Ovum lays out its strategy to the IIAR

Last week the IIAR was given an insight into the new strategy at Ovum in a one and a half hour Q&A session with four of the company’s top executives.

The in-person event in London saw Ovum’s MD (Brett Azuma), Global Director for IT (Ian Charlesworth), Global Director for Telecoms (Richard Mahony) and Chief Telecoms Analyst (Jan Dawson) all take time out of hectic schedules to personally answer IIAR members’ questions and provide an update on the company’s future direction.

The new Ovum

During the frank and open discussion the four execs outlined their plans for the new Ovum. Although Brett acknowledged mistakes have been made, in particular Ovum should never have dissolved to being just a brand but should have remained an independent company. He has made that change and Ovum is now an independent organisation once again with its own P&L and research agenda. It remains part of the Informa group of course and continues to use some of the information supplied by MarketLine / Datamonitor but that is where the dialogue ends. This does mean that Ovum has some overlap and competes with another Informa business – Informa Telecoms and Media (ITAM) so here there is no sharing of information – but it is otherwise a complementary business line.

The move away from Datamonitor has allowed Ovum to engage in more consulting work and this is gaining momentum on the telecoms side in particular. However, the company was keen to emphasise that it would not over-take its research business and the research was key to supporting a strong and valid consultancy practice. On the IT side, most of the consulting work is around RFI’s and RFP’s, helping vendors understand buying trends and go-to-market strategy.

Global presence

There have been some major changes abroad – Brett openly said significant investment in the US had intentionally been light in order to first secure a better operational efficiency. That has now been done and significant investments are being made with Middle East and Africa plus Asia-Pacific being the main future growth areas. The US currently has 20 telecom research analysts and close to that on the IT side, up from just 10 in 2004 so it is growing albeit at a slower pace. Does that mean they’re going to be acquired? No, but then it doesn’t mean that they’re not either. However, what is clear is that the firm is investing for the future and are themselves looking at some possible acquisition targets.

If you missed this call or would like to take part in the next one, Brett Azuma will be talking to the IIAR USA later this month. Watch this space for further details.

IIAR members will be able read more on this session including ‘Should I buy Ovum or Datamonitor research’ next week. A full transcript of last week’s session can be found here.

Our sincere thanks to Yash Khanna at TCS for kindly hosting this event and to Ovum for their time and energy.

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