The one constant in IT is change. This aphorism applies not only to the technology, but to people, processes, and organizations. Like the rest of IT, ESG’s validation services have been undergoing change.
In my last few blogs, I wrote about benchmarking tools and performance analysis because, for a long time, these were significant parts of our validation process.
So what’s changing? Faster CPUs, faster memory, faster storage—these technology changes can provide an overabundance of resources, and the underlying hardware for most IT products has been commoditized. For many of these products, custom software defines the value rather than custom hardware. More importantly, users value so much more than just performance. Vendors have multiple value propositions beyond speeds and feeds, and obtaining so-called ‘hero numbers’ is no longer sufficient.
This goes beyond just individual products. There are entire segments of IT—cybersecurity, networking, SaaS applications, public cloud infrastructure, etc.—where functionality, ease of use, TCO, integration, and other value propositions reign supreme, and where performance is an afterthought, if it’s of any concern at all.
Our validation analysts now spend considerable time working with vendors to understand each product’s specific value propositions and competitive differentiation, and devising creative methods to validate vendor claims.
IT organizations are driving these changes. According to ESG research, the top business initiatives driving IT spending are strengthening cybersecurity and cost reduction. The top five justifications for IT investments are improved security/risk management, increased employee productivity, improved customer satisfaction, return on investment, and business process improvement.
While performance, along with functionality, ease of use, integrations, etc., can impact each of these areas, TCO is a major factor. This is why our validation services have expanded from technology to economics.
Now, end-users get the benefit of both our technical and economic expertise to ensure products meet all their needs and requirements.
Keeping up with the industry’s latest changes, we have performed technical and economic evaluations of SaaS services, mobile solutions, cloud infrastructures, big data analytics, HCI systems, SD-WAN solutions, cyber risk management services, UEBA, CASB, and more. We are always exploring new products and services such as containers, serverless, and machine learning/AI.