Hosting an upcoming “analyst day” or other big event? In-person events are increasingly common, as many companies seek more face-to-face time with the key industry analysts in their space.
At Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the analyst relations (AR) team is well-versed in drawing analysts to events — and providing engaging and valuable experiences on-site. The company’s HPE Discover edge-to-edge cloud conference, held this past June in Las Vegas, was a resounding success, with HPE hosting 150 one-on-one analyst meetings (compared to 99 in 2022) and netting rave feedback. There were hundreds of additional analyst “touch points” (including sessions and “fireside chats” attendance, technology demos, media interviews, etc.) at the event!
With all this activity, staying organized and keeping all the details straight — while ensuring staffing for meetings and ensuring no schedules overlapped — were important priorities. At this year’s ARchitect User Forum — to be held virtually Nov. 1-2, 2023 — HPE’s Jeanna Blatt, worldwide leader for industry analysts and strategic third-party relations, will share how the company accomplished it all. We were thrilled to catch up with Jeanna recently: learning more about HPE Discover, her AR team’s priorities and successes, and Jeanna’s upcoming User Forum presentation. Read on to learn all about it:
Q: What is your role as it pertains to AR?
I lead an AR team of nine at HPE. We have our hands in all aspects of analyst relations for HPE’s solutions and services while owning many elements of event strategy and experiences.
My role — and our team’s activities — are much broader than “classic AR” from a decade or two ago. In AR today, non-analyst influencers are part of the mix. You have to understand peer reviews and social media, you have to be engaged in demand generation, and so on. It’s not strictly about analyst engagement — who to brief, about what and why — there are all these other elements, too. It’s a 360-degree view of AR, and we’re a part of all of it.
Q: What is the mission of HPE’s AR team?
Our overall mission is to gain industry analyst insights, ensure HPE products are fairly represented in the market and get buyer recommendations from analysts.
This year, in particular, one crucial AR objective for us was to get back to doing more frequent in-person interactions with analysts — connecting with them beyond just on screens to deepen our relationships and make them “stickier.” After all, analyst relations is a very human-focused business. In a disruptive category such as ours — hybrid cloud — it’s important to make and solidify these connections. So, we budgeted more for travel this year so our team could attend more events, listen and learn at analyst sessions, and connect with analysts live. At our major event — HPE Discover this past June in Las Vegas — we doubled our analyst invitation list and significantly increased the one-on-ones.
Q: What AR challenges does your organization face?
One challenge our team faces is the need to have visibility into other AR team members’ efforts and outreach. Even though we’re all responsible for different areas, there’s often analyst overlap. In many cases, it’s a team sport, and we all need to have visibility into analyst interactions across the business and the latest feedback we’ve received from each analyst — so our efforts are coordinated.
We faced another challenge this year as we ramped up our in-person analyst interactions — particularly at HPE Discover. We knew we wanted to get more face-time with analysts and sought ways to scale our efforts effectively.
Q: How do you use people, process and technology to solve these challenges?
We use ARchitect software from ARInsights to log analyst feedback and interactions. This solves the visibility challenge I mentioned earlier and enables everyone to collaborate effectively — seeing what each person is working on and getting a consolidated view of our history with different analysts. ARchitect’s vast database of analysts and other influencers also helps us keep up with an ever-evolving analyst ecosystem.
As for the challenge of expanding our audience, we focused on creating a rich experience for the analysts while balancing the needs of our business and strategy to grow our analyst audience at HPE Discover. We relied on ARchitect’s Event Manager module to help us plan, schedule and organize meetings in a way that saves time and avoids scheduling conflicts. We also tapped the talented ARInsights ServicePlus team for operational support. Their ARchitect and AR experts helped us plan and execute a highly successful event: setting up the event in Event Manager, managing data entry and working closely with our team on the agenda and meeting schedules. The ServicePlus team also used Event Manager to create personalized agendas for each analyst and executive attending — ensuring everyone got where they needed to be.
Q: What will people learn from your User Forum presentation?
My presentation is called “Elevating Analyst Events with Event Manager.” I will focus on our experience this year at HPE Discover and how Event Manager helped us streamline planning and scheduling.
Events are always changing up until the last minute, so relying on both ServicePlus experts and the Event Manager solution enabled us to increase analyst interactions while reducing our own stress levels!
And we had great results. Fifty analysts attended the event, and we hosted 150 one-on-ones (a 52% increase over the previous year). We surveyed analysts afterwards on their experience, and the event got very high ratings.
Q: How do you think the scope of AR has expanded and/or evolved in recent years?
The role has expanded both externally and internally. One example on the external side is that event management and event experiences are now often part of the AR role. Some companies may have an events team, but in many cases, analyst events are on AR’s shoulders, which can be both daunting and rewarding.
And in terms of internal expansion — I’m often accountable to lots of different senior executives across business areas: answering questions, and providing competitive and market intelligence. So, the strategy role of AR seems to be increasing even more. And as more analyst firms shift to “as-a-service” research, this has shifted their methodologies and taxonomies and led to more senior, internal discussions around: “What does this mean for us?”
Q: What are you most looking forward to at User Forum?
I love engaging with AR pros! The environment we create as a functional profession is beautiful. We share, we’re friends, and there’s cooperation. In AR, you’ll get calls from peers at other organizations, where you can ask each other for ideas; this is unique to our field. ARInsights and User Forum are part of that support system around AR pros — contributing to that collaborative, curious vibe and overall ecosystem.
Want to hear more from Jeanna and other AR pros? Join us for ARchitect User Forum, held virtually on Nov. 1-2, 2023 from 9 a.m. — 12 p.m. PT each day. It’s an opportunity to learn new AR strategies, listen to real-world success stories and exchange ideas with other AR practitioners across the globe. We hope you’ll register and join us!