Research firm Omdia, part of Informa Tech, continues to grow in size and scope: now with 450+ analysts (following Informa Tech’s acquisition of Canalys earlier this year), covering 45 industry segments and 3,000+ topics. Given its vast reach and far-reaching analyst expertise, it’s likely that Omdia is relevant to many AR programs.

So, for our last webinar of 2023, we were thrilled to have Bill Morelli, chief research officer at Omdia, as our featured speaker. In his role, Bill leads Omdia’s research strategy and its Research Council, and also manages Omdia’s IT and data center research portfolio. In addition, he’s at the helm of the integration team that’s tasked with bringing Canalys into Omdia and the larger Informa Tech organization.

Our recent webinar was a live interview with Bill, facilitated by ARInsights friend Carter Lusher, AR director at e2open. During the conversation, Bill discussed Omdia’s research and methodology, the Canalys acquisition, best practices for working with Omdia analysts and much more.

If you missed this must-watch AR content — or if you just want a refresher — we’ve got the video below. We’ve called out some highlights below that as well. 

The video above discusses:

  • Omdia’s origins — Omdia launched in February 2020, following Informa Tech’s acquisition of IHS Markit’s technology portfolio and bringing together other Informa Tech brands, including Ovum, Heavy Reading and Tractica.

  • Connecting the dots — This is Omdia’s tagline. According to Bill: “We do have a very broad research portfolio. What we strive to do — in addition to providing really deep insights on the specific market segments that we cover — is also to help connect the dots around the different areas of the business, as technology is increasingly intersecting.”

  • Omdia’s customers — Omdia primarily works with technology vendors and solution providers. Bill explains: “We really help them assess the market opportunities, look at their position in the market versus their competitors, look at technology roadmaps, how that aligns with their product portfolio… We then help them plan to advance those strategies.”

  • Types of research — According to Bill: “We have a strong focus on quantitative data, market sizing, forecasting, technology roadmaps — that’s the foundation of everything we do. We obviously do a lot of client advisory and custom research on top of that. We work closely with our media brands and event brands, and we are able to tap into a lot of those audiences in terms of using end-user surveys that help inform the overall research. … We have a broad syndicated research portfolio; we primarily sell annual subscription services. … We do publish an annual research schedule.”

  • Partnership with TrustRadius — Bill says: “We’re working with TrustRadius to really get an independent view of end users. For some of the markets or products where we’re doing a Universe, [if] TrustRadius may not have a critical mass of reviews, we’ll still go back to the vendor and work with them to get a client list and independently interview those folks.”

  • What Canalys brings to Omdia — Bill notes: “Omdia, pre-Canalys, did not have a robust set of analysis around channel. We do research at the device level, we do research at the services level, and we do a tremendous amount of work around market sizing, forecasting, vendor positions, etc. But we really didn’t have anything that really spoke to channel and what was going on in the channel segment, what successful channel strategies look like, how the channel was evolving as the technology and pace of new technology innovation was happening. And so being able to bring in a well-established firm that already had deep expertise in channel — and channel was really their DNA — was an opportunity for us to bring in something that largely was net-new to the Omdia portfolio. It was very much a strategic fit for us. It was not duplicate to anything we were doing.”

  • Integrating the businesses — Canalys has been in the midst of its Forum events in Barcelona, Bangkok and Palm Springs, Florida. “We wanted to let them get through that: three global events in three months, all of which were very successful,” Bill says. “What we’re looking at now is moving into the planning stage around where we will bring the Canalys teams in with the wider Omdia organization. There won’t be any changes really happening until Q2 of next year. Canalys is operating on a UK fiscal year, so their end of fiscal year is end of March. They’re going to be largely operating as-is through then. And then we’ll have a considered plan for how we start to integrate them into the teams. It won’t be overnight… we’re doing this in a measured way. We have some experience with integrations and how to land them well within the organization…. So, what we’ve been doing is really deep discovery. We’ve had the teams interacting with each other, sharing the research so we can better understand what they do and how they do it. They can better understand what we do and how we do it.”

  • What about the Canalys brand name? Eventually, expect the Canalys brand name, particularly as it relates to research, to be retired. “That’s not going to be an overnight change,” Bill says. “They have built a lot of brand equity in that over the last 25 years, and we absolutely recognize and respect that. And certainly Canalys Forums — as an event brand, really specializing in that channel, VIP kind of segment of the market — likely may continue for some time, even after Canalys as a research brand is really tightly integrated with Omdia.”

  • Automation and generative AI at Omdia — In addition to covering generative AI in its research (“Something seems to be happening in every part of our portfolio,” says Bill), Omdia is also looking at ways to apply it to its business. He says: “So, if you look at something like ESG, for example, a lot of our sustainability coverage… we’re using a combination of automation, data scraping and now some generative AI tools to go through and look at company statements, company reporting, presentations by vendors in the segment — and getting an understanding of how that sentiment around ESG and ESG initiatives is shifting over time. …But what I’ve really liked about being part of Informa Group — not just Informa Tech — is being able to tap into the larger resources. So Informa Group has a significant effort and initiative going on around generative AI specifically, how that can be used as a tool across our research media and events businesses as a whole. Omdia is in the queue for a number of different pilots that we’re working on now. … Clients will be seeing them first half of next year, as they play out. And we are very much looking at: How do we help clients navigate the portfolio? How do we use this technology to really fulfill and continue to exceed expectations around that ‘connecting-the-dots’ mission? And there are pieces of that that generative AI is really well-suited to.”

  • Is Omdia relevant to your business? With so many areas of expertise, Omdia likely covers and advises on what your business does. Looking for more info on Omdia and its analysts? Omdia analysts are included in the ARchitect database, and analyst bios are also available in Omdia’s analyst directory. Plus, by registering on Omdia’s site, you can access complimentary research. And even if you’re not sure which analysts to connect with, you can request a briefing via Omdia’s “Contact Us” page, and they’ll put you in touch with the right experts. Another option: “You can also feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn,” Bill notes.

While we’ve pulled out some great quotes from the interview, we recommend listening in full for many more insights — including how Omdia and Canalys are building a shared culture, and a lot more.

Many thanks to Bill and Carter for the excellent conversation and insights! And we look forward to keeping our readers posted on exciting webinars like this one in 2024.