Here in the northern hemisphere, school is now out and two things are certain: students are heading out for summer vacation, and they have received their final grades from the school year. In the world of PIM, the same is true — except for the vacation part; the need for PIM never takes a day off! But PIM vendors do get evaluated, and that is exactly what happened recently. PIM vendors have two “teachers” who evaluate us — industry analysts and customers.
The Analysts weigh in
Industry analyst firms provide different kinds of services to technology buyers and vendors. At a high level, industry analysts typically identify technology trends and business needs, size and track markets, research and evaluate technology vendors, and advise end-user clients. For their end-user clients, industry analysts can be a valuable resource to help match end-users with technologies that will best serve the technology initiatives the end-user has. In the PIM market, there are three analyst firms that recently published reports on the leading PIM vendors. Each analyst documents their methodology and explains how they scored the vendors who qualified for inclusion. How did your favorite PIM vendor fare?
Forrester publishes The Forrester Wave: Product Information Management approximately every two years. The newest version was published in May 2021. The Forrester Wave analyzed the top 10 vendors in PIM along a set of 15 criteria grouped into three categories: current product offering, vendor strategy, and market presence. All criteria are weighted and scored by the Forrester analysts based on interviews with vendors and reference customers, and research by the analysts. In “The Forrester Wave™: Product Information Management, Q2 2021” report, Akeneo appeared for the very first time. We are named a Strong Performer. You can read more about their analysis and our take on it in our post about the Wave, and also download a copy of the report.
IDC is well-known for its quantitative analysis of markets worldwide. But they also have a robust industry analysis practice. In December 2019, IDC published the “IDC MarketScape: Worldwide PIM Applications for Commerce 2019-2020 Vendor Assessment” report. IDC also researches vendors, speaks to customers, and analyzes vendors along similar axes of current capabilities, strategy, and size of the company. In the 2019-20 report, IDC analyzed 14 vendors and designated five leaders. This was our very first industry analyst report appearance, and Akeneo was named a leader.
Hot off the press is an update to this report entitled “IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Product Information Management Applications for Commerce 2021 Vendor Assessment” – and we’re proud to say that, among the 16 vendors covered in this analysis, Akeneo was again named a leader in PIM by IDC. You can download a free copy of the newly released IDC MarketScape here.
Ventana publishes a vendor analysis called a Value Index. In their Value Index approach, Ventana takes the point of view of an end-user customer and creates a lengthy and rigorous RFP (request for proposal) about the PIM product. It is very detailed and requires a significant commitment from the vendor to complete, and also includes customer reference checks just like the other analyst research. The 2021 PIM Value Index covered 16 vendors and was released at the end of May 2021. In this analysis, Akeneo was named one of three Overall Value Index leaders. Ventana further categorizes vendors into four classifications, with Akeneo earning the highest “Exemplary” rating. Check out the press release from Ventana Research that recaps the scoring and ratings from the PIM Value Index and then read details about Akeneo’s score in Ventana’s analyst perspective blog post.
The Customer Point of View
While the analysts all do customer reference checks, there are many, many other software evaluation websites where PIM shoppers can get even more opinions and grading about the myriad PIM solutions available on the market. In general, these software evaluation websites are great places for end-users to get an unbiased view directly from users of the tools they are researching. However, not all of these sites perform any in-depth research like the analyst firms, and vendors may or may not be in contact with these sites. Here are some links to a few examples:
G2 tracks PIM vendors and offers a handy grid to identify how they rank vendors based on input from customers. Akeneo is listed as a Leader on this popular site.
Capterra is now owned by Gartner, a well-known industry analyst firm that also owns the Software Advice and GetApp review sites. Gartner also offers Gartner Peer Insights on their website. Akeneo currently has a 5.0 rating on Capterra.
Featured Customers showcases vendors’ customer stories, testimonials, and videos, and has a methodology to rate vendors based on this information.
How should I use all this information?
As you can see, there is no shortage of opinions and grades about PIM software! But as nearly all these resources say, you should use these sites as only one input into your software selection process. Use these resources to create shortlists of vendors to evaluate, and then seek to understand which tool fits best for your business case. Even the analysts themselves do not recommend making a technology selection solely based on their opinion. If you’re a client of Forrester, IDC, or Ventana, reach out to them, explain your business scenario, and get their advice on who would be a good fit given your specific PIM business requirements.
And do your homework!