We’ve swiftly moved through their rankings to now sit firmly in the “Leader” position in each of their reports, which has shot commercetools’ reputation in the commerce industry through the roof. But why are these analysts’ so well-respected in the tech industry? What value do they bring to the companies that subscribe to their reports? And by what process do these analysts come to their conclusions?
In this article, we’ll mostly focus on the big three analyst firms that cover enterprise technology: Gartner, Forrester and IDC. Their analysts are responsible for understanding all of the different technologies and challenges that are in a specific space, and they author evaluative reports on these topics. Of course, there are hundreds of other analyst firms that are out there, and they all go through similar processes when composing their reports as the above three, and bring their own unique value propositions to the industries and companies they serve.
Out of all the analysts out there, Gartner is the biggest, oldest and most well-known. Therefore, they tend to be the go-to for the big Fortune 500 companies and their reports carry significant weight. Next on the list is Forrester, another large and highly regarded firm that focuses more on leading-edge technology. Last but not least is IDC, an analyst firm that is smaller and newer, but has proven their value by having a remarkable data set on buying trends.
What do analysts actually do?
In order for analysts to write reports and recommend vendors, they go through a meticulous process. Vendors that meet the qualification criteria are determined by two primary things: are they a meaningful brand in the marketplace? And do they offer a meaningful solution everybody should know about? To determine this, analysts first send vendors a lengthy questionnaire about company size, revenue, employee numbers and queries of that nature.
Next, the analyst will receive a product demo from the vendor which they will then intensively evaluate in order to authenticate that the product does what the vendor says it does, the quality of the product and its value in the marketplace. Finally, vendors have to provide a number of references (companies that are using the vendor’s product) and the analyst will follow up with these references with questions. From the information that has been gathered, the analyst will write their report and rank the vendor.
In a more general sense, analysts like Gartner are thought leaders in the technology space. They have their eyes on what trends are rocketing forward, and define specific terms like composable commerce. Not only do they evaluate markets, they help to create the market itself and validate the key players in it. Analysts follow vendors over the course of many, many years and monitor the specific space that they’re in. And what’s more, companies can’t pay for a higher placement in their rankings or market themselves in analyst reports. In other words, analysts provide a completely unbiased, impartial evaluation.
How analysts benefit vendors
On the vendor side, analysts view their responsibility as counsel; they want to make sure that the vendor is informed about whether or not their product and pricing is competitive so that they will go to market in a strong position. Because analysts spend such a significant amount of time researching and talking to experts in the field, as well as enterprises asking them what they want, they can give advice to vendors so that they can build better products and be more successful in the marketplace.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of all that vendors receive from analyst reports is the spotlight placed on them if they do well – and the interest they receive from businesses because of that. Simply put, ranking in an analyst report from the likes of Gartner, Forrester and IDC is a big deal. The analysts basically create an easy shortlist of vendors that companies should be looking at, and if a vendor is outstanding enough to attain a “Leader” ranking, that’s like saying that specific vendor can best fulfill what any business needs in that technology space.
How analysts benefit companies
Let’s face it: with a little bit of marketing, a vendor can easily pretend to be something they’re not. The slick website that claims to have dozens of experts to serve your best interests could really be one guy operating from his parent’s basement. It’s the analyst’s job to protect your company from situations like that and provide accurate, in-depth assessments about vendors, as well as verify their claims. For this, analysts provide independent verification – so that you can be sure that the vendor that claims to be the best at what they do, really is.
Another source of value for companies is how analysts serve as their sherpas in the technology space. Because businesses are only making buying decisions every now and then, there’s really no way for them to keep up with the intricacies of the technology market, such as what the newest tools are, what trends are coming into play, what challenges should they be concerned about and what technologies they should consider.
Analysts also offer a personal touch – if your company needs more clarification about a report or recommendations that fit their specific needs, they can call that analyst who wrote it and have a conversation. Their core responsibilities include providing decision-makers within a business with guidance regarding how to solve their challenges and ensure that they make great buying decisions with the technologies available in the marketplace.
Analyst reports are great third party validation that our company and our product are as good as we say they are. I’m thoroughly impressed with the breadth and depth of these evaluations and am confident they’re a comprehensive assessment of vendors and the space in its entirety.
Chief Product Officer, commercetools
Want to read the full reports? Here you go: IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Headless Digital Commerce Applications 2020-2021 Vendor Assessment, Gartner’s 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce and Forrester’s The Forrester Wave™: B2C Commerce Suites, Q2 2020.