By Kathryn When I first started in PR more than 10 years ago, my impression of analyst firms was that they were known mainly for research data, market reports and occasional business leads. It usually came with a hefty price tag too. Nowadays, the relationship can be so much more substantial. With today's fast-paced social media networks and instant communication, there are greater benefits for both analysts and vendors. Analysts can act as an extension of a company's marketing department but more importantly, as industry educators. They create content while also teaching technology vendors and end-users the value of certain technologies and viewpoints. They don't just create long, dry technology reports; they create blogs, podcasts, videos and events. An example of the “new” breed of analyst firm is Wikibon. In fact, Wikibon doesn't call itself an analyst firm. Rather, Wikibon defines itself as a worldwide community of vendors, consultants and technology experts offering free advice, demonstrating its openness and embrace of social media collaboration. Traditionally, analyst groups are described as research and advisory firms that come across as experts, not as collaborative communities. Anyone can read Wikibon's blogs, view its videos or listen to its Peer Incites podcast, an interactive gathering of practitioners sharing insight to solve business technology challenges. Today they are hosting an event that looks at why backup is broken and data protection as a service. The discussion features our client FalconStor's new CEO Jim McNiel, FalconStor partner and cloud service provider, nScaled, and its long-time customer Strand Associates. Wikibon's approach is indicative of how all analysts firms are changing. The outcomes of this Peer Incite event, including blog and podcast content creation, will drive the discussions and market awareness of Wikibon and FalconStor into the coming year. As with other media outlets, analyst firms are evolving due to the changing needs of the audience and the impact of social media.
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