Frost & Sullivan Award

Top Cat sent out a division-wide email this week announcing that we have been given a prestigious award of some kind from a company nobody has ever heard of- Frost & Sullivan. Top Cat was all uppity about receiving this award however he wanted to make sure everyone took credit for earning such an industry accolade. In order to help individuals feel as though they somehow directly contributed to our success, Top Cat has decreed that each week one person will be granted possession of the coveted Frost & Sullivan award. It will be located at the lucky employee’s desk for a whole week after which that person will nominate someone else who deserves the award. It is their task to write in an email why that employee earned the Frost & Sullivan, elaborating about what they did to contribute, etc. That’s kinda lame.

Apparently the actual award is a crystal paperweight looking thingy with the Frost & Sullivan logo etched inside it. Yay.

Since none of my fellow employees ever heard of Frost & Sullivan before, I hopped on the internets and did a quick search. Turns out Frost & Sullivan is a consulting firm. Typical. Whenever I discover corporate management has turned to a consulting firm for advice I am convinced our business team doesn’t understand what we do anymore. Super Geek and his platoon of yes-men are out of touch with reality, they don’t have a clue. That aside, I continued reading about this unheard of consulting company until I hit the Frost & Sullivan award web page. That’s when I started to laugh my ass off.

According to the egomaniacs at Frost & Sullivan, the moment your company has been granted one of their amazing awards it will perform wonders like black magic. Instant benefits include but are not limited to: increasing employee morale, making your stock shareholders giddy, improving product credibility, and providing colossal public relations value. Whoa. You get all that from a single office paperweight? Sweet Jesus… those are some high claims to substantiate there. Of course it doesn’t hurt to blow your own horn. It’s great advertising for Frost & Sullivan to make claims like that, because it creates an uncontrollable need in management teams so they would want to hire Frost & Sullivan for consulting to figure shit out. Right?

During the past few years here at Bill and Dave’s company we have endured through nearly a dozen rounds of nationwide layoffs. Nobody has received a merit wage increase because all raises have been placed on an indefinite freeze. We are overworked and grossly underpaid. Morale hit rock bottom a long time ago. A silly consulting firm award isn’t going to have any effect whatsoever on poor employee morale. Shares of our stock tanked shortly after our much publicized company breakup and stock IPO. Bill and Dave’s stock shares have continued to under-perform with only one exception that I can think of since then. Clearly this company’s stock is a real dog. Our product reliability is at an all-time low; meanwhile we continue to price gouge customers and reduce warranty coverage. Shrinking warranty periods probably has something to do with the fact that we know many product platforms we manufacture are going to smoke and or implode right around the time a warranty expires. As far as public relations spin is concerned we don’t need any assistance from Frost & Sullivan. The local newspaper in town decided some time ago to become our company’s personal propaganda clearinghouse. Whatever garbage top managers here babble about the local newspaper writes that down, considers it *news* and publishes it.

No, I don’t think the Frost & Sullivan award is going to make good on it’s promises anytime soon here at Bill and Dave’s company. It’s going to take a lot more than that to get this house back in order before it is too late.

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~ by factorypeasant on June 3, 2007.

27 Responses to “Frost & Sullivan Award”

  1. I agree with you completely… F&S is one big joke. I should know, I used to work there, and wrote many of these awards myself. Yes, the awards are usually selected by a careful analysis… meaning they are given to the company whom they feel will be gullible enough to license the award and purchase the paperweight. Sorry, my friend, but your boss, or whoever paid for the licensing fee, got hosed. I’d do a Google search for “Frost & Sullivan”+Promega to see what this company, a major player in the biologics industry, has to say. While I wish the best for you and your company/professional career, you’re absolutely right… F&S is not a magical fairy that will grant anyone professional success.

  2. F&S Sucks- thanks for the interesting comments. i will check out the promega tip. if you happen to feel like elaborating a little more on how the whole F&S awards thing works from a former insider perspective i’d be curious to read what you have to say. i’m nosey like that. anyway stay tuned because the double-prestigious Kramden & Norton award is coming up…

    rock on br0.

  3. hi,
    i was with F&S myself. The Awards area is a high revenue generating one for the company. There are many companies that license these awards. Withing a year i would have written content for at least 25 of them. Every team in F&S researches companies in their area. They spot companies that have done well over the last few years. It is also noted if the company has a marketing budget. IF the company then appears good in these respects it is contacted and a couple of interviews are carried out with the top management of the company. Then the content for the award is written and edited and looked over by the team heads. Once its ready it is sent to the company/client. They send their feedback and the changes are mostly made in the content. Then the business development team calls the client and pitches the award and the award is sold. The client then attends a award banquet where the award is given.

  4. howdy ryan.

    i appreciate your describing how the Frost and Sullivan award operation works. it strikes me of a sucker’s game, like Civil War era carpetbaggers. it’s a scenario where F&S actively looks for corporate dopes that they can peddle tailor-made meaningless awards for. in recent years Frost & Sullivan have been handing those useless awards out like dime store candy. why anyone bothers to pay any attention at all to them i have no idea. maybe corporate public relations departments who accept the Frost & Sullivan make the assumption their customers and stock shareholders are really that stupid to buy into the whole F&S thing like it matters.

    i followed up on that Promega tip a previous commentor mentioned. in my opinion Promega did the right thing by turning the F&S award down.

  5. hi factorypeasant,
    the conversion ratio of awards licensed to the awards written is very less. Still many companies go for it. On its part, F&S tries to use the opportunity to get other consulting assignments with the company. In short, many at times other F&S services are pitched along with the awards. So F&S stands to gain monetarily from the awards domain. Also, at the other end there are clients that just hope that these things (or paperweights as you call them!:-D) would serve as some magic charm. There are other big companies which regularly license these awards. They have the budget and some thousands of dollars spent in this way does not make any difference in their coffers.
    Hope you don’t think i’m an ex-employee without any sense of loyalty. Its just that i don’t like the way the whole awards package is put across. Also, your article set me thinking further and i thought i’d write to you.
    Happy New Year. Have a gr8 2008.

  6. Hmm…Nice analysis Ryan. Let me just add one thing- I have to say that some of the analysts do take these awards really seriously. I mean, its not just the client or the F&S’s reputation on the line but also of the analyst himself. A lot of the people I know work extremely hard on these awards and do their level best to give to companies who deserve it. Maybe Bill and Dave did deserve it! (on some level)

    What really irritates a lot of the analysts is the number of awards they are made to write. A best practices program makes a lot of sense if you ask me but not when you continue to stress quantity over quality.

  7. Ryan and F&S-

    thank you both. your insight and comments are welcome around here. from reading what you have to say about the Frost & Sullivan award i feel like my suspicions about it were correct. i was at the time cynical about Bill and Dave’s receiving the Frost & Sullivan because things inside the company were very negative. let me put it into perspective for you.

    when we were handed the F&S, Bill and Dave’s test and measurement businesses were actively skirting US federal law by manufacturing and testing US Military/Government orders in Asia then quickly switching each unit’s serial numbers to appear as if it was coming from another country- the only country in Asia approved by the Government for production. our R&D labs were forced to prematurely release new instrument designs before they were thoroughly proved which increased dramatically our field failure rate worldwide. warranty costs skyrocketed, customer dissatisfaction grew to an all-time high. domestically we had so many problems on the US instrument lines that shipments routinely had to be reacknowledged further pissing off big name customers. we also endured through round after round of deep layoffs. our ranks were quickly being depleted of our best minds causing more complications throughout Bill and Dave’s. there were also low-level incidents that blew up in the company’s face such as the PR debacle involving a non-profit website that offered our instrument manuals for obsolete products (we were too lazy and shortsighted to provide these much needed resources for customers on our own company website). the list of stupid shit we were doing at the time goes on and on. so when the Frost & Sullivan award showed up, it was surreal and entirely ridiculous.

  8. factorypeasant,
    u are welcome. i too completely agree with F&S that the greater emphasis on quantity over quality is very detrimental. On many or rather most occasions , the analyst does not want to go ahead with the award but is forced to do so because of the targets that either he/team is set.
    Also, i hope that Bill & Dave does better in 08.

  9. Hello Factory Present,

    Its nice to see that the truth is being discussed here. I myself was working with F&S earlier. What they typically do is target five companies in a segment conduct interiviews with them and try to pitch the award with catchy titles like “Technology Innovation”, “Production Innovation”, “Excellence in Technology”, and some of the “Of the Year Awards”.

    Companies provide information to the analysts which is reflected in a award writeup and is pitched back to them. Essentinally companies pay for their own information along with a seats to award banquets, press release issues, Award Plaque, a Movers & Shakers Interview with CEO’s…

    They are not doing any good to their brand value.

    Another shocking fact is F&S never provides access to paid journals or magazine subscriptions to its analysts. They wholly rely on search engines and to top it up some primary interviews.

    So companies beware where you data is coming from before paying for it.People who work to develop content are a unhappy lot as they are paid very little compared to the deal that is won. The company strikes roughly starting from 40,000 USD and above per project.

    Its like a family run business where the top management pockets most of the revenues earned. The person who slogs to prepare a great consulting report gets just…peanuts…..

    Its a firm with scant employee benefits..

    Now coming on to the other side of the story of why companies buy these awards.. mostly these would be start-up firms who try to get some attention in the market and theyr are innocent preys. Secondly big companies license these awards as they might have a annual budget allocated to them and it is just another feather in the cap for them.

    My point is if the company has a oood technology or product it will do well even without this award.. No award is required for a really successful technology or product released.

    F&S should concentrate on delivering value added information and hive off this awards which is just an “inflated balloon”.

    One more startling fact I would like to discuss is this.. F&S has a vision that will improve its profit by 15% and Revenue by 25% every year. This they say to motivate their employees … each year they hit well beyond their targets and cry foul end of year ..station only a couple of industry verticals did well… They are well known to set unrealistic targets…

    Their main focus is on getting money in to their pockets with minimal cash outfloe. So my request is company’s please do not entertain the award next time an account executive rings to you.

    I am running a website where I can host your press releases for free and gain you the same reach and publicity also through a blog. Please spend your dollars wisely and have a prosperous new year.

    Regards,
    Analyst

  10. Hi everyone! I would like to add my 2 cents as a former F&S employee. I was also a part of the best practices team who churned out ‘n’ number of awards every quarter. ‘I’ may represent the small group of poor employees who used to stay late, identify ‘rich’ or ‘gullible’ companies who would eventually stumble upon and buy the award(s)[yes, some even buy two or more awards!?!?]. There are two big ‘driving’ factors that pushed us hard to make the awards ‘sale-able’ – 1. BONUS!!! (which I never received even after selling more than 10 awards), and 2. Being indirectly criticized (sometimes openly!) during team meetings on the number of awards written by and you and the number that actually got sold!

    The best practices team members who report to their so called MANAGERs really have to break their heads in handling the queries from them as they literally have no idea about the award/technology/product. As someone said, you can never defeat an ignorant man in a conversation. I agree that every damn company in this world has to resort to some sort of ‘corporate lies’ that keeps the company moving up. Nevertheless, the company should also have some culture that would honor and recognize its employees MONETARILY!

    Ultimately, the aforementioned facts reflect badly on the employees who later write awards just for the heck of it, and the ‘affected’ companies buy the award (sometimes along with the charge for attending the banquet function to receive the award!!).

    I do agree that some die-hard F&S employees (like F&S stakeholders!) would come down heavily defending or refusing some or all of the facts mentioned above, but who cares!

  11. Analyst- thanks for your comments and insider perspectives on F&S. good luck with your web-business.

    ForeverSucking- “I do agree that some die-hard F&S employees (like F&S stakeholders!) would come down heavily defending or refusing some or all of the facts mentioned above, but who cares!”

    exactly. employees of F&S who want to keep their meal ticket running full-force would obviously defend their company’s strategy and business practices with regard to these shoddy awards. the thing to keep in mind though is F&S marketing of technology awards and follow up consulting in this manner strikes me as unethical. so, to those who are pro-Frost and Sullivan and would defend their behavior i would say they don’t have much to stand on. it’s a foolish position to defend or argue for.

  12. These are all interesting opinions. I don’t agree or disagree with anyone here. I just wanted to clarify the whole concept of awards given by research companies. A company such as F&S does extensive research and awards best practices in the process. All the awards that are given by research companies and which are promoted by recipients are licensed (recipient pays a license fee). Why would a company make a competitive benchmarking, contact companies, if there is no return for their effort. For the record J D Power’s award for the car industry gets licensed (sold) at more than $1 million each year.

  13. Rational Analyst- I do agree that the companies that give these awards give it for a cost. However, F&S on many occasions gives awards to some “undeserving” companies esp in certain categories where the particular company has not done any remarkable work whatsoever.

  14. Even I have been a F&S analyst and have written many awards. An analyst’s appraisal depends on the revenue that the Analyst has earned for the company. So an analyst would only give award to the company, who has better chances of shelling out money for the license – than the deserver one!

    Moreover, Analyst (specially based in India) are freshers or people who are paid pennies! Do you think those people can really “research” and judge who is the best company, that too when they have to come up with awards every now and then!

  15. Frost and Sullivan awards are a sham. The company will create any award for any company wishing to buy one. Little to no objectivity.

    The management behind Frost & Sullivan abandoned quality research in pursuit of the ‘low-cost provider’ strategy but interestingly try to charge like a highly-differentiated and specialized research consultant.

  16. greetings RJ.

    so what it sounds like you are saying is Frost & Sullivan are the McDonald’s of company awards. as i noted much earlier in the discussion here F&S hands out awards to companies like there is no tomorrow… that dilutes any meaning one of their substandard awards would have had.

    i speculate creating a Frost & Sullivan award costs relatively little for the consulting firm to put together. low overhead, and then charge the hell out of the sucker you’re getting to buy it. pure profit. sure sounds more and more like a white collar crime operation to me. one thing is certain though- buying a Frost & Sullivan award is a chump’s game.

  17. buying an award is a marketing activity. is it of any more value than some other form of their promotion/advertising? only the company buying the award can answer this. (some companies just don’t have many good marketing options).

    it can be of value if the researcher has an excellent reputation in the marketplace and is respected for their objectivity and/or quality of their data (ie; jd power).

    how f&s is able to present this image is unknown.

    nope, doesn’t cost much to produce these awards. seeing that the companies have the opportunity to review and revise the awards, they almost write it themselves!

    the chairman of f&s wrote a book on how to do market research on the cheap: the revenues from awards also come cheap.

  18. I am ex-employee of F&S and I did not buck under pressure from my team heads or the company in nominating companies for awards. I do agree with Ryan’s point that there is pressure to give away as many, quantity over quality. My question to Ryan or other ex-employees of F&S is this – where did your moral go? why did you slip from being ethical? dont we all make a company ethical and respected with our behaviour? Speaking for myself, I ‘sold’ (licensed is the internal jargon) awards to companies that I thought deserved it. As simple as that.
    In F&S’s business model, recognition through awards is one touch point to doing business. Now if dave and whatever doesn;t want to license the award, just say no and move on. On the flip side, I have recognized a small company in Europe for a product they had been (uniquely) creating in the market for over 30 years. They loved the recognition, and the small family like company almost broke down during the banquets. We went on to engage them in providing market research, consulting advice, and exposure to a larger client pool. Now, I am not sure how that would have happened without these awards.
    It is as much the responsibility of the individual analysts to stay ethical whatever the pressures are..there is no grey area in ethics. I was a high performing individual during my tenure and still am in another company. It all comes down to personal integrity. You have it or not.

  19. Vm- Thanks for the comments on F&S business model. I think you make some valid points concerning their employees’ conduct regarding award selection, but overall in my opinion the way F&S operates seems unethical. Also consider that when F&S issues out such a large volume of these awards they become less meaningful in industry, they carry less weight or merit. I think the merit of an F&S award has always been in question to some degree.

  20. well..two sides to a coin and every opinion i see in this long page, relates to actuality. The important thing F&S should understand about awards is that, money through awards is definitely good profits…but they should not overdo it…it is so easy for an analyst to spend 40 hours writing two or three awards and getting 50k for it…I mean look at the returns…The company should take extra pains not to be tempted by easy money through awards. They should reduce the frequency, imbibe value and truly nominate companies that deserve…

  21. I worked as an analyst at this lousy company Frost & Sullivan. It was the most miserable working experience that I have ever had in my professional career. I too was pressured by my manager to write awards, despite my ethical concerns. Because of sharing my concerns with my manager, I ended up receiving a poor performance evaluation – how surprising… I can say that many analysts at F&S do not really understand business ethics – many of them are fresh graduates with no working experience and full of ideals. They are pressured by the unethical, lousy managers to write countless, dubious awards and low quality “research studies” for profits. This company would sell a financial responsibility award to Bernie Madoff. In fact, their chairman himself, David Frigstad, gave an award to Satyam’s CEO for leadership about 2 months before the CEO admitted the fraud. Just google Frost & Sullivan + Satyam and will find it. The selection process for awards is laughable. There are really no substantial criteria – just nominate a company that would buy it. In fact, in my industry, I know of a company that got an award just for calling my manager a few times and playing nice with the idiot. Analysts are forced to write at least four awards for every research report. Moreover, there are other annual awards, as well as awards given for any other reasons, such that at the end of six months you ran out of companies in your industry or market to whom to give awards. The industry managers – those who “manage” analysts (i.e. whip them) – are people who lack the skills and qualifications to be in management, and have been promoted on nepotism or a$$-kissing reasons and nothing else – actually like 99% of managers in this company. Consequently, they pressure analysts to write awards, because otherwise their cushy jobs are gone, and they know very well that they would never get a management job anywhere else.

  22. F&S Former Analyst- Thanks for the honest write up. I read it out loud to a couple of people just now. Let’s just say it was a hit with the crowd.

    Don’t forget to check out our response to the Frost & Sullivan award. It’s the Kramden & Norton award which you can see and read about over here
    https://billanddave.wordpress.com/2007/07/03/kramden-norton-award-winners/

    Or just use the search function on the main page for it. Either way you’ll probably find it amusing…

  23. It’s great to see so many disenchanted (ex-)Frosties prepared to speak openly about this awards scandal. But that’s only one symptom of a catalog of questionable business behavior.
    To see more, and contribute stories of woe, check out http://frostybite.blogspot.com

  24. Hi Jack.

    Looks like on this one you’re in good company. I dropped by your blog a couple of times since you posted your comment in here and I see what you’re up to… heh. I’d like to encourage you to keep going with your project- especially if you are up for writing about F&S from the inside. I’m sure a lot of people would find it very interesting. Thanks by the way for the link back here. I do appreciate it. Stay cool, friend.

  25. Whoa… what a great post and comments! This is pure gold. Im not adding anything to the discussion by just wanted to let you guys know, there are companies out there that still DO BUY this crap. At least I know of one that did buy one a month ago… went to he banquet, and the hole parade.
    Anyway, thank you all for such a great post

  26. Despite us having found out F&S timely we are glad to have our suspicions confirmed and thank you for this valuable insight.
    Kind Regards
    Bernhard

  27. Frost & Sullivan awards are 100% a scam. They are fake. It is the highest revenue producing division of Frost & Sullivan. The “winning” company tells why they should win and they will win whatever award they want. Any company can win any award they want. The “winner” must pay to use the award in any PR, marketing, or advertising. The research to support the award is produced after the check clears. AN “analyst briefing” results in a bait and switch – after an analyst briefing all of a sudden you win an award.

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