Industry Analyst

An industry analyst performs primary and secondary market research within an industry such as information technology, consulting or insurance. Analysts assess sector trends, create segment taxonomies, size markets, prepare forecasts, and develop industry models. Industry analysts usually work for research and advisory services firms, and some analysts also perform advisory (consulting) services. Typically, analysts specialize in a single segment or sub-segment, researching the broad development of the market rather than focusing on specific publicly traded companies, equities, investments, or associated financial opportunities as a financial analyst might.

That is not to say that industry analysts do not focus on specific market participants and their product and service portfolios, or that financial analysts ignore industries. Gideon Gartner, one of the industry analyst business pioneers, was a former financial analyst before launching the Gartner Group in 1979. But industry analysts do research in the context of a specific sector or market segment, along with the competitive offerings of the other public and non-public companies that comprise the market. In many industries there is significant overlap between the work product of industry analysts and financial analysts. The information technology and consulting industries, however, are examples of industries where a significant proportion of important market participants are not publicly traded entities with readily available information and highly regulated disclosure requirements.

Most analyst firms focus on one or more market segments, such as cloud computing, wireless communications, audit services, or pharmaceutical industry safety monitoring. Analyst firms and the analysts that work for them are continuously expanding and shifting their coverage areas to keep pace with trends like technological convergence or media convergence, for example. This is because demand for industry analyst research services is closely associated with the frequency of change in an industry. So the largest analyst firms tend to have extremely dynamic offerings, and the concentration of service offerings of all market players tends to focus on industry areas that are currently undergoing change.

There are three industry analyst firms that have been in continuous operation since 1970 or earlier. Computer Review is the oldest analyst firm that has been in continuous operation since its inception in 1959, as Adams Associates. International Data Corp. has been providing industry analyst and publishing services since 1964, and continues to be operated as a private company by its founder, Patrick Joseph McGovern. The last of the three, the Yankee Group, was founded by Howard Anderson in 1970. Anderson ran the firm until 1999.

Many industry analyst firms and analysts trace their roots to one of these three firms, particularly IDC, Gartner and the Yankee Group. George Colony, for example, was an analyst at the Yankee Group before founding Forrester Research. Dale Kutnick was also a Yankee Group analyst and equity holder before joining Gartner and later founding the Meta Group, which was subsequently purchased by Gartner. Jim Lundy and Mike Anderson were analysts at Gartner before they founded Aragon Research.

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Industry Analyst - Integrity and Transparency Issues
... Analyst objectivity and accuracy is an issue that is frequently debated ... Much of the criticism appears to focus on the business relationships between analysts and the technology providers that are the subjects of their research ... In short, analyst firms often rely heavily on revenues from the technology providers they cover (e.g ...

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