dirty secret / a big question is the cost of being evaluated. And you’re saying that in the case of the Everest Group, it doesn’t cost you a penny to be evaluated. To me that makes a big difference because it’s not a pay-to-play model. It is a true meritocracy. That’s very interesting. So please continue, but that’s an interesting point to talk about.
Amar: Absolutely, and you know this is really important to ensure that we kind of provide unbiased and fact-based research. And independence is one of the key assets that we have. And that’s why this aspect is really really important to the core values that Everest Group has embedded into the organization. The fourth key point of differentiation here, and I think we talked about it earlier as well, is investments and commitments towards talent development and a performance-driven culture. And last but not the least, and probably you know the most important, and then something that we have probably talked about a lot here is our model. A traditional analyst firm primarily focuses on providing outside-in industry analysis. However, Everest Group is not only known for its research expertise and IP but also for its ability to offer contextualized problem solving and advisory capabilities to address clients specific requirements. So this is one of the biggest differentiators that Everest Group has which also kind of helps find a very unique place for the firm in the market.
Roland: That is very interesting, Amar. Can you give a little bit more color around this? What to expect, when to engage with an analyst firm. What are the types of things that you get back?
Amar: Absolutely, and I’ll probably just reiterate and provide some context into the key engagement models that every group has. So we primarily have 2 key engagement models. One is annual memberships that give our clients around the year access to our industry-defining research and analyst support, and the second model is custom advisory engagements where we combine our industry insights with contextualized problem solving capabilities. And just to give more color to both of these in terms of examples of the work that we do, from a published research perspective / our membership standpoint, we put out a variety of research reports throughout the year to provide our clients a 360-degree view of specific industries and markets. These include ‘state of the market’ reports that provide in-depth analysis of key demand and supply side trends including market size, growth, demand drivers, adoption trends, investment themes, and solution characteristics.
Then there are Peak Matrix reports. They are the most popular reports that we do. These reports provide a detailed assessment of strengths and improvement areas of technology and service providers in specific market segments, evaluation of their market impact and capabilities across a range of dimensions, and their positioning on Everest Group’s proprietary Peak Matrix. Then there is a Provider Profile Compendium report that includes detailed profiles of the providers that really offers a holistic view into their market portfolio and delivery capabilities. Then we do a lot of white papers which are meant to serve as thought leadership research that provide insights and thought leadership on next generation issues and trends. Then we also do playbooks. These are best practice guides to help enterprises get the best out of their investments and technologies and services. Now coming to some of the examples of our custom advisory offering on the enterprise side. We provide support across areas such as peer benchmarking, provider shortlisting, portfolio optimization and strategic engagement review on the provider side. We support their strategy marketing and sales functions across areas such as market opportunity assessment, product and market strategy support, competitive strategy, mergers and acquisition, and partnership support, thought leadership, price benchmarking, active deal support account diligence and the list goes on.
Roland: While you were talking, I was thinking about how you get to those topics. We talk about our favorite thing these days – process mining in our industry. Five years ago, nobody spoke about this, so how do those topics become a trend? Is it like “oh the analyst community somehow meets secretly and says this is the next hot thing” or where do you get those ideas from?
Amar: That’s a very interesting question and you know, let me give you an interesting example of a related market which is “Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)”. Now everyone knows what IDP is, everyone recognizes it as a market segment, but before the IDP term was coined and the topic was positioned in the marketplace as an interesting and an important enterprise technology segment, people on both the enterprise side as well as on the provider side were really unsure of where to look or what kind of solutions would really help them provide or solve for their intelligent document processing needs. And on the supplier side, again. they were unsure of how to really position themselves accurately in the marketplace. Because there was no category dedicated to what they were really solving for and what they ended up doing was trying to kind of force fit themselves into existing categories of technologies. It could be BPM, it could be RPA, it could be OCR, or something. This is not the right way of positioning themselves accurately in the marketplace and ends up creating a lot of confusion, both for the enterprises as well as for the providers. And this is where analyst firms also play a very important role because they help solve for these confusions. Some analyst firms might overdo it with a lot of different terms and overcomplicate things. But what Everest Group contributed here was defining this category of intelligent document processing. So Everest Group was the first analyst firm to really define this category and produce a lot of industry-defining research about what an intelligent document processing solution should look like.
J-M: So It seems that you are both helping to catalyze a business idea into something that people can get their hands around (like this is what we’re talking about this is a whole type of solution) as well as helping vendors to better define their offerings to fit into those categories. And you’re helping organizations looking to solve those problems find the people who are offering solutions along their lines. That’s incredibly valuable. Not just as a service to a given company, but that seems like a really important service to the market.
Amar: And we take pride in being able to kind of contribute through some of these very strategic and very important work that we have delivered. These are really industry-defining activities, and this was just one example. There are a lot of other examples where we have really defined a market segment or a future-looking business model that then got adopted by a lot of other organizations. Another example is “Business Process Services 4.0” which really defines what the next generation of business process service delivery should look like, what are the key tenets of that and things like that. So these are just a few or of many such examples where we have really helped create the right category so that it becomes easier for both the buyers to understand and kind of appropriately look for what would help them solve specific needs that they are looking to solve for and for the suppliers to get a platform and the right positioning in the market for themselves.
Roland: But speaking of which, when you produce a report, talk a little bit about how that all works. Say you would do a vendor report for a client. What kind of information are you looking for? How do you approach this? When do you collect that information? What do you do with it? Is it just a big pile of information that some smart people go through? Give our listeners a little bit of an idea how the day-to-day work looks like, working with the Everest Group.
Amar: Absolutely, and it shouldn’t be a big surprise we speak to enterprises or buyers of technologies and global business process and IT services and collect information from them. We collect information from shared services organizations, providers of business process or IT services, and providers of enterprise technologies that enable the delivery of global services.
J-M: The thing I’m interested in is what information are you getting from them specifically? It’s not like you’re saying ‘hey, tell me about the stuff you’d find in your annual report’. You’re asking them for very specific information, and let’s take the example of one of your premier products, the Peak Matrix. What data do you gather from these specific companies that allows you to rank them in certain parts of that matrix, so when companies are providing that information to you, they know what’s actually contributing to their overall score or placement or ranking those sorts of things.
Amar: Yeah, absolutely. I think you have taken a really good example of Peak Matrix research because you know the Peak Matrix that we produce is the most popular research on the market. It gets a lot of traction across different channels where we share the Peak Matrix graphic. So let me try and explain the research cycle and answer some of the questions that you have through the lifecycle of a Peak Matrix report. So we typically do a refresh of Peak Matrix research every year. For example, if I talk about our RPA RFI or our process mining RFI, we ask about hundreds of features / functionalities and pieces of information as part of our RFI exercises. So that’s one part, and then we also speak to multiple client references from each of the providers that we are assessing to get market feedback. And all these interactions are done very independently
Roland: That sounds like a lot of effort. You know, in my mind, I have dozens of people now working on it for the full year just to sift through this. How does it look in reality? How many people are basically working on a Peak Matrix report and how long does it take from soup to nuts, from the first contact to inviting a vendor to participate until you actually put out the final product. Does it really take a year?
Amar: So it doesn’t take a year. Annual refresh is what we do. From the start of the Peak research process, which means, you know, sending invitations or heads up emails to the potential list of providers that we intend to include in our research, and to publishing the report out, it’s typically a five month process. It could vary depending upon the specific area, or the complexity involved in that specific area, but from start to end it’s typically a five month research process.
J-M: I have a question for you. I know it’s not related to what we talked about before, but this is an interesting addendum to it. You mentioned you’re finding companies that are playing in that space. Maybe some of our listeners come from organizations that are not currently on the Peak Matrix, but believe they should be. How do those organizations interact with you in order to start the conversation about being invited into these places, and what should they, in the background, prepare to be able to best answer what you’ve got going on? The ways in which they’ll be assessed.
Amar: It’s really important to get on the analyst’s radar.
J-M: Yeah, how do you do that?
Amar: It’s really important for providers to be proactive irrespective of their size. Whether they are, you know, just a six-month-old startup or a 6-year-old or a 10-year-old established provider in the market. Irrespective of their size, irrespective of location, I think they should try to proactively reach out to analysts if they’re not already engaging with the right analysts. And if they’re not only already on their radar, I think it’s important for those providers to kind of reach out to the analyst because that’s what will kind of help ensure that they’re at least on the analyst’s radar. And depending upon the different types of research that the analysts produce, maybe they are not eligible because of the cutoff criteria but if they’re on analysts’ radar, maybe there is other research elsewhere that they are eligible to participate in. And in that case, just being on the radar, being connected with the analysts, will help them ensure that they don’t get missed out on a lot of these important industry-defining research that the analysts are producing. So analysts will come to you if you turn up in the analyst markets scan. But again, there are hundreds of providers, and analysts can’t include all of them in their research. So it’s important for the providers to also ensure that they are doing their bit to be connected with the analysts and kind of provide regular updates to them.
Roland: So J-M, lesson learned for me is when Amar puts together the next Peak Matrix for Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture podcasts, we need to be on his radar so that we’re going to be included in that list.
J-M: We need to be proactive about that, and I think that’s a good lesson in general for folks to be proactive. That’s also a good lesson ‘in reverse’ to say: if a company doesn’t show up on a Peak Matrix, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist or provide excellent services. It could be that the profile of that company’s services doesn’t fit with the research topic in question. That’s really cool.
Roland: But I’d like to go back because I think we didn’t answer the full question before. So Amar, I get it – you have five months for the report. You have obviously multiple people doing this and there’s quite an effort to be done to collect the information that you get from participants. But what do you do then? What’s the magic that you do to bring these things together into a derivable, and once you have it, how do you release that information? So talk a little bit about your collection editing process and these types of things because I can imagine you hear a lot of things and when you do your fact-checking, you’re surprised that not everything is as rosy as you were told.
Amar: Absolutely, and a lot of the time of the analyst is kind of spent in ensuring that the data that has been provided kind of meets reality, right? And the analyst’s job is not just to collect the data and put it out in the market with some visual graphics and things like that. Analysts are expected to provide their own point of view, their own perspective based on their view of the world, and that’s one of the key aspects which goes beyond just a data dump. So if someone wants data, there is a whole lot of data / data-related-IP that we have. But one of the key values that we bring to our clients is that analyst perspective and those analyst views and those qualitative insights that we provide. Because a lot of times when you kind of look at a high level, 3-4 providers may look very similar to each other in terms of capabilities, in terms of everything else. But there are a lot of different types of nuances when you speak to the analysts who have really researched and put a lot of time and looking at these providers in a lot of detail, talking to their clients, talking to their key leaders, looking at the product demonstrations and things like that .They will be able to kind of provide you with specific nuances. And we try to capture a lot of those nuances and the reports that we produce when we talk about areas of improvement; when we talk about the strengths that we see about those capabilities and those products and those services. But at the same time, it’s also important to connect with the analyst to get additional nuances beyond what we are writing in our reports or what we are producing in our reports. And to answer your question, it’s a lot of work that goes into ensuring that the data that we have collected meets reality and adding our own perspectives. And all of that is fed into our proprietary analysis frameworks, and that framework is something that we review and refine every year.
J-M: Wow. This is fascinating, and I think you said something earlier that really ties a lot of this together is the idea of qualitative assessments. I’m an engineer, so quantitative assessments are king to me. I love the idea of being able to put numbers to things. But having the lived experience of watching a demonstration, of talking to a client, of being able to contextualize the data is so important. We talk about that in the podcast, that “data may be king, but context is its crown” and what you’re providing, both in the services that you have as a part of the membership – your perpetual continuity of market assessments, and with the specialized consulting and problem-solving services. All of those speak to tell the story of the market. The story of the technology. And that isn’t just a quantitative assessment. That’s a lived experience. That’s a qualitative understanding of how things shake out in the details and the nuances.
You used the word ‘nuance’ – I love that. And I think that’s something that we can take back to our listeners here because the nuance of solving problems is the secret sauce. That’s where you get ahead. So I want to put this question to our audience right now. What big challenges are you and your organization looking to solve with that nuance, with that lived approach, and what information do you need to solve that problem to bring a solution to life? And do you have that information? Do you have that assessment in-house? If not, based on what you heard today, how do you think that you can engage with analysts, using both the perpetual services and specialized analysis to get the insight and perspective you need to make the right decision for your business. We’ll leave you for a moment and we’ll come back with our final thoughts and conclusions for today’s episode.
Musical Interlude: “Industrial Beat”, Jeremy Voltz
Roland: Welcome back, and I think, Amar, we have one big question that we have left to answer. You put all that effort into creating your research, into producing the deliverable report that will be seen by hopefully millions of people out there. But we haven’t spoken about the publishing. So what do you actually do there so that people know that you just spent that effort and that time and that energy in creating that report. Can you shed some light on this very important topic of the process?
Amar: Absolutely, Roland. I think the publishing process is one of the key parts of the research process that we follow, and after all the hard work that we kind of put into our research, once the draft of the report is created, we set it into our publishing stream for formal editorial review, visual enhancements, and publication. About 3 to 4 days before publishing the Peak Matrix report (I know, again I’m talking about the Peak Matrix report, and this is something which is specific to this type of report that we do) we do a pre-release with all the participating providers where we share the final Peak Matrix positions with them to give them a heads up for any press release or promotional activities that they would want to do once the report is out. This is meant to serve as a heads up for them to prepare for their promotional activities or, you know, press releases versus something where they are kind of seeking their input or validation before we publish the Peak Matrix out. The information is embargoed until we publish the Peak Matrix through our official channels. The report is then posted on our website and reports portal and the full report is put behind a paid firewall. And there are also complementary abstracts and executive summaries that are available for free consumption.
J-M: Wow! So you’re really giving a view of that to everybody. But the details / the nuance we’ve talked about, the special sauce that makes it really valuable – that’s when you have to pay for it, because there’s a lot of people behind the scenes making this come to life. And speaking about making this come to life, I think that people may be really interested in what you’re doing with Everest (and in general) and would love to have a conversation with you. So how are people able to get in touch with you? How are they able to get in touch with Everest? And more importantly, when should they be getting in touch with you if they’re looking for this kind of information.
Amar: Sure! People can engage with us or get in touch with us anytime they want as we are researching the industry, helping our clients and publishing reports throughout the year so there is no good time or right time to get in touch with us.
J-M: I want to rephrase what you said. “There is no good time to reach out to you.” I’d say, it’s the opposite! Any time is a good time to reach out to you because if you’re trying to solve problems, your problems aren’t gonna wait. Your problems are happening right now and anytime you’re having an issue that you need an expert assessment or an understanding of the market space, that’s a great time to reach out to Amar and to Everest.
And that leads us, our dear listeners, to the end of today’s episode. First and foremost, a huge thank you to Amar – give him a huge amount of applause folks, wherever you are (unless you’re driving. Do not take your hands off those steering wheels.) But most importantly, this gives us a bit of a pullback of the curtain as to how these things are created. I got to tell you for me this was all alchemy coming into it because I read these analyst reports you know I care about them. But how they’re made and what goes into them, I mean, boy that it seems like some dark science but it sounds like there’s both really good qualitative and really good quantitative work and both those combined give you that assessment that makes so much of a difference. And to our audience, thank you once again for listening to this episode. We’ve had a really good time and you know that none of this would be possible without you, our dear listeners, paying so much attention, loving what we do and giving us great feedback.
Which leads me to a request – please leave us a rating and a review in your podcatcher of choice or reach out to us via voice message on Anchor or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love hearing from folks all across the industry who are loving what we’re doing and want to know more. That’s why we have folks like Amar on to answer some burning questions that come from our community. Please like and share this with all the folks who you have in your community to get them the message of the What’s Your Baseline podcast and get them to come and listen to our back episodes which are available on all your streaming platforms. Or keep in touch with us as we do more and more with the What’s Your Baseline show.
All the things you’ve heard today are going to be available as a full transcript on whatsyourbaseline.com/episode19 so you can go back and see exactly what we said. And you can, of course, get lots of great companion articles and even more different series like the What’s Your Baseline Shorts at whatsyourbaseline.com. Well, it’s been a wonderful time so far my friends, and will see you in the next show. Until then, I’m J-M Erlendson.
Amar: I’m Amardeep Modi
Roland: I’m Roland Woldt
J-M: And we’ll see you in the next one.
Roland Woldt is a well-rounded executive with 25+ years of Business Transformation consulting and software development/system implementation experience, in addition to leadership positions within the German Armed Forces (11 years).
He has worked as Team Lead, Engagement/Program Manager, and Enterprise/Solution Architect for many projects. Within these projects, he was responsible for the full project life cycle, from shaping a solution and selling it, to setting up a methodological approach through design, implementation, and testing, up to the rollout of solutions.
In addition to this, Roland has managed consulting offerings during their lifecycle from the definition, delivery to update, and had revenue responsibility for them.
Roland is the VP of Global Consulting at iGrafx, and has worked as the Head of Software AG’s Global Process Mining CoE, as Director in KPMG’s Advisory, and had other leadership positions at Software AG/IDS Scheer and Accenture. Before that, he served as an active-duty and reserve officer in the German Armed Forces.