Making Sense of Analyst Reports
ISIS Papyrus Process and Communication Platform has been recently evaluated both for its content and its process capability in two independent reports by Forrester Research about Customer Communications Management (DOCCM) and Dynamic Case Management (DCM). These acronyms are unfortunately quite confusing. I do prefer CCM and ACM after all.
ISIS Papyrus was rated a leader and strong performer in various categories in both reports. Our platform was rated as having the strongest current offering by far in Dynamic Case Management (see the above graph), despite participating in the wave for the very first time. Three years ago we were classified as not being a ‘vendor of interest’ in the prospects eyes. Well, to see something you first need to look.
In its second time in the Customer Communications – DOCCM evaluation, ISIS Papyrus Software has been named
“a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Document Output For Customer Communications Management, Q1 2014”. Calling Papyrus “an adaptive platform with exacting results,” the 2014 Wave report for DOCCM cited ISIS Papyrus for its:
- Full application lifecycle platform and framework
- Great flexibility
- “Framework” solutions to reduce implementation
- Sweet spot where language complexity and exact rendering of content is essential
- Consolidated data model across CRM, ECM, DCM and CCM in a core repository”
So all in all I should really be happy and yes, I am proud about the — even so quite late — recognition. We have after all been innovating the CCM market for twenty years and in DCM for five. Therefore working with analysts isn’t always easy for me. The main reason is that each individual has his/her own way to evaluate and judge whatever they see … if they see it. Until you figured out what an analyst is looking for, you have been ‚evaluated’ and need to live with whatever they come up with. Analyst like categories, as they call boxes. You are either in or out. Once you are in the box you are supposed to stay there. You can move about a bit as they see you fit, but you CANNOT jump out. We were told that we are a customer communications vendor and that was it. How could we suddenly want to compete in the BPM domain without acquiring another leading BPM vendor? No Sir, it is simply not done.
Don’t get me wrong because I am not negative about analysts per se, just realistic. After having worked with them for some time, I truly think that being an analyst is not a fun job and I would not want it even for a lot of money. Imagine that they have to deal with people like me all the time! They have to listen to vendor pitches all day and discuss the oh-so-obvious IT strategy questions with people who should really know. It must be tough to find a way to cut through the clutter and do it without upsetting the vendors who pay them a lot of money. Clearly, analysts are adamant that the amount of money a vendor spends has no influence on vendor ratings, but that is simply not true. I am not saying that the fees paid are payoffs, but it is related to the various ways that a vendor can be present or important in the eyes of the analysts. Dedicated analyst relationship staff, analysts conferences, joint market studies and pay-to-play research do make a difference. It all costs top dollars to put you in front of their eyes and make a vendor look relevant. Size and market penetration are additionally always the most important aspects in rating a vendor.
On the other hand I can vouch that money had no influence on our rating at Forrester. We cancelled our advisory contract with Forrester Research two years ago. Being far ahead of the curve, we did not see the benefits. We did have conversations with them about users looking for more ‚pre-baked‘ user interfaces, but Forrester had no suggestion how to balance that with flexibility. We did in the end solve it through pre-defined solution frameworks. Ready-to-use vertical solutions are a great sales tool too, but in the end each and every buyer has a long list of things they consider special and will want to have implemented. So our flexibility as rated top by Forrester is after all essential.
Now both reports on Customer Communications Management and Dynamic Case Management are very good reports and not just because we came out top. The main reason is that the lead analysts are both excellent. Craig LeClair, with whom I had my disagreements at times, is THE leading authority on CCM and Derek Miers, with whom I always get into deep, deep stuff in terms of technology, really gets what ACM/DCM is all about. Not just a few ad-hoc tasks here and there, but true user empowerment from the rock-bottom grass roots. Both really know the markets they cover.
Being rated a ‚LEADER’ in a ‚Wave’ only means that the points as weighted by Forrester added up to that overall. Buyers MUST make the effort read the small print too. But I am in tune with our ratings as we are not a mega vendor or a US vendor. Analysts have certain expectations of a typical go-to-market strategy and we just work differently. So, that alone takes the two points off our rating that would have made us the overall leader in DCM too. I am fine with that. And prospective buyers need to do their homework anyway. One vendor who was rated a leader in the DCM Wave and to have a better market position and strategy than ISIS Papyrus in the DCM market was in bankruptcy by the time the report came out and had to be rescued by a customer and management buyout with the help of an investment firm. Not a fault on Forrester’s part as they do not look at a vendors financial statements. Caveat Emptor!
Here some more information from the reports. We are limited in what we are allowed to say so I simply use a direct QUOTE: “ISIS Papyrus drives adaptive innovation in the DCM market. It is a Strong Performer overall but a standout Leader in the runtime tool weighting.”
ISIS Papyrus Software has been named a Strong Performer in “The Forrester Wave™: Dynamic Case Management, Q1 2014”, published March 28 to help enterprise architects select the right solution to support launching and scaling enterprise-wide DCM.
Overall, Forrester found that advancing DCM products offer more to businesses, implementers and end users. Highlighting two new emerging adaptive features that will help enterprises tackle increasing volumes of varied and unstructured work, Forrester Research, Inc. evaluated 13 software vendors across 38 criteria. Forrester identifies and defines the two adaptive capabilities as key differentiators in the DCM market as:
- Design Time case management emphasizes control over highly repeatable processes
- Runtime case management supports use cases where the ultimate paths are highly variable”
In the evaluation of DCM vendors, ISIS Papyrus received a Strong Performer positioning in each of three Wave evaluations for Overall Capabilities, Design Time Capabilities and Runtime Capabilities, based on its scores in Current Offering and Strategy. Profiling Papyrus as
“a powerful development platform that can be targeted at a number of process problems,” the 2014 Wave report for DCM cited ISIS Papyrus for:
- Flexibility of its platform for runtime behavior
- Emphasis on business terminology and goal orientation
- Patent for a user-trained agent (UTA)
- Provides recommendations and training based on the latest knowledge gained in case handling
So how valuable are analyst reports such as the Forrester Wave? I think they are a valuable additional resource when selecting vendors. Forrester also has a great tool on their website that allows you to set your own weightings for all product categories and therefore identify your own ‘leaders’. But NOTHING can replace the results one gets from a proof of concept installation. Would you buy a car without a test drive just because it had a good rating in a car magazine? Describe your business case as well as you can and ask the vendor to show you all essential functionality. While we can install our vertical solution frameworks in one day, ‘out-of-the-box’ products just reduce the IT effort on installation. What you really need is SIMPLICITY for the business users. To achieve the business benefits content, user interface and processes must be adaptable using business terminology, user stories and goals rather than flows.
The Forrester Wave report will be available to registered users from our website.