Continuing Forrester’s commitment to helping clients understand the technology marketplace and simplify difficult product selections, Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) today introduced the Forrester Wave™ — a new standard graphical representation of Forrester’s call on vendors, marketplaces, and other emerging technology products and services. The Forrester Wave helps businesses decipher confusing vendor offerings before purchase and clarifies the competitive landscape.

“Forrester’s value proposition is built on telling it like it is,” said George F. Colony, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Forrester Research. “We make the tough call on markets, technologies, and vendors — our integrity and firm objectivity yield the highest value research and strategy for our clients. The Forrester Wave is a new language for communicating those calls to our clients in a consistent, clear, and fast way.”

Unlike other companies’ technology research rankings, the Forrester Wave is built on an open methodology and a straightforward algorithm that expose the vendor scores, key attributes, and weightings in an interactive spreadsheet available to both users and vendors. This open framework prevents random placement of results, empowering users to customize the data, create vendor shortlists, and challenge questionable offerings.

Using The Forrester Wave
The Forrester Wave was designed to evaluate and categorize companies as either a Risky Bet, Contender, Strong Performer, or Leader. A vendor falls into one of these positions based on a composite score from three dimensions:

  1. Current offering. This dimension analyzes the strength of a company’s current solution, including product capabilities, ease of implementation, service and support, and implementation and training (Y axis).
  2. Strategy. This dimension evaluates the strength of a firm’s future product direction, including the company’s ability to articulate its strategy, demonstrate its commitment, and forge technology partnerships (X axis).
  3. Market presence. The final dimension reviews a company’s financial and market strength, including company financials, installed base, average deal size, and distribution partnerships (size of point).

Vendor solutions must have strong scores in both the current offering and strategy dimensions to be ranked highly in the Forrester Wave. Market presence helps users break ties between vendors and make selections based on their vendor risk tolerance.

The Forrester Wave results are depicted in a color-coded research graphic that enables companies to easily determine if vendors are:

  • Leaders. Leaders have both a strong product and strategy. Startups and established companies alike can rank as Leaders, distinguished by the market presence dimension.
  • Strong Performers. Strong performers receive medium-high scores on both the product and strategy dimensions, and they are likely to appear on many users¿ shortlists. On at least one dimension, however, they fall behind Leaders.
  • Contenders. Contenders have products and strategies that, while credible, lag behind Strong Performers and Leaders.
  • Risky Bets. Risky Bets either are not particularly strong in any of the dimensions or are strong in only one of the dimensions — e.g., a strong current offering but a weak strategy for the future, or a great strategy but without a product to match.

Additionally, the Forrester Wave findings are available to clients in an interactive spreadsheet in which users can customize weightings to see the impact on vendor rankings.

The Forrester Wave Methodology
Forrester employs a rigorous 14-step process to create each Forrester Wave, starting with a comprehensive taxonomy that identifies 30 to more than 100 attributes that a product or service must meet across three dimensions. Based on the taxonomy, each Forrester Wave participant is assessed against the weighted attributes. This effort may include detailed surveys, product demonstrations, and customer reference checks. Written documentation is often required to back up vendor claims. Finally, after the data has been gathered and validated, a Forrester Wave is created using a data-driven algorithm and attribute scoring scale of 0 (not offered or won’t disclose) to 5 (best).

The Forrester Wave In Action
Grading Apps For Inventory And Order Visibility” is the first Forrester report to incorporate a Forrester Wave. This July report by Senior Analyst Stacie S. Kilgore examines what tools firms need to manage demand when real-world changes disrupt their careful plans. Kilgore’s report evaluates 18 adaptive logistics management (ALM) vendors. Learn more about the Forrester Wave and view an example from this report.

For major product categories and marketplaces, the Forrester Wave will track vendors’ and companies’ progress over time. Future Forrester Waves will be incorporated in a wide range of Forrester’s technology and vertical market research and Events, including the following upcoming research reports: “The Web Services Platform Shootout” and “Best Bets For Banking CRM.” For questions about citing the Forrester Wave, please send an email to Vendor Relations at Forrester.