The Forrester Wave is a streaming analytics report that’s compiled on a quarterly basis by Forrester Research. Streaming analytics, sometimes called event stream processing, is the modern solution to big data processing and analysis. When organizations relied on small data sets, the legacy request/response architecture served well enough.
This issue with using this now is that modern event streams are much more complex than they used to be. An event can be triggered by a user clicking a webpage, a customer starting a financial transaction, an IoT sensor detecting unusual movement on the manufacturing floor, and a variety of other sources. What’s more, these events are all ongoing at the same time, and there simply isn’t time to waste on computer systems that require a pause at every step in event processing.
Streaming analytics solutions are able to make continuous queries, so they can move on to other events and processes without having to wait for a response from another computer system. In addition to even processing, these solutions are also great for gathering actionable insights into business processes, so you can identify inefficiencies in your organization and work to address them. Of course, you don’t want to trust something this important to just anyone. You’ll want to pinpoint the most significant providers in the technology marketplace. This is where Forrester’s evaluation comes in.
Creating the Forrester Report
The Forrester Wave report is intended as a guide to help analytics customers find strong performers on the market based on consistent evaluation criteria. In order to compile the Forrester Wave, the participation of four main players is needed.
Lead Analyst: This individual is in charge of the inclusion and evaluation criteria for each report, as well as the scoring system. They’re ultimately in charge of the content written in the Forrester Wave, and they’ll score participants based on their current offerings and client needs.
Research Associate: The RA is the manager of the report process who ensures that things remain on schedule. They’ll also be the main point of contact for vendors throughout the process and will generally oversee product demos, customer interviews, and the general data gathering process.
Vendor Response Teams: These are the key contacts for each provider that Forrester works with on the report. They provide product information and demonstrations, give feedback on evaluation criteria, and suggest customers for reference. If a vendor should decide not to participate in the evaluation, then Forrester continues based on the Incomplete Vendor Participation Policy.
Customer References: Analytics customers may anonymously share their experiences with products and services that are being evaluated. This is generally conducted through a survey or over a brief call.
The Evaluation Process
Evaluation data consists of three primary inputs. The first is a questionnaire featuring the evaluation criteria. Providers have three weeks to provide the analyst with the information they need. The second input is two-fold. It consists of executive strategy meetings and product demonstrations. With this information, Forrester is able to see firsthand how each provider ensures a good customer experience and plans to improve their market presence. The final input is made up of interviews of customer references.
The analyst will then create a scoring scale based on what the “best in class” example looks like for each criterion. The Forrester Wave tends to weigh scalability and ease of development (both developing new or modifying existing software and its compatibility with APIs) most heavily, so a provider who scores high here tends to have a great outcome. Once this is complete, vendors will have an opportunity to fact-check their scorecards and inform Forrester of any errors. Five days before publication, each vendor will receive a courtesy preview of the report, and at this stage, it’s extremely rare for changes to be made.
When shopping for a streaming analytics provider, pay attention to those who are classified as industry leaders, and look for those leaders who have the highest score for criteria related to your organization.