By, Bob Wagner, Corporate Industry Analyst Relations, Xerox Corporation

It’s the end of the year and the contract with one of your key IT providers is ending.  Next year’s budget is being slashed (again), yet you’re tasked to deliver vanguard technology and services to your global enterprise with less money than the year before.  Ten RFPs from anxious vendors are strewn across your desk, and the COO’s waiting for your decision.  As the CIO facing another high stakes decision, where do you turn for trusted counsel?  Well, chances are excellent that one of your closest sources of expert information and insights is an industry analyst.

Analysts play a vital role in the infrastructure of the IT industry, helping buyers (and sellers) focus on what they do best: their Real Business.  Industry analysts help CIOs and other IT executives make big-ticket technology and services decisions through research and direct consulting.  The analysts’ job, essentially, is to help mitigate risks for technology and services buyers.  In fact, there are few (if any) high monetary value deals that take place without some intervention from an industry analyst.

There are about 350 IT-focused industry analyst firms around the world.  The largest are Gartner, Forrester and IDC with thousands of analysts collectively.  Analysts conduct market research within particular segments of industries (such as IT) to size markets, track trends, prepare forecasts, rank vendors, develop business models, and more.  Industry analysts have a direct impact on IT investment outcomes.  That’s why they’re considered one of our most important external constituents and why we do everything we can to help them help their clients – who happen to be our clients, too.

As the AR (analyst relations) pros here at Xerox, making industry analysts Xerox advocates is our focus.  We help with their research and always leverage our analysts’ broad and deep industry insights.  We share their vast knowledge, know-how and priceless client connections with our internal business teams.  We also look for every possible way to benefit from their third-party market validation and recognition, such as marquee reports like this: 2011 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed Print Services (MPS) Worldwide.  Finally, through frequent, two-way interactions we try to “shape” their opinions – what the Knowledge Capital Group (KCG) calls “influencing the influencers.”

So, while the analysts help IT buyers stay focused on their real business, here in AR we’ll continue to stay focused on making the analysts our advocates.