About the Ventana Research Buyers Guide & Its Inclusion Policy

The Ventana Research Buyers Guide is an assessment and research of how well vendors’ offerings address buyers’ requirements for a particular category of software. The Buyers Guide, which we have prepared for more than two decades, is structured to replicate an RFI/RFP process by incorporating all criteria needed to evaluate, select and deploy technology and maintain relationships with vendors.

We have designed the Buyers Guide to deliver objective independent research and guidance to organizations looking to assess and evaluate their applications and technology for business and IT needs. The structure of the Buyers Guide reflects our understanding that the proper evaluation of vendors and products involves far more than just examining product features, potential revenue, or customers generated from marketing and sales. Instead, the guide provides an extensive evaluation of software in seven key categories. Five are product-related: usability, manageability, reliability, capability, and adaptability. Two are customer experience-related categories: vendor validation and total cost of ownership and return on investment (TCO/ROI). 

The Buyers Guide is not an abstraction; Ventana Research uses a carefully crafted research and best practices-based methodology called the Value Index to represent how organizations actually assess vendors. We believe it is important to take this approach since making the wrong decision can raise the total cost of ownership, lower the return on investment, and hamper an organization’s ability to reach its performance potential. This approach can reduce the project’s overall duration and eliminate the risk of placing it on a shortlist of vendors that are not the best fit for your organization. 

All vendors that offer relevant products and meet the inclusion requirements are invited to participate in the evaluation process, at no cost to them. If a vendor does not respond to or declines the invitation, a determination is made whether to include it in our analysis based on our defined set of inclusion criteria. These criteria are designed to ensure we include in our evaluation vendors’ geographic operations, customer base, and revenue as well as all relevant aspects of the products’ fit for the category being evaluated. If a vendor is actively marketing, selling, and developing a product as reflected on its website that is within the scope of the Value Index methodology, it is automatically evaluated for inclusion. We have adopted this approach because we view it as our responsibility to assess all relevant vendors whether or not they choose to actively participate.

To ensure the accuracy of the information we collect and that the Buyers Guide reflects the concerns of a well-crafted RFP, we require participating vendors to provide evaluation data across all seven categories. Ventana Research then validates the information, first independently through our knowledge base of product information and extensive web-based research, and then in consultation with the vendors. 

The Buyers Guide is designed to be independent of the specifics of vendor packaging and pricing and whether the products are priced or sold as part of a suite or bundle or individually. To represent the real-world environment in which businesses operate, we include vendors that offer suites or packages of products, as the relevant individual modules or applications must still be evaluated by those responsible for those business processes. We take no position on the offering approach of the products or packages being offered; where options exist, organizations using the Buyers Guide will need to decide whether they choose a suite of products or individual applications that best meet their requirements. 

We urge organizations to do a thorough job of evaluating vendors and products that are referenced in any Buyers Guide and use our in-depth analysis and evaluation methodology. The Buyers Guide can also be used to evaluate existing suppliers and also provides evaluation criteria for new projects; applying it can shorten the cycle time for an RFP and selection process.

Ventana Research has designed the Buyers Guide to provide a balanced perspective of vendors and products that are rooted in an understanding of business drivers and needs. This approach not only reduces cost and time but also minimizes the risk of making a decision that is bad for the business. Using the Buyers Guide will enable your organization to achieve the levels of efficiency and effectiveness needed to optimize your processes and systems.