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Aberdeen overhauls its CRM practice

A few months after losing several CRM analysts, the researcher has added a CRM consultancy and a well-known industry name.

The Aberdeen Group, a Boston-based research firm that recently lost several CRM analysts, will now add consultancy Reservoir Partners LP to its organization.

Chris Selland, founder of Cambridge, Mass.-based Reservoir Partners, will join Aberdeen as vice president of sell-side research, heading up its CRM practice. Selland and his consultancy's existing contracts and relationships will move to Aberdeen on March 30. Other details of the relationship -- such as the future of the Reservoir name, office and staff -- still need to be worked out, Selland said.

"I was looking at how [to] take Reservoir Partners to next level," Selland said. "I got together with [Aberdeen CEO] Jamie Bedard and learned they're going in a new direction, aligned with what I wanted to do."

That new direction is a hybrid model of research that is more hands-on and includes more consultancy work. Bedard, who took the reins at Aberdeen last August, said the change was part of the firm's shift to user-focused research, as opposed to compiling vendor and market reports.

Several months ago former Aberdeen analyst Denis Pombriant formed his own consultancy, called Beagle Research Group. His fellow analysts took product management jobs, Chris Fletcher at Symbol Technology and Karen Smith at Microsoft.

Aberdeen has tried to battle back in recent years, in the wake of published reports that questioned the influence that vendors exerted on the research firm's work.

"We think Aberdeen got labeled with that, but it's absolutely a problem with any of our competitors in this market," Bedard said. "We've reduced 40% of the revenue in the firm that I would call the 'white paper for hire.' Aberdeen simply doesn't do that anymore."

Selland founded Reservoir Partners in February 2002, after two stints as an analyst with Boston-based Yankee Group and two years as an executive at contact center outsourcer eSupport Now. He is also president of the CRM Association.


Read Chris Selland's Straight Talk on Siebel columns.

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