How to Work with an Analyst Firm

by | Oct 24, 2014

imgresAn analyst firm’s purpose is, through its research, to provide guidance on technology adoption. Providing that guidance requires absolute integrity and objectivity, for without such, a firm quickly devolves into just being a shill for the vendor community.

Having been in this business now for nearly 20 years, working both sides of the fence, I’ve seen the best and the worst – and the healthcare sector is certainly no exception. Time and again, we have vendors try and convince us of one thing or another – which we welcome – but what we don’t welcome is vendors that see us as just another PR mouthpiece seeking only positive digital ink from us.

Our goal here at Chilmark Research is to assist organizations in the successful adoption, deployment and use of HIT to improve the care delivery process and ultimately, the patient experience. We accomplish this through our in-depth research that culminates in various reports and direct consultations. We work extremely hard to provide the clearest, most honest picture of where the market is today and where it needs to go in the future.

Do we get it right every time? Of course not, but we do believe our batting average is better than most and when we have erred, we strive to rectify that error as quickly as possible.

Which leads me to a little story…

There were once two companies, Exemplary and OhBoy. An analyst firm released a report that was well received by the market with significant positive feedback. However, as with any report that is over 100 pages in length and took over 6 months to compile, errors may get introduced inadvertently.

Exemplary contacted the analyst firm regarding concerns with the report, outlining those concerns in-depth and requesting a call to discuss. The analyst firm welcomed such a conversation. During that conversation, Exemplary provide many examples to verify their claims, provided customers to speak with regarding technologies adopted, etc. Together, these two were able to provide a far more accurate, objective review of Exemplary for this report, which was modified post-publication based on these conversations.

OhBoy was the antithesis. Rather than seeking dialog, OhBoy demanded that a list of corrections be made or that all information in report referencing OhBoy be stricken from the report. The analyst firm asked for a dialog to discuss OhBoy’s concerns, which was ignored. The analyst firm then asked OhBoy to substantiate their claims, which OhBoy also ignored. Left with no recourse, the analyst firm simply left OhBoy in the report. OhBoy responded by stating that they no longer wished to have any relationship with this analyst firm going forward.

As with Chilmark, this analyst firm has high standards and decided  it would accept the fact that its direct relationship with OhBoy had come to an end rather than to cave-in to the unreasonable demands being made, thereby losing its objectivity and slide down that slippery slope to market oblivion. That is not to say the analyst firm will ignore OhBoy – a big and powerful vendor in the market – but simply it will pursue other avenues to gain information on OhBoy for future research.

Any analyst firm worth its salt serves an extremely important function in the industry, providing clear, unbiased perspectives on a given market. Every industry needs such inputs and objectivity to keep vendors honest and customers informed and aware of their options (reducing the risk inherent in the age-old phrase caveat emptor). Vendor efforts to compromise such integrity does not serve the market. As with a high tide, wise vendors know that working with an analyst firm to deliver accurate information to the market floats all boats, including theirs.


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