The main difference between Ovum, Forrester, and Gartner

The main difference between Ovum, Forrester, and Gartner

Ovum, Forrester, and Gartner are the three largest technology analysts in the world. Recently, two of the three, published reports and articles about DigitalMR and its platforms for social listening and online communities; we thought we should return the favour and speak highly of the two, while we shame the third.

They like to call themselves research companies, a bit confusing for the market research sector which is traditionally about surveys and focus groups. Their kind of research is different; the main customer of these three companies is the CTO/CIO of an organisation, as opposed to the consumer insights or MR (our customer) which usually sits under marketing.

A good place to start, when looking for definitions, is Wikipedia:

Ovum is an independent [1]analyst and consultancy firm headquartered in London, specializing in global coverage of IT, and telecommunicationsindustries. It began operations in 1985 and by 2005 claimed to be the largest technology analyst firm that was headquartered outside of the United States.[2]”

Forrester Research is an independent technology and market researchcompany that provides advice on existing and potential impact of technology, to its clients and the public. Forrester Research was founded in July 1983. Revenue: 300 MM US$”

Gartner, Inc. is an American information technology researchand advisoryfirm providing technology related insight headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, United States. The company was founded in 1979. Revenue: 2.021 B US$”

Ovum is probably the smallest of the three in revenue terms (no accurate number found), BUT according to its Wikipedia entry: “in 2012, Ovum was jointly named Global Analyst Firm of the Year [4] by the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR). Ovum was ranked higher than global players Gartner, IDC, Forrester and Frost & Sullivan across 8 out of 15 criteria, including objectivity of research and advice, ease and quality of consulting engagement, ease of finding and using research and value for money.”

Whatever their Wikipedia definitions are the bottom line is: all three are at their core technology analyst companies.

From the admittedly narrow perspective of DigitalMR, there is a very specific way to differentiate and rank the three companies mentioned in the title of this post; it may be a selfish perspective but it provided the excuse to return the favour to the two that wrote about DigitalMR. One of them wrote about both listening247® and communities247®, one wrote only about our online communities platform, and the third, neither/nor; I am sure you can see where this is going…:

  1. Ovum is ranked first as they discovered both our platforms and thought that there was something really unique about the way we integrate social listening with communities online.

  2. Forrester is ranked second because they only wrote about communities247, albeit twice. Even though we talked to them about listening247® and the fact that it delivers sentiment accuracy over 80% in any language and topic precision over 85% at the first hierarchical level, they did not find it important enough to inform their subscribers. I personally think there is a lot more innovation in listening247® than in communities247. A lot more R&D dollars (pounds) have gone into our social listening and analytics, but maybe Forrester is taking its time because it is much bigger (read less agile) than Ovum.

  3. You guessed it: Gartner published nothing about DigitalMR as of the date of publishing this post, thus depriving their subscribers from the best kept secret in market research: DigitalMR. I admit I could be a little biased (you know, being the founder and all) but the ranking is quite objective when it comes to the “metric” we chose to rank these three companies. Funnily enough, Gartner is 7 times the size of Forrester in revenues, which might explain the findings of this highly scientific research paper.

In summary:

  • Ovum discovered a large and rare diamond and shared it with their subscribers here.
  • Forrester discovered a precious stone but they do not explain its full value yet.

  • Gartner is keeping its subscribers in the dark when it comes to social listening and online communities combined. 

If you are not an Ovum or a Forrester client you can still buy the reports about DigitalMR for a few hundred dollars by clicking on the links above.

I kind of like the fact that we have turned the tables on them. Up until now, only they had the prerogative to write about us technology companies; this has changed forever as of today . Beware technology analysts who think of yourselves as research companies, this is (hopefully) the first of many articles and reports from tech companies (your targets) about YOU.


P.S. The Gartner logo is no longer displayed in this blog post following an email from the Office of the Ombudsman at Gartner, asking for it to be removed. Frankly we believe that any publicity is good publicity and Gartner may be behaving like a sore loser :) in this case!


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