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Posted by Boris Evelson on January 22, 2009
Many years ago as I started researching and analyzing the differences between major BI vendors, one criterion that I always used was whether these vendors ate their own dog food. In other words, did a vendor executive team use the same solutions for data collection, building metrics and dashboards to run their own companies that they also tried to sell to their clients? Those who did tended to score higher in my evaluations.
The same guiding principle is applicable to Forrester: you have to eat your own dog food in order to convince the clients to buy your products and services. Hence, our methodologies, such as Forrester Waves are completely open and transparent (thank you, Doug Henschen, for recognizing this in your recent blog), and we encourage our clients to challenge us on every point made in our Waves.
I do get lots of requests to explain the way I rate this or that vendor in my latest BI Wave. While I will typically try to support and explain the way I scored each vendor, I also encourage our clients to just download our Wave spreadsheet evaluation matrix and put in their own scores. No matter how objective and transparent a Forrester analyst tries to be, there’s always a small element of a personal subjective opinion built into every evaluation. But a) that opinion is fully presented and described in detail in the Wave spreadsheet matrix, and b) clients that disagree with the rating are free to just change scores and weights in the model and come up with their own vendor ratings. In fact, in addition to just using our Waves for their primary purpose, there are several other ways Wave models can be utilized:
Research reports are great to kick start an IT initiative, but our clients also need so called “last mile” or “2nd phase” decision aids and accelerators. Recognizing this need we will continue to come up with more of such evaluation and selection decision tools for our clients. One example is our recently published Business Intelligence Data Architecture Decision Tool, which, unlike our Waves that are used to guide you through a vendor selection process, can be used to make vendor neutral analytical data architecture decision. In addition to BI, we plan to leverage this new decision tool for other enterprise architecture segments.
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