I will postpone the name of my 2012 winner for a bit. I first want to thank the great AR professionals with whom I have the pleasure of working! For those outside the technology vendor world, analyst relations is a function vendors use as the liaison between their people and analysts like me. We influence the market and therefore they know they need us to understand their offerings so we can accurately advise our clients.

Not all AR people are good, so the great ones always stand out. Some view the analysts merely as extensions of their marketing initiatives and see their job revolving around trying to “brainwash” the analysts. This is a narrow-minded view of the relationship that never works with self-respecting, intelligent analysts. Take note, vendors: we analysts hate that approach!

Great AR professionals engage us in a more intimate two-way dialog. We need more than just the occasional briefing. We need access to executives and developers. We need to know the roadmap and where executives see the company going. My favorite part of the relationship is to be integral to strategic directions, participating in the development rather than just being informed after the fact. The great ones make this process seamless and enjoyable. We all like to pick on vendors, but we need to engage them as partners. The reason we like to pick on them is because poor AR and other stereotypical behaviors fuel distrust and sometimes downright hostility. Bad vendors give the good ones a bad rap.

I am fortunate to work with some fantastic AR professionals! They make my life easier and I appreciate that! They all share some important attributes:

  • They are genuinely warm people. They may be aggressive inside their organizations and possibly even disliked for their ambitious approach, but to us, they clearly want to help us. That benefits their employers more than most people know.
  • They seek to understand our research agendas and our passions. They must know the analysts beyond the surface of our published works. Like any good professionals, analysts are driven by passion that determines our true philosophy of business and technology, and frankly across many aspects of life. Great AR pros understand us at this visceral level.
  • They engage us in that two-way dialog. They ensure that the strategic decision makers in their companies involve us where appropriate. In fact, these same decision-makers know they can count on us because their AR people foster the ongoing collaboration between the parties.
  • They are quick to get us information and the access to executives and developers when we need it. Our lives are chaotic, so our timelines are all too often tight (sorry everyone!). They get us what we need, when we need it.
  • They build a real understanding of their companies’ offerings and mission, and the market as a whole. They’re not just brainless dispatchers. When we talk to them, they can speak to us as peers. In fact, we learn as much from them as they learn from us! That intellectual partnership is a real treat!

I’ve made a tradition out of my annual Analyst Relations Professional of the Year award at the end of each calendar year. There is no gleaming trophy or even a certificate, but I suppose I should do something like that. It is not a Forrester award or endorsed by a professional group like IIAR; it is MY award. It is merely my personal “Thank you!” to the people who exemplify greatness in the AR role. While there can only be one winner, my little award is an ode to all great AR profesisonals!

This is the fourth year of the Glenn Award (the Glenny?). The criteria are admittedly unscientific. Among the many great AR professionals I encounter through the year though, some truly stand out as exemplary. They epitomize the qualities I outlined above and the choices are made among a small group of finalists. The past winners of the “Glenny” are:

  • 2009: Liz King of CA
  • 2010: Liz King of CA
  • 2011: Linda Sanders of HP

Without further ado, the 2012 Glenny Award goes to (drum roll …):

  • 2012: Liz King of CA Technologies

Yes, there is a pattern forming here. If you are an Analyst Relations professional, emulate Liz King! She continually exhibits the qualities of AR greatness and those of us who work with her are thrilled to be so fortunate! The only reason she didn't win last year was due to a herculean effort by Linda Sanders! Both are among the best of the best! I hate that there can only be one winner, but I do want to recognize superstars for who they are!

Congratulations, Liz! Maybe someday there will be a nice Lucite trophy for you, but trust me, it won’t be a sculpture of me!

Thank you to all the great Analyst Relations people for a great 2012! I look forward to another fabulous year in 2013! Happy Holidays to all!