The traditional research market — a $14-billion-a-year business — is a mature one, full of entrenched incumbents with established businesses catering to thousands of large corporations. So, when we were putting together the plan for GigaOM Pro, we knew we didn’t want to simply recreate the wheel. What the industry didn’t need was another me-too research company.
Still, we felt that the model of traditional advisory hadn’t caught up the reality of the market today, where low-cost, scalable publishing platforms had allowed hundreds of well-recognized analysts and influencers to leave the big research firms — Gartner Group, Forrester and others — to set up boutique advisories providing research and advisory services to clients across the business world. What these entrepreneurial folks realized is that the economic spoils are largely one-sided in favor of the large research firms — despite the fact that they, the analysts, hold the primary asset of any research and advisory firm: knowledge and insights into markets.
We also knew that we had something that even the largest advisory firms did not: a community of millions of readers who are influential in their own right, who interact on a daily basis with our team, providing real-time feedback and discussion on the markets we cover, daily. Our editorial coverage has benefited hugely from the shared wisdom and experience of our readers. If we could marry this vibrant community with the growing number of great, independent analysts through a cutting-edge platform for distribution and interaction, we believed we would create something truly new and innovative in the market research business. And that’s how GigaOM Pro was born.
A little over a year after our launch, we’re pleased to report that our idea seems to have hit the spot; the many thousands of GigaOM Pro subscribers and our numerous enterprise clients are a testament to these early concepts. Even outside our community, we’re making waves, too.
In a recent pair of posts co-authored with influential analyst-watcher Barbara French of Tekrati, Gideon Gartner, the founder of Gartner Group, highlighted GigaOM Pro as an innovator in the research business. Gartner and French pondered whether new entrants could disrupt the research business:
…is it possible for small/new firms to shake up the Advisory industry? We think so. We’re not ready to concede the future of the advisory market to the current Gartner and Forrester business models. The question is, how?
They answered that question by identifying two attributes that are required to disrupt the research business:
In our view, firms wishing to disrupt the Gartner and Forrester models must have two particular attributes. First, they need a significant differentiator. It can be in specialization, the business model, service delivery or other areas. Equally importantly, they must be able to scale. That means substantial funding, an effective sales operation, well-honed M&A skills, or a combination of all three.
We agree. From the beginning, we understood the need to differentiate ourselves through an innovative business model that tapped into the power of great independents, while also leveraging our large and knowledgeable community. We also planned the business for scale from Day One, with our fast-growing virtual analyst network, an affordable retail price tag, and a robust enterprise sales operation, not to mention the growing reach of the GigaOM blogs.
Gartner and French talk about these elements in their summary of GigaOM Pro:
“Disruptors can emerge from outside the Advisory industry. Om Malik is incubating this research startup within his media network. This means ongoing exposure to 5 million unique visitors each month — far outpacing any Advisory today. It achieves low-cost/high-quality by using a network of on-demand subject matter experts (38 currently, all in emerging tech) and enforcing quality standards, from vetting experts to producing research. The experts negotiate and retain all Advisory fees resulting from participation in GigaOM Pro.”
We’re proud to be mentioned as innovators by such esteemed industry watchers, and we wanted to share this exciting news with our community. After all, you — our subscribers, analysts and analyst relations professionals — are at the core of our plan to innovate a new model in the research business and we want to thank you for supporting our drive to make research more accessible and affordable. We also invite you to continue on with us by reading, commenting, and participating in our research community for years to come.