What is the The Forrester Wave

Forrester Research compiles a report that’s meant to act as a guide for organizations looking for streaming analytics, or event stream processing, on the technology marketplace. Streaming analytics is the modern solution to dealing with big data, and you don’t need to be a data scientist to appreciate it. Organizations deal with too much data these days to rely on the legacy request/response architecture, which requires the computer system to wait during each step in event processing.

Streaming analytics allows the software to perform multiple steps at once, and even handle multiple events simultaneously, by making continuous queries. This is important because events are constantly pouring in, from customers clicking on items on a company’s website to responses to social media marketing.

Of course, if you’re on the lookout for this kind of technology, you don’t want to trust your success to just any provider. The Forrester Wave exists to point you toward the most significant vendors. Providers receive classifications based on how helpful they are overall, and they also receive individual scores in multiple categories.

Starting a Forrester Wave

Forrester compiles their report on a quarterly basis, with the Q2 2021 report being published recently. Their methodology is publicly available, as are their 22 criteria, to ensure a fair evaluation of all participants. Creating a Forrester Wave depends on four important factors.

The Lead Analyst: The analyst is Forrester’s expert who determines the inclusion criteria for all vendors, the evaluation criteria, and the way providers are scored. They’re ultimately responsible for the content printed in a Forrester Wave.

The Research Associate: The RA is the manager of the project who ensures that everything remains on schedule. They’ll also generally be the ones to attend product demonstrations and speak with each contender’s team during the data gathering process.

The Vendor Response Team: These are the provider teams that provide detailed product and service information during data gathering. They also provide feedback on evaluation criteria and may suggest individuals for customer interviews. In the event that a vendor doesn’t wish to participate in the process, Forrester will continue the evaluation based on their Incomplete Vendor Participation Policy.

Customer References: Forrester will ask anonymous customers of each contender about their experiences with the products and services. This is generally done through brief calls or a survey that’s sent to each customer.

The Evaluation Process

The evaluations for a Forrester Report begin with questionnaires that are sent to each provider. They have three weeks to provide the information the analyst is looking for. Forrester’s evaluation also involves provider presentations that detail their product and market strategies.

The evaluation gives heavier weightings to some criteria than others as Forrester seeks to identify the strong performers and market leaders based on their current offerings. Most notably, the scalability of each product and their ease of development carry the most weight. The market presence of each vendor is also an important consideration. Providers who earn the highest possible score on multiple criteria are likely to be named the market leaders for the quarter.

Before the final review, each vendor will receive their scorecard based on that report’s evaluation criteria, and they’ll have an opportunity to fact-check and correct any errors that may be present. After the analyst receives the scorecard, they’ll perform their final review and create a graphic that details each provider’s position in the report (this shows their classification category, which can be challenger, contender, strong performer, or leader).

Five days before the report is published, each participating provider will receive a courtesy preview version. It’s extremely rare for any changes to be made after this point, but there may be an exception if a company goes through a merger or acquisition during the evaluation process.

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