While I find that first-hand research and speaking with customers is always the best way to get a pulse on the direction of things in the tech sector, there are a number of great technology analysts and research firms available today that focus on technology trends and general market analysis. I’m often asked about this by both colleagues and clients so I thought I would share some of my favorites with you in this post.
Before sharing my favs, I want to caution you. Every company is in business to turn a profit and that includes top technology analysts and research firms. Common sense would tell you that the larger and more established firms would be the most reliable, but that is not always true. Bias and accuracy can fluctuate from report to report as easily as firm to firm. Most technology analysts and research firms work hard to protect the credibility of their name, but bias towards customers, partners and established companies is almost always present even in quantitative research.
I find that the best way to level my findings is to utilize multiple sources. When I identify a trend or some piece of research that interests me, I almost always turn to the search engines to see what I find in trusted blogs, online periodicals and social media. I may even pick up the phone…old fashioned as that may seem…and see what my colleagues have to say on the matter. Only when I’ve distilled the data and buzzed through the buzzwords do I feel confident in sharing my findings with customers or utilizing them to make decisions that impact our own business model.
A few technology analysts and research firms that made “Robbie’s List”.
Gartner is a US-based research and advisory firm with over 1,600 researchers and consultants focused on providing information technology related insight targeting CIOs and senior IT leaders, marketing leaders and supply chain leaders. Gartner clients include over 10,000 large corporations, government agencies, technology companies and members of the investment community worldwide.
Gartner not only authors a massive amount of research, but holds some of the tech sector’s largest events. At the time of writing this post, Gartner has 36 major events listed on their website ranging from topics like security and risk management to supply chain, business intelligence and vendor relationships.
In my corner of the world, Gartner is best known for their “Magic Quadrant” reports where vendors are classed as leaders, challengers, visionaries or niche players by completeness of vision and ability to execute. I have always found the Gartner Magic Quadrant to be extremely valuable, but many question the overall accuracy and bias towards larger companies and even Gartner clients.
Although Gartner often makes older research available to the public, a company will need to make an investment either through a subscription or by purchasing individual deliverables to take advantage of their work. Many tech companies opt for the subscriptions not only to gain access to reports, but to gain direct access to Gartner analysts focused in their area through formal briefings.
Forrester Research (www.forrester.com)
Forrester is similar to Gartner in many ways, but is certainly much smaller with just over 1,300 total employees and around 2,500 customers. They provide proprietary research, data, custom consulting, exclusive executive peer groups, and events as well. As technology analysts and research firms go, they’re one of my favorites.
My experience may be different from others, but personally I have always found Forrester to be more friendly and engaging. I’ve spoken with a number of Forrester analysts over the years and have seen them attend local tech events often.
Forrester provides a broad range of coverage and has depth in marketing, sales and general business practices as well as technology. Great industry break-outs as well with some super smart analysts and consultants.
Forrester research seems to be less expensive than Gartner on the whole, but that doesn’t mean inexpensive. Research of this nature is never cheap.
Aberdeen Group (www.aberdeen.com)
Aberdeen Group is a technology and services company that helps tech sales and marketing executives distill smart data science into actionable moments. They help companies win through unique targeting capabilities (using the CI Technology Data Set), advanced analytics using their own innovative proprietary and public data sources, and their original and research based content engine.
What does that mean? It means Aberdeen caters to the lead generation side of the equation. Although I certainly wouldn’t classify them with Gartner or Forrester, I have noticed that they make much of their content available to the public and I have often found the answers I’m looking for in their deliverables.
IDC is a great outfit, but I’ve often found them too heavily focused on only the largest of companies. As a mid-sized company focusing on servicing both medium and large organizations, I often only find snippets of what I need in their content.
There is no questioning their position as a major technology analyst and research firm. They have been around for 50 years and have more than 1,100 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. They describe themselves as “the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets.”
Other Technology Analysts and Research Firms of note:
This is by no means a comprehensive list of technology research and analyst firms. I just wanted to share a few more links to places one might go when looking to find technology-related data or other insight.
I have visited each of these sites and learned from many of them, but have only formally engaged with some of them.
research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure.
conducts original research and deliver advisory services regarding the strategic and financial management of information systems.
research reports contained in CorporateInformation.com are produced on over 39,000 companies from 85 countries.
a leading business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events business serving commercial, professional and academic communities in many different sectors
First Research, Inc.
performs the “heavy lifting” by analyzing hundreds of sources to create insightful and easy to digest Industry Intelligence that can be consumed very quickly to better understand a prospect’s or client’s business issues.
Frost.com – Frost & Sullivan
Tracking over 1000 emerging technologies and analyzing the impact by industry and application to reveal the companies to watch in each sector
offers comprehensive insights and analysis of the IoT evolution, including analysis, data and expertise on everything from raw materials to networks to consumers.
provides a range of education products and services to institutions, governments and direct to individual learners, that help people everywhere aim higher and fulfill their true potential.
offers market research reports for the telecommunications industry
leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting, and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis® and Nexis® services.
leading market intelligence agency, with offices in London, Chicago, Shanghai, Belfast, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Munich, New York, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto
comprehensive collection of market intelligence products and services on the Web. We offer reports from over 720 top publishers and update our collection daily to provide you with instant online access to the world’s most complete and current database of expert insights on global industries, companies, products, and trends.
over 6,000 employees and delivers specialized information to companies operating in sectors including agriculture, consumer, commodities, energy & utilities, financial services, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, maritime, telecoms, media, and IT
works with CEOs, product planners and managers, research managers, product development teams and financial and business managers to provide advisory services, consulting and actionable market intelligence for emerging technology, mobile and wireless, digital consumer and automotive electronics companies
has over 100 analysts deployed worldwide, each providing critical and timely insight into the competitive dynamics of innovation in emerging technology segments. 451 Research’s coverage is organized and delivered through 14 research channels that cover digital infrastructure, from edge to core
Crowdsource Alternatives to the Big Research Firms
As you can see, most of these resources have one thing in common: They come with a price tag. While purchasing research can be extremely helpful, not everyone is ready to write a check just to validate an idea.
The internet is full of crowdsource alternatives like Experts Exchange, TrustRadius and Capterra. Check out this post written by Jaikumar Vijayan TechBeacon that lists “10 crowdsourced alternatives to Gartner Magic Quadrant, Forrester Wave”.
These sources are not only a great way to stretch your budget, but often come up with unique viewpoints that the more established technology analysts and research firms have missed.
Who have I left out?
As I said before, this is not a comprehensive list. I’m sure there are many resources not included here that would also be helpful to our readers. If you have a favorite and would like to share, please feel free to add a comment.
VP Services, SBS Group