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

Globoforce Engages Employees with Social Recognition

The use of social collaboration to support human capital management is increasing as the need to engage talent becomes a higher priority in organizations. In particular, those that have a growing population of workers from the millennial generation see social media as a primary means of communication. Social collaboration is growing in acceptance – 58 percent of organizations now permit it, according to our benchmark research on social collaboration and human capital management (HCM). For many organizations, this opens up communication with employees that goes well beyond electronic mail.

Promotions and other recognitions of achievement are critical factors in retaining talent components of employee engagement strategies. Employee recognition has been a focus for Globoforce for more than a decade. The company provides software for what it calls strategic recognition, which is now available via software as a service and cloud computing, making it easy for non-IT employees to deploy. Globoforce has a unique recognition social graph and provides metrics that can be used to determine management’s engagement level with its workforce. Enhancements to the software last year made it easy to deploy employee recognition feeds and to congratulate others with a single click. For mobile users the company released a native application for Apple’s iPhone, but it’s only available for customers at this point, with no demonstration version to enhance its visibility for others who might be interested. This year, Globoforce integrated social recognition with performance management through the introduction of talent maps, which use employee performance data to ensure that employee recognition is based on actual reviews. With these unique advancements in HCM Globoforce can complement existing deployments of talent management applications.

Establishing justification for social recognition might not be easy, but our benchmark in social collaboration found that the most important workforce metrics are employee satisfaction and retention rates – factors that should be components of a business case for investment. If your organization does not have metrics in place and perform root-cause analysis on methods for improving them, it is time to create them. You will also see how Globoforce is using workforce analytics and metrics as part of their offering to help deepen your competency as it relates to social recognition. Retaining and improving the potential of existing talent is a better path than losing experienced employees and spending time and money to hire and train them, which you must do if you fail to engage and retain your talent.

Globoforce’s challenge is to gain further recognition of its brand and product within human resources departments, and in lines of business that understand the importance of employee recognition. Providing a free trial would help – this is now a standard practice for social collaboration technology providers to demonstrate usability, and it is the most important evaluation criteria in social collaboration and HCM for 77 percent of organizations in our research. Seeing and trying is believing; Globoforce has developed some engaging capabilities, but it could do a lot better job of attracting potential buyers before engaging in a sales conversation, including on mobile technology such as tablets, where management and executives often evaluate new applications. My analysis shows that Globoforce spends significant energy to gain recognition from IT analysts, but it should focus instead on illustrating its value through demonstrations to the business audience including areas like customer services, sales and field service.

Globoforce advances social collaboration for HCM by helping organizations address recognition of achievements as part of their performance management processes. The company also can help them design appropriate processes that will work within their organizational culture, and provides the software to implement them. If you are serious about employee engagement and recognizing your talent, see how Globoforce uses social collaboration to advance the satisfaction of a workforce.


Mark Smith

CEO & Chief Research Officer