Use Predictions Reports to Fuel Strategic Planning and Insights-Driven AR

by Nathan Herman

January 30, 2023

Use Predictions Reports to Fuel Strategic Planning and Insights-Driven AR

Predictions reports represent treasure troves of information that are all too underutilized by AR professionals. These reports offer a one-of-a-kind window into …

  • What industry analysts see as the disruptive forces looming on the horizon
  • The critical concerns analysts hear from – and promote to – their end-user clients
  • The themes that will influence, if not shape, analysts’ research agendas over the next twelve months (or more). 

What Are Predictions Reports?

Gartner, IDC, and Forrester release predictions reports annually, typically between November and January, that look ahead to the months and years to come within numerous research categories. In them, analysts make bold statements about trends and issues they believe will influence or even alter the markets and technology categories they follow.

It’s important to note that these aren’t everyday predictions like, “customer experience will be a strategic initiative.” Analysts carefully craft these predictions based on the synthesis of their research and data, their collaboration with peers, and their deep knowledge and wide perspective gained from ongoing interactions with end-users. It’s a combination of knowledge, wisdom, perspective, and foresight that is second to none among experts.

While analysts’ predictions don’t always come true, there is something to be learned from each one. And many analysts follow up on their hits and misses from previous years. Even a missed prediction still leaves much to be learned in terms of why it went in a different direction from what was anticipated. 

How Can Predictions Reports Be Used?

While it’s not uncommon for analyst research to be time-bound, it’s even more true for predictions reports. Because of when they are released and the nature of the content, they’re most useful for AR professionals as they begin thinking about and planning for the new year (Spotlight Blog: How To Build Your Annual AR Plan). After all, a lot can happen in 12 months. 

Here are several ways that predictions reports can be leveraged for your analyst relations program. 

  1. Gain insight into what analysts will be thinking about over the coming year. Not only are they identifying the market disruptors that they see coming, but they’re also identifying the themes that they’ll be promoting to their end-user clients as they try to motivate them to do things differently.
  2. Understand market trends going into the new year and analyst POVs relating to those trends before ever interacting with them. 
  3. Plan relevant, timely, interactions with analysts that show you care about what they’re seeing (Spotlight Blog: It’s Time To Upgrade Your Inquiry Approach). If you disagree with a prediction, schedule an inquiry to discuss. Analysts appreciate such discussions.
  4. Share your perspective on the same trends to help influence how analysts perceive the direction of the market.
  5. Check to see if your organization’s vision aligns with what analysts are seeing in the market. If it doesn’t, use this as an opportunity to revisit and realign your goals and objectives with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that you are best prepared for your upcoming analyst engagements.
  6. Uncover market shifts that might influence future evaluative research. 

Comparing Predictions Reports from the Big Three Analyst Firms

Gartner PredictsForrester PredictionsIDC FutureScapes
How many are published?~50~30~70
When are they published?Late November through mid-JanuaryLate October through early NovemberLate October through early December
Is there a landing page for the firm’s predictions?NoYesYes
Are there companion webinars?YesYesYes
Are reports and webinars accessible via the landing page?NoWebinars and Blogs OnlyWebinars Only
Length?~3-5 predictions~10-20 pages5 Predictions~5 Pages10 Predictions~20 Pages
Differentiators:Each prediction made within a report is tied to a specific year
Each prediction gives key findings, market implications, and recommendations
Publishes numerous “Predicts” reports, plus its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends
Gartner tells you if they hit or missed predictions for the previous year
Extensive citation of evidence
Short and easy to read
All predictions are rooted in one overarching prediction for each market
Links to external resources, articles, and evidence
Succinct takeaways that can be easily discussed with stakeholders
Revisits prior predictions via blog posts
Each FutureScape is rooted in external drivers that are causing each prediction
Each prediction includes analysis, IT impact, and guidance
Very detailed
Each FutureScape ends with overarching advice for the technology buyer based on the predictions just discussed
Typically publishes its predictions first among the big three analyst firms

Make Predictions Reports an Annual Habit

No matter how much you’re currently using predictions research in your yearly strategic planning, there’s room to do more. After all, how often do you get an analyst telling you exactly what trends, themes, and topics they are going to care about in the next 12 months and beyond? 
Analyst relations done well is an ongoing, two-way dialogue with analysts about their work and market trends (Spotlight Blog: AR Beyond Evaluative Research: Why Organizations Should Look Beyond The Quadrant). Let this be the first building block for those conversations each year.

Interested in additional blogs webinars and guides that share AR best practices? Head on over to The Spotlight Way to get access to our latest resources today.