Starting the Forrester Wave: White Label Social Networks and Community Platforms (Part 1/4)

Blogging the status of my research agenda has become an efficient way for me to communicate with the market I cover, as well as signal to clients new areas of expertise.

Fortunately, much of the market I cover (or their PR firms) read this blog and my tweets (and vice versa), making my job as a researcher very, very efficient.

Many weeks ago, I made a call for the vendor product catalog in this market, (and via email and twitter) that document, is a detailed index of over 40 vendors in the space, (aprox 50% of the market) and will be available to Forrester clients and those who submitted to it in the coming days.

My research agenda for this quarter is to complete a Forrester Wave (learn more), which is a market segmentation and prioritization report that will help clients (Fortune 5000, Interactive Marketers) determine which vendor is right for them. (I get asked daily in one medium or another who to buy). The primary purpose of this report is to aid my clients to efficiently come to a short list or decision on who to buy. The lingering side effects could also signal to the VC space who to fund, as well as within the industry who will want to partner from a CMS, ERP, CRM, widget, services aspect.

Due to the rigorous methodology (there will be thousands of excel cells created, analyzed, and weighed among our team) The Wave will only include several vendors. During this 10 week process, I’ll be following the guidelines set before me (we’ve done many Wave reports) this consuming activity will meet my entire report coverage for the entire quarter. This coupled with the changes in our team, will keep me very busy, I hope it doesn’t impact my other duties, as well as blogging.

From time to time, I’ll post updates about where I am in developing this product (reports are one of our products), in that spirit, I’m now whittling down the big list to the core vendors that can stand the rigors of enterprise requirements (Fortune 5000) and are primarily suited for interactive marketers (mainly external deployments) who I serve.

If you’ve already submitted to the vendor product catalog, I’m already reviewing with the team. However, if you have an extensive track record for the Fortune 5000 interactive marketer (perhaps with references), and did not submit, you ought to let me know, email me at jowyang at . I’ve already reached out to a few who I think could qualify.

You’ve already shown that you know what analysts do, but how we do it is a shrouded mystery, so now, you’re getting a behind the scenes tour as I trek forward –a little transparency should help you to better understand what we do.

Read more about this Wave Research project:

Part 1: Starting the Wave
Part 2: Data Collection Process
Part 3: The Analysis Process
Part 4: Announcing the Wave, the final report

  • apoorv

    Would you be sharing on your blog the final shortlisted vendors that get into the report?

    Anyways – have a good time doing this.


  • jeremiah_owyang

    Yes, that’s usually public info, see for example this public summary of this recent report:

    “CERTPOINT Systems, Cornerstone OnDemand, GeoLearning,, Mzinga, Oracle Learning Management (OLM), Oracle PeopleSoft, OutStart, Plateau Systems, Saba, SAP, and SumTotal Systems.”,7211,37146,00.html

  • apoorv

    thanks. I understand it’s public *after* the report is published :)


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  • Romain

    Thanks for sharing behind the scene info on how you do manage the analyst work at Forrester. It’s really interesting and I hope you can share more and more to make your work more and more collaborative and iterative.
    But since you’re making this work for Fortune 500 (5000?) business, is there any hope reading your opinion about white label social networks and community platform? Sure it would be a great help for entrepreneurs willing to connect with their customers.

  • jeremiah_owyang

    Note: Do you read the trackback from Carter Lusher, he extracted an important sentence, thanks Carter for reading so carefully.

    Romain, My research is somewhat collaborative. Well, it certainly is internally, there are teams that work together to create each report.

    If you’ve watched carefully, there’s a reason I ask so many questions on my blog, make lists, and allow for feedback –I’m already doing collaboration.

    Yes, it’s Fortune 5,000, not just Fortune 500. The good news is you can purchase the report (any report) on the website for a few hundred dollars. Anytime I mention buying something, I also mention that if for some reason you’re not satisfied, we’ve a money back guarantee. I feel so good about saying that, as I know it means customers will be satisfied.

  • Carter Lusher

    Thanks Jeremiah. I and other AR professionals appreciate your candor and openess about how you conduct research and what you are working on. Keep up the good work.

  • Carter Lusher

    A comment on “money back guarantee”. Forrester is the only analyst that I know of — and SageCircle tracks many firms — that offers a formal “money back guarantee.” This was initiated in early 2005 about the time of the Gartner acquisition of META Group, so in part it’s a bit of marketing.

    Regardless, Forrester deserves kudos for standing behind its products and offering to return money if the client feels that the research was not worth cost.

  • luis carbajo

    Thanks Jeremiah for this posting, I’m one of your regular readers but with all my recent traveling I wasn’t able to keep up, so this reminder is great. At, we missed the first call for submitting our details for your vendor catalog but I’m going to send you all our information. I hope we are not so late in the process to be analyzed by you and your team. In any case, we are looking forward to see the results of your report, it’s clear it will define this new industry.

    Luis Carbajo
    VP Business Development
    rSitez, Inc
    Create your own social network within minutes!

  • jeremiah_owyang


    Please email sglass at and CC me. We’ll send you the sheet.

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  • Don Neely

    A belated comment – Consider the value of linking social networking solutions, such as integrating IBM Lotus Connections, a social networking solution designed for the enterprise, with external social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Skype. This following site provides a practical example and “how to”

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