Public Relations for the Telecommunications, Wireless and Networking Industries
Interview Q&A Emily Nagle Green, President and CEO, Yankee Group
Welcome to PR Vibes™, created by Calysto Communications to provide you with key insights into the publications and events in the telecommunications industry. Today, we’re featuring a short interview with Emily Nagle Green, president & CEO of Yankee Group, an independent technology research and consulting ﬁrm that offers insight and counsel on the impact of the global connectivity revolution on enterprises and consumers.
To help you better understand Yankee Group’s focus this year and in the future, we asked Emily to share some of her insight on the ﬁrm and on the future of communications and connectivity in general. Enjoy!
PR Vibes Interview Q&A
Tell us a little bit about yourself – where you came from, your experience in telecom and other industries.
Before joining Yankee Group, I was the CEO of Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) and led its sale in 2004 to IHS Energy. Before that, I served for nine years in leadership roles with the IT advisory ﬁrm Forrester Research, helping the company grow from a privately held boutique to a publicly traded market leader. From 2001 to 2003, I was managing director, Forrester Research North America; I also launched and built the company’s European operations from 1998 to 2001.
My tech-sector experience includes a variety of engineering and marketing leadership roles in computer-generated special effects, broadband communications and video services. I also am the president of MITX, New England’s premier trade association for digital technology, marketing and media professionals.
What are your main responsibilities? What do you spend most of your time doing?
I spend about a third of my time meeting with clients and prospects understanding what their issues are and how our mission as researchers and consultants can support them. About one-third of my time is spent supporting our research organization in one fashion or another—helping them translate issues they see in the marketplace into a research mission for us and making sure the research is the best quality. The last third, I deal with other CEO duties, such as overseeing back-ofﬁce functions, meeting with the board and, my least favorite, budgets.
How long have you been at the helm of this organization?
Since November 2005. I took over as CEO when private equity ﬁrm Alta Communications and I purchased the company.
How would you describe Yankee Group’s mission?
We want to be the experts in navigating the global connectivity revolution. We want to deﬁne that revolution ﬁrst and best and do the best possible job in helping our clients deal with changes that this revolution is bringing to them.
What changes have you made at Yankee since you took the helm?
The single biggest change was focusing all of our resources on the evolution of connectivity around the world. What I saw happening when I came aboard were massive changes in where the network is, what it can do, what it costs and who delivers it. Those changes are underway now and will have more impact on businesses and consumers then the Internet revolution did in the ‘90s.
In 2006, we adopted this focus on the global connectivity revolution. Other changes stemmed from this new vision for the company, including new leadership and organizational changes, so we could operate more effectively under that strategy. We also changed the way we package our services, and we updated the technology platforms we use. We added new partners to our network internationally so we can do a better job globally.
We also bought an events business and reshaped our conference activities as a research company. In 2006, Yankee Group Research Inc. acquired Trendsmedia, the producer of WiMAX World, to help accelerate Yankee Group’s growth and expand our reach in global connectivity issues. Trendsmedia’s founder, Eliot Weinman, became the president of our Events & Publishing Division.
How does this vision represent a shift from what the company had been doing?
It’s been more of an evolution rather than a revolution. We have made a comprehensive and direct set of choices over the last couple of years. The company was researching a little bit of everything when I came. But we have incredibly deep expertise within the organization for understanding communications technology, which is what created a worldwide brand for Yankee Group, now celebrating 40 years.
Those strengths provided a foundation for our changes. We have trimmed our focus to just the transformational issues in connectivity change. We have been enriching our connectivity research where it makes more sense, for example, understanding mobile adoption in Northern Africa and the Middle East—because we have a global vision. We have added things and taken things out, with a view to creating a coherent integrated framework for our research, which the company lacked before. The result is a more focused, directed research agenda delivering insight on the transformational impact of
What do you feel is your main value proposition to your clients?
We are the only research organization focused on the global connectivity revolution, and we have identiﬁed some major trends as a result. With the coming ubiquity of connectivity, we see new types of devices, services, enterprises and consumers emerging. There are huge threats and opportunities for our clients in these changes. For instance, as workers expect to access their work on any device they have, wherever they are, how does an enterprise support them? As software applications are atomized and
live in the network, how does an enterprise manage corporate information? We can help a company become an Anywhere Enterprise and proﬁt from the Anywhere Network. Nobody else is looking at communications issues through this particular lens.
Overall, what are your goals for the organization? How are you expanding or reﬁning Yankee’s coverage area?
My goal is growth – for the company and for our people. With our new direction, we have begun adding clients in ﬁnancial service, media and entertainment, as well as large-scale enterprise. A diverse client base helps push the research in new directions. Growth is important for the people inside the company because it creates a diversity of opportunities intellectually—they can move around and try new things. I want to see those trends continue.
We continue to look at opportunities to augment what we are doing through acquisition, and maybe we will ﬁnd one or two things that ﬁt our vision. We are always looking for more creative, interactive tools, so the experience of using our insight continues to evolve. We do a lot online and real-time, and much is inquiry-based. Going forward, people want to see us evolve the tools we use to deliver our insight.
How would you deﬁne Yankee’s key target audience(s) and its customers?
We have three main client groups. One group is the network users—large companies that regard investment in networking as strategic. These include logistics ﬁrms, ﬁnancial services ﬁrms, media companies. Another group is network builders. Technology builders that have interest in supporting revolution in the network and sell products and services to make that happen— Motorola, IBM, Oracle. The third category is the networks themselves, businesses that operate pieces of global network.
The ﬁrst group is growing the fastest. Businesses are now recognizing that the future of their products and services hinges on their understanding of what is going on in the network. They need to have the right kinds of relationships with various pieces of the network. For example, how can Disney go forward without the right kind of partnerships in the global network? As more companies wake up and realize they need to know the network better and adapt what they are doing, what we offer becomes more valuable.
In addition to your research and consulting, what special services do you offer?
Most of our insight is delivered by subscription relationships through reports and other tools available online thorough the website, such as reports, forecasts, models, surveys, data dashboards. We gather and synthesize things like the regulatory environment for connectivity. That is over half of what we do.
Twenty-ﬁve percent is in the consulting realm. Sometimes clients need specialized support going beyond the results in our research, so we often work on strategy consulting projects in the same topic domains as our research. For example, we may help somebody with business model expansion plans.
The last 25 percent is our growing conference business. We offer webinars as a way to keep our clients in touch with research results. We usually do a webinar once a month on various topics. Some clients in the vendor domain ask us to get involved with their webinars as well, usually on industry trends.
What is the one interesting thing you think most people don’t know about Yankee?
The incredible richness of the quantitative research—the modeling surveys, forecasting. I myself was surprised when I came here, and I have known the company for 20 years as a customer and competitor. I always knew Yankee Group had solid quantitative research, but it was not until I got here that I appreciated all that goes into the work we do and ﬁnding the right stand-alone tools to bring that information to clients.
For example, we track regulatory developments in more than 70 countries and more than 40 states. We look at pricing for communications services in dozens of markets around the world, as well as behaviors of enterprises and consumers and connectivity forecast trends. And I think maybe that’s been too well kept of a secret.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for the telecom industry in general going forward?
Telecom providers like AT&T and Deutsche Telecom have a requirement for massive restructuring of what they do and how they do it. They will be rebuilding their networks to take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies because the competitive environment is acute for them. How they pay for it and how they get paid back are still unanswered questions. They are looking at a total transformation.
What is the biggest challenge facing the IT departments of enterprises?
Figuring out how the ubiquitous network will transform how technology-based services are delivered to enterprise partners and employees. If the network is everywhere—a seamless and high-capacity environment—and many devices can use the network, the job of providing a technology platform for an enterprise to connect with partners, employees and assets is completely changed from what it was a few years ago. Then, all you needed was Internet access. Now, this pervasive communications context affects every decision the enterprise makes. What kinds of corporate applications to use? What
does it mean when employees bring ipods—which have disc drives that can store all kinds of things—to work? IT departments have worked hard to secure the network and information, and now employees can log in from Pakistan. How do you recognize employees vs. intruders? The pervasiveness of communications increases the complexity of how you deploy applications and protect the company’s digital assets from threat. How do you make people effective when not in ofﬁce? It all comes back to the
ubiquitous communications fabric.
What do you like most about your position?
As CEO you get to meddle in everything. I love to meet with clients, work with the research people on ideas, and with the marketing people on better ways to describe what we do. What is it to lead a research company? It’s thrilling. An effective technology research ﬁrm has to be willing to tackle the hard questions. It’s a privilege to get paid to answer them, scary but thrilling. My job gives me a lot of personal satisfaction. It’s frustrating when we don’t get it right and rewarding when we do. I love the adrenaline and periodic successes If you weren’t in technology research, what would you be doing? I taught while I was in graduate school. Teaching requires skills to those of good analyst, including a willingness to step up in front of people, take risks, focus on communications and help people understand. I also like writing. I’m talking to people about writing a book, but don’t know when I would ﬁt it in. Maybe that’s what I would have been doing if not this.
What was the last book you read?
Guesstimation: Solving the World’s Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin, by Lawrence Weinstein and John A. Adam
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