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The Forrester Wave™ Vendor Review Policy
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 finalizes the criteria and distributes copies to all the participating vendors. Analysts have the final call on which criteria to use.
- Scorecard review. After we have concluded our research, the analyst completes each vendor scorecard, including scores and score explanations. 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 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.
If a vendor has an issue with the scorecard data that it cannot work out with the analyst, vendors can escalate their issue to the analyst's Research Director for review.
In some instances, the Research Director's manager, the Group Director, may get involved. Most importantly, this is the time for vendors to escalate any issues they have with how the analyst is scoring their offering; escalating at this juncture helps to avoid situations where later escalation requests are denied.
- 48-hour courtesy copy. 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. Please note that this is not a period for further data reviews or additional input. If the scorecard has been reviewed and approved by the vendor in the scorecard review period, Forrester reserves the right to move forward with publication even if disputes arise during the 48-hour review 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:
- The Research Director (RD). 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 into the discussion. At Forrester, the RD is empowered to handle all possible Forrester Wave conflicts, so escalations should start and stop at this level. For discussions specific to the Forrester Wave research methodology, the internal Forrester Wave methodology lead, Charles Coit, is also available to help clarify concrete research process disagreements, but the escalation path always starts with the RD who manages the analyst(s) involved in the Forrester Wave.
- The Group Director (GD). If an understanding cannot be reached at the RD level, vendors may include the GD in the discussion. This can happen if the RD and analyst are aligned on the issue and the vendor feels a different perspective is necessary. However, vendors should only request GD involvement after every effort has been made to reach a resolution at the RD level.
Forrester Waves, by their very nature, can be contentious and viewed from different and often conflicting perspectives. 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.