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Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR) is one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world. We work with business and technology leaders to develop customer-obsessed strategies that drive growth. Forrester’s unique insights are grounded in annual surveys of more than 500,000 consumers and business leaders worldwide, rigorous and objective methodologies, and the shared wisdom of our most innovative clients. Through proprietary research, data, custom consulting, exclusive executive peer groups, and events, the Forrester experience is about a singular and powerful purpose: to challenge the thinking of our clients to help them lead change in their organizations.

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The Forrester Wave™ Vendor Review Policy

Executive Summary

The Forrester Wave is designed to be a collaborative process between research teams and vendor companies — a process that provides opportunities for dialogue and review for the purpose of accuracy, prior to Forrester Wave publication.

Several touchpoints are built into this process to provide transparency and clarity. At the outset, analysts request feedback from vendors about the criteria we have chosen to use for the evaluation. After we conclude our Forrester Wave research, vendors have three distinct periods of review to assure them that the Forrester Wave accurately represents their product and corporate strategy. Forrester designed the research process this way to provide structure, minimize misunderstandings, and eliminate inaccuracies.

Review Periods For Forrester Waves

Forrester asks vendors to examine our findings, provide comments, and suggest changes to improve the accuracy of the Forrester Wave at three points in the Forrester Wave process:

  • Criteria review. Soon after the Forrester Wave is kicked off, the analyst drafts criteria for use in the scorecards as part of the product/vendor evaluation. Participating vendors may then comment upon criteria or suggest that criteria be added, modified, or deleted. After we have gathered and reviewed all the inputs, the analyst assesses whether the comments and input from participating vendors warrant any changes to the criteria, makes adjustments if needed, and distributes copies to all the participating vendors. Analysts have the final call on which criteria to use.
  • Fact check and scorecard review. After we have concluded our research, the analyst completes each vendor scorecard, scoring the vendor against every criterion. Forrester gives vendors two weeks to examine their scorecard to identify any errors of fact and communicate with us to clarify any outstanding points with the analyst. In some instances, the timeframe for review may vary, but it is the same for all vendors in a given Forrester Wave. We encourage vendors to spend this time carefully reviewing the information and internally signing off on it. This scorecard review process is the last opportunity for vendors to point out factual errors so that we can correct them prior to writing the Forrester Wave report. The vendor will also receive a copy of their write-up from the report and their placement on the Wave graphic during this period.

We recognize that there may be times during the scorecard review process or the overall process when a vendor may want to escalate their comments and feedback to a manager at Forrester. Vendors can escalate their concerns along the following path:

1. The research director (RD) and group director (GD). If a disagreement between the analyst and the vendor arises during a Forrester Wave that cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, loop the role RD and GD into the discussion. At Forrester, the RD and GD are empowered together to handle all possible Forrester Wave conflicts, so escalations should start and stop at this level.

2. The ombudsman. If a vendor feels that the methodology has been breached, they may request a meeting with Forrester’s ombudsman. However, the ombudsman reserves the right to decline to hear an escalation if we feel confident that there has been no methodology breach. The ombudsman is not a subject matter expert and will not review specific scoring disputes.

The Forrester Wave uses scores to capture the facts we gather about the vendors in a category, and it uses criteria, scales, and weightings to express our analysts’ expert opinions about what should matter most to enterprise buyers in that category. Disagreements about scores have to do with the facts. Disagreements about criteria, scales, and weightings are a matter of opinion.

These matters of opinion can be contentious. Forrester's clients hire us for our opinions, and Forrester Waves provide Forrester's clear, unambiguous call on the vendors and products in a particular market based on a comprehensive methodology. We are committed to providing an independent, authoritative voice that provides the highest-quality advice to our clients. Sometimes that mission may be in conflict with vendor viewpoints, which is why we crafted an escalation path. Know, however, that we are also committed to making sure all information in Forrester Waves is factually correct and that we follow the evaluation process and methodology correctly and fairly.

  • 48-hour courtesy preview. Once we have written the Forrester Wave report and Forrester's editing department has reviewed it, the Forrester Wave is ready to publish. Prior to publication, each participating vendor receives a copy so that they know what the final report will look like. This is a courtesy preview copy, allowing each participating vendor to know what we will publish — based on the data they already approved during the scorecard review phase. Forrester will not accept new data or input from vendors during this period and reserves the right to move forward with publication even if disputes arise during this period.