The Forrester New Wave Methodology

Executive Summary

The Forrester New Wave™ is Forrester’s evaluation of top products in an emerging technology market. In our Forrester New Wave report, we assess the core capabilities and strategies of these products according to the needs of our clients. Our analysis of data collected from the market and the experience of our analysts drive our Forrester New Wave evaluations. This document is your guide to understanding how we create a Forrester New Wave report; it outlines the methodology that our analysts use to produce great Forrester research.

Why Forrester Conducts Forrester New Wave Evaluations

The Forrester New Wave methodology allows Forrester analysts to evaluate top products in an emerging market so our clients can make well-informed decisions without spending months conducting their own research. A New Wave report is designed to help our clients understand which vendors they should consider in an emerging technology or services market.

Participants In The Forrester New Wave Process

A Forrester New Wave builds upon the participation of four key players:

  • Analyst: The Analyst owns the Forrester New Wave and its conclusions and is the content expert for the Forrester New Wave. The Analyst determines the inclusion criteria, the evaluation criteria, and the scoring framework and couples that with his or her knowledge of the marketplace and the needs of our clients. The Analyst is ultimately responsible for determining the content of the Forrester New Wave, including participating firms, evaluation criteria, scores, and analysis. The Analyst works with a Content Editor (usually a Forrester Research Director) to focus the evaluation scope and create the New Wave research deliverable.
  • Research Associate (RA): The RA manages the Forrester New Wave process, driving and maintaining the Forrester New Wave project schedule and, in most instances, communicating with vendors throughout the process. The RA serves as the main Forrester contact for the vendors we include in a Forrester New Wave and may participate in data-gathering processes, including briefings and product demos and customer reference calls/surveys.
  • Vendor response/analyst relations team: The vendor response team provides detailed product information; this team comprises the key contacts we work with at participating vendors. Forrester relies on the team’s participation to provide feedback on the evaluation criteria, identify candidates for customer interviews/surveys, provide a briefing and demo, and collect and verify the product and company information used in the Forrester New Wave evaluation.
  • Customer references: Customer references share their experiences with the products. Forrester will ask each Forrester New Wave participant to provide two customer references. Our research teams will contact each of the references to schedule a brief call or complete a short survey. Forrester will ask the customers questions based on their experience with the product we are evaluating. We do not list or name customer references in the published materials unless this is specifically agreed upon prior to publication.

The Forrester New Wave Process Road Map: How Does The New Wave Work?

Pre-Wave Planning And Kickoff

In preparation for a Forrester New Wave, the Analyst will work with his or her Research Director and research associate to:

  • Research the category and define the scope. The analyst conducts initial research to determine if the product is emerging enough and garners enough buyer interest for a Forrester New Wave. As part of this research, the analyst will define the scope of the category and identify the vendors in the space.
  • Draft inclusion and evaluation criteria. Based on the scope of the New Wave, the analyst will create the inclusion criteria that will determine which vendors to include in the evaluation. He or she will also define the criteria against which the vendor products will be evaluated. New Waves consist of 7 current offering criteria, 3 strategy, and 1 market presence criteria. The criteria will consider the needs of the professionals that the analyst serves; we intend the criteria to be differentiating rather than exhaustive. We give vendors included in the New Wave an opportunity to review the evaluation criteria.
  • Host a vendor kickoff teleconference. The analyst and RA take vendors through the research process information contained in the email invitation. Specifically, the Forrester team outlines key deliverables and their deadlines and answers vendors’ questions, including questions about specific criteria.

Gathering Evaluation Data

There are three inputs into a New Wave evaluation: 1) an executive strategy briefing and/or product demo session and 2) the criteria questionnaire to be completed by vendors, and 3.) customer reference calls/surveys.

When companies decide not to participate in our research, we evaluate them according to our Forrester Wave and Forrester New Wave Incomplete Vendor Participation Policy. Forrester reserves the right to remove a vendor from a New Wave at any point in the New Wave process if we find them to be incompatible with the New Wave objectives.

During this phase, the Forrester research team will:

  • Hold executive strategy briefings and demonstrations. The vendors follow the criteria laid out in the evaluation criteria and, potentially, scenarios developed by Forrester to demonstrate the functionality of each product. During the evaluation, the Forrester team captures detailed notes and may record the presentation.
  • Send vendors a questionnaire to be completed. Vendors will complete the questionnaire and return it to the analyst and RA.
  • Interview customer references. Forrester will call or send a survey to the reference customers provided by the vendor. If necessary, the analyst will also speak with other customers about the vendor’s product. The goal is to verify the information given by the vendor collected during the briefing and demo session.

Scoring And Reviewing

In this phase, the analyst will use facts gathered during the evaluation to score each vendor. At this stage, participating vendors — those who completed a briefing and/or demo and returned a completed a questionnaire — will receive a preview of their Vendor Snapshot. Each vendor has two business days to preview their vendor Snapshot. A vendor Snapshot includes a one-page document which includes our Forrester Take summary and Customer Reference summary, along with the vendor QuickCard. The vendor QuickCard contains our Forrester scores, New Wave positioning on the graphic, and two customer reference quotes.

Forrester gives participating vendors an opportunity to examine their written text in the Vendor Snapshot to identify any factual errors and bring them to our attention. The link to the Vendor Review Policy can be found here.

Courtesy Preview And Publishing The Forrester New Wave Report

Once we’ve developed and reviewed all the deliverables, it’s time to publish the Forrester New Wave. Before publishing the deliverables, the team:

  • Sends out the courtesy preview document. Forrester will provide a courtesy preview of the Forrester New Wave document to evaluated vendors. This preview period typically occurs five days before publication. Forrester will not accept any new information or escalations during this time. We consider the content of the Forrester New Wave to be final at this point, although we reserve the right to make changes or corrections up until publication.