A couple weeks ago, I, along with a couple other analysts, had a briefing with one of the DBMS companies Gartner covers. Its format was one I’ve come to expect from many vendors and very recognizable because it’s also the one I gave analysts when I did briefing updates for my previous DBMS companies before joining Gartner.
They jetted through their company health by giving us one contextless slide of 3-4 financial stats, followed by the usual and customary here-are-some-customer-logos-by-industry graphic. From there, it was all about their just-released and upcoming tech.
A bit frustrated over not getting any updates for what I cover for DBMS at Gartner, I attempted to ask a relevant question or two about their business, but quickly got stiff-armed by their CMO. I was promised a follow-up with some answers, which never came.
And believe me, to some extent, I get it.
I used to do a ‘no comment’ too when asked about biz-oriented facts during a briefing, and truth be told, I used to feel a bit smug in doing so. Somewhat like, “sorry, you’re not in the Focker Circle of Trust”.
Kidding aside, there are very real reasons – legal and otherwise – why some businesses (especially private ones) can’t disclose certain sets of business information. And again, I get it.
But that said, I would recommend that when you’re briefing analysts, regardless of whether it’s Gartner or another firm, you still should try and do whatever is possible to relay the strongest “macro” story you can. Let me explain why.
We Care About Your Tech, but Only Secondarily
I’m a decades-long tech enthusiast in multiple ways and enjoy seeing new product features and capabilities in action as does every other tech-oriented analyst. It’s even more fun if we get time to kick the tires ourselves.
As much as we like new-shiny’s, we like them only from a secondary perspective. It’s your business facts that always come first in our minds, whether we’re crafting new research or speaking with clients who are inquiring about your solutions.
Let me give you an example why this is true from my area of research.
It’s common knowledge that cloud has had a magnum-level impact on DBMSs in general and is the rocket fuel behind the impressive DBMS market growth numbers Gartner has reported for the past several years (22% in 2021 alone).
The effect is so pronounced that we predict nearly 75% of DBMS spend will be in the cloud by 2026. And that’s up from cloud having just 7% of DBMS spend in 2016.
Naturally, the hyperscalers are capitalizing on this in a huge way, to the point where a number of us here at Gartner believe that, in less than a decade, many DBMS ISVs will be overwhelmingly challenged by the cloud giants from a survivability or market contribution standpoint.
Here’s my point: Given this strategic assumption on our part, no matter what new product features you dangle in front of us, while we may think they are technically impressive, it won’t change our opinion of the macro trend we see and how you fit into it.
You first provide us with relevant and noteworthy business intel (e.g., real customer growth data with history) that demonstrates how you will buck the macro trend we see taking shape. A number of DBMS vendors we cover (yes, even private ones) do this extraordinarily well and – here’s a shocker – they are front and center in our minds when clients ask us who they should trust for their current and future data solutions.
This is why your macro story matters and why, if you’re currently just supplying flashcard-style, contextless and random corporate health numbers in your briefings, you should rethink your approach.
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