Ventana Research Technology Innovation Awards Are More Than Cool

In the realm of technology that matters for business and IT, our firm as part of our responsibility continually assesses the latest technology and how it can impact organizations’ efficiency and effectiveness.2013_Tech_Innovation_Award Our benchmark research in technology innovation found that 87% of participants indicated the importance of increasing the organization’s value through technology innovation. Every year we take our knowledge from research and technology briefings to focus on our Technology Innovation Awards and determine the vendors and products that have the potential to drive change in the market, the competitiveness of an organization’s business and sometimes just how efficiently a company operates. Our firm believes that Innovation can come from any size technology vendor from the smallest to the largest that are measured on a spectrum of attributes that contribute to the specific impact of the technology.

Our process with the Technology Innovation Awards is to separate out and find the vendors and products that have innovative technology that has the most potential and might be game changing or what might be just a necessity for organizations to use to compete in the market. We methodically assess and score those technologies according to more than 26 categories, and then rate and validate within each category to determine the winner of the Technology Innovation Award. Our methodology looks at the relevance of key aspects of technology, including people, processes, information and technology, along with any best practices for applying the technology and the resulting potential impact and benefits to organizations. To apply an additional lens on the technologies being assessed  we also employ the technology evaluation categories (functionality, capability, reliability, manageability, adaptability, TCO and ROI, and vendor validation) that we use to methodically assess vendors and products in our Value Indexes. This year we have kept a closer eye on usability of technology and where it can have use across a larger number of individuals in an organization or easier to use for a specific set of people or department, as our research found that usability had the highest level of importance for technology and vendor consideration in 64% of organizations.

Our award categorization makes it self-evident where the technology is relevant and is part of our research focus that is built around innovative technology, as I previously outlined. In the end our Technology Innovation Awards are not just about being a cool vendor but about having innovative technology in either a shipping product or one coming to market in the near future that is worth recognition.

According to our research, almost half of organizations (49%) are planning to change the way they assess and select innovative technology for business and IT through 2014. With that backdrop let me introduce you to the Technology Innovation Award recipients for 2013 so you can see for yourself what technologies could change how your organization operates significantly.

Business Technology

Business Innovation

Operational Innovation 

IT Innovation

If you want to learn about technology innovation and see examples including from ones that received a Technology Innovation Award, come to our Technology Innovation Summit. At the summit you’ll learn why it’s critical to assess innovation and look beyond what you are doing today to determine where you can make changes to drive improvement. Our research found that organizations are changing the way they evaluate innovation technology mostly to drive business improvement initiatives (60%) and improve the quality of business processes (57%). If you want advice or guidance to help you leverage technology innovations, just let me know, as we are always happy to help organizations be smarter and faster.

Congrats to this year’s award recipients for innovations that are worthy of our recognition and your time to see where they might help your organization.


Mark Smith

CEO & Chief Research Officer

IBM Opens a Page for GRC

IBM has announced its intention to acquire OpenPages, a privately held, Massachusetts-based software company focused on governance, risk and compliance (GRC). I noted that after the deal finishes, the business will reside within IBM’s analytics group rather than in document management; this arrangement signals IBM’s intention to integrate its collaboration and communications around performance management (and achieve a fusion of text and data) and sharpen the ability of OpenPages to get an audience with finance and IT organizations, which are mainstays of IBM’s business analytics efforts after its acquisitions of Cognos, SPSS and others.

As I’ve noted, the acronym “GRC” was popularized by IT industry analyst firms in the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to establish a revenue-generating category. Given this self-serving origin, it’s not surprising that it took the market most of the past decade to begin to catch up to the initial hype. But it is catching up. I think that the “risk” aspect will continue to be the biggest driver of the enterprise GRC market because most compliance requirements are addressed by focused point solutions and “governance” is an amorphous concept that is mainly addressed by risk and compliance management applications.

The active side of enterprise risk management involves identifying the important risks that an organization faces and ensuring that people understand what they are and their potential impacts. Organizations must become able to measure when the probability of a risk event passes a certain threshold. They also need to establish plans for preventing undesirable events from occurring or mitigating the impacts if they do. Having the ability to collaboratively create, update and revise documents is a big part of managing risks because too often this sort of knowledge is tacit and not easily shared.

I believe the biggest opportunity in enterprise compliance management is in documentation, especially in the fusion of text and data for the creation of internal and external reports. An important piece of compliance efforts is to create accurate and complete documents that declare that an organization has homologated regulatory requirements and with them an evidence trail that demonstrates sufficient diligence in these efforts. This alone has real value to many large and some midsize companies. It’s useful to the finance department, which must file Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulatory documents. But I think it also has value in creating internal reports that may have a bearing on any future compliance issues (especially if these require the fusion of text and data).

The acquisition of OpenPages has the potential to pay off since IBM has greater sales and marketing muscle, an established banking practice (where OpenPages has an established risk management presence) and the resources to extend the existing product to take advantage of the IBM software portfolio in ways that were unavailable to the stand-alone company. On this last point, once the transaction is completed, I would expect to hear a lot more about specific product-extension and services plans and how a range of IBM’s analytics and other capabilities will help expand the portfolio. This is an important step for IBM to acquire technology it can build upon and use to compete better against Oracle and SAP, which have well-established GRC products.

Let me know your thoughts or come and collaborate with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


Robert D. Kugel CFA – SVP Research