A Guide to The Forrester Wave™: Intranet Platforms Q2 2024 - Customizing the Results to Your Needs

June 11, 2024

Forrester has published an updated version of its The Forrester Wave™: Intranet Platforms, Q2 2024, which offers a valuable resource for companies evaluating their employee communications and engagement needs with an up-to-date perspective on the market. While it might seem tempting to simply take a quick peek at the Wave graphic to get an idea of how the various vendors in the market stack up, there is a far more valuable way to use a Forrester Wave (and evaluations like it) to get a more customized and personalized view to your needs. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to effectively use the Forrester Intranet Platforms Wave report to find the best vendor for your organization’s needs. We’ll start with a high-level overview of The Forrester Wave™ and its methodology, ensuring you understand the foundation of these evaluations. Then, we’ll provide our opinion and perspective on the Intranet Platforms market and offer some important considerations to keep in mind as you read this report and any other evaluation of intranet vendors. 

There is limited information we are able to include on our website about the report, as it is Forrester’s intellectual property. If you have a current Forrester subscription, you can download the report now on Forrester.com. Given our limitations in what we can cite, the majority of what is included in the below is MangoApps opinion and perspective on the research and is not to be considered an endorsement by Forrester.  

So, let’s get started on this journey to finding the perfect intranet platform for your organization!

The Forrester Wave™: Intranet Platforms, Q2 2024

Overview

The Forrester Wave™ is a guide for buyers considering their purchasing options in a technology marketplace and is based on Forrester’s proprietary analysis and opinion. As part of every Forrester Wave™ process, Forrester follows a publicly available methodology, which can be reviewed in its entirety on the Forrester website. 

The report highlights Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders, and Challengers in the intranet platforms market. It’s an assessment of the top vendors in the market and does not represent the entire vendor landscape. Forrester intends this evaluation to be a starting point only and encourages clients to view product evaluations and adapt criteria weightings using the Excel-based vendor comparison tool, which Forrester clients can download along with the report on Forrester.com.

Evaluation Summary

Forrester defines an intranet platform as: A trusted digital source of corporate communication and content designed to educate and empower employees and improve their digital workplace experiences. Forrester’s evaluation for Intranet Platforms is based on a scorecard of 28 criteria, grouped into three high-level categories: Current Offering, Strategy, and Market Presence. 

It’s important to understand all of these criteria so that you can get a clear understanding of how Forrester is evaluating each vendor, and why certain vendors were scored a certain way. This will also help you in customizing the research to your specific needs, by evaluating each criteria in the report and how important those capabilities are to your needs. 

Forrester clients can access the full list of the criteria along with explanations for each, by downloading the full report on Forrester.com (subscription required).

Included Vendors

As part of its research process, Forrester identified the 13 most significant Intranet Platforms providers and researched, analyzed, and scored them. The report shows how each provider measures up and helps technology architecture and delivery professionals, along with their internal communications peers, select the right one for their needs.

The 13 vendors included in the report are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Akumina
  • Appspace
  • Firstup
  • Haiilo
  • Igloo Software
  • Interact
  • LumApps
  • MangoApps
  • Microsoft
  • Simpplr
  • Staffbase
  • Unily
  • Workvivo

Customizing The Results to Find the Best Vendor

Selecting the right intranet platform for your organization is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your internal communications, employee engagement, and overall productivity. The Forrester report is an excellent starting point for this journey, but to make the most of it, you’ll need to follow a few steps to ensure you find the best fit for your unique needs. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this process effectively.

  • Step 1: Review the Entire Report: Start by thoroughly reading the Forrester report. This will give you a comprehensive understanding of Forrester’s view of the current market landscape. Pay attention to the high-level insights and summaries that provide context about the strengths and weaknesses of each vendor. Understanding Forrester’s overall perspective will help provide context for how they evaluated the vendors so you can make more informed decisions as you delve deeper into specific scores.
  • Step 2: Download the Scorecard Excel Sheet: Forrester provides its subscribers an Excel-based vendor comparison tool that accompanies the report. This tool is invaluable for customizing the evaluation to better match your organization’s specific needs. Those with an active Forrester Research subscription can download this scorecard along with the full report on Forrester.com.
  • Step 3: Customize the Criteria Weighting: Every organization has unique priorities, so it’s essential for Forrester subscribers to use the Excel tool to adjust the criteria weightings to reflect what matters most to you. For example, if integration capabilities are critical for your business, you can increase the weight assigned to that criterion. Conversely, if a particular feature is less important, you can decrease its weight. This customization helps create a personalized scorecard that aligns with your specific requirements.
  • Step 4: Analyze the Personalized Scorecard: Once you’ve adjusted the criteria weightings, review the updated rankings in your personalized scorecard. This customized analysis will likely show a different ranking of vendors compared to the original Forrester Wave™ graphic. By tailoring the evaluation to your needs, you’ll have a clearer picture of which vendors are the best fit for your organization.
  • Step 5: Use the Customized Rankings to Shortlist Vendors: With your personalized rankings in hand, identify the top vendors that meet your criteria. These shortlisted vendors should be the ones that score highest in the areas most important to you. This shortlist will serve as the foundation for your next steps in the evaluation process, such as requesting demos, conducting trials, and seeking user feedback.

By following these steps, Forrester subscribers can leverage The Forrester Wave™: Intranet Platforms, Q2 2024 report to find an intranet platform that not only aligns with industry standards but also fits your specific needs and priorities. This approach ensures that you make a well-informed decision, setting your organization up for long-term success.

MangoApps Perspective 

While we have the utmost respect for Forrester’s opinion and perspective on the market, and we have no intention of arguing the scores it assigned to MangoApps or any other vendor. We do, however, wish to offer some perspectives and context that we think is important to keep in mind as you review the report and its respective scorecard. 

Remember, the report graphic is dictated by a scorecard of 28-criteria. Forrester has set the weight each criteria carries on the vendor’s overall scores based on its general view of the market. It also represents an opinion based on a fixed moment in time, right now, and it’s crucial to consider the future and implications of AI and how that will influence the market going forward. 

Important Capabilities to Consider

Below are some of our perspectives that we think are important to keep in mind as you read the report and evaluate vendors. These perspectives are categorized by specific capabilities that we think will play an important role on the market going forward as well as evaluations like The Forrester Wave™, keep these in mind as you review.

Artificial Intelligence

We suspect that Forrester’s weighting related to AI capabilities is because Generative AI is still relatively new, and organizations are still unsure of how Generative AI will specifically impact various technologies. It’s understandable to underweight a new technology like this - however, we think it deserves a much higher weight for this market in particular simply because it has the potential to radically change various criteria in this evaluation. We see GenAI having the potential to significantly impact several other criteria. 

In our view, GenAI has the potential to influence 70% of the criteria in the report, as such we think it would be more than justified to significantly increase the weighting of this criteria to account for its influence in the future. For transparency, MangoApps was given the highest possible score in the criteria for Generative AI as well as the criteria for AI and/or machine learning. 

Search

Search is a key component of any intranet and will continue to be for years to come. However, the search paradigm is rapidly evolving to be more conversational in nature, and we think it’s likely that the current method of intranet search will quickly shift to this new paradigm. We feel that criteria related to this capability is likely to be completely flipped on its head in the next 12-18 months, which we also suspect will have a meaningful impact on vendor rankings. Generative AI and natural language technologies will play a major role on this transformation, as such we feel it’s important to consider capabilities and vendor scores as it relates to these technologies as they are likely to have a significant influence on the Search experience going forward.

Internal Communication vs. Collaboration

Forrester places a higher weight on internal communications capabilities than those of collaboration, which we think is a misbalance. It’s not that internal communications is not important, in fact it’s central to the purpose of an intranet in the first place. But, Forrester’s criteria in our opinion is more about top-down communication. And, in our experience an intranet for the sole purpose of top-down internal communication will have challenges in adoption and employee use. It will become difficult to defend the budget for a tool like this, and it’s a fast track to going back to email for internal communication. 

However, when employees are using the intranet as part of their workflow, to collaborate and progress initiatives, it becomes a more strategic tool that is far more indispensable to the employee experience. As such, we think collaboration capabilities deserve to be at least on an equal plane with those for internal communications, if not slightly above. For transparency sake, MangoApps received the highest possible score in Collaboration. 

Strategy Criteria

The strategy scores, which determine where a vendor is placed on the Y-axis of the report graphic, is where Forrester’s opinion carries the biggest weight and influence. These criteria scores are primarily influenced by the opinion of the analyst themself, and in the case of this report it is essentially one person’s opinion across many different vendors. While MangoApps received generally high scores in this area, we still think it has a high potential for bias that favors cash-backed vendors that operate at a significant loss in the name of growth and can thus invest more heavily in analyst relations. 

At the end of the day, and for good or bad, more money and resources lead to more influence. With criteria that are heavily dependent on opinion to dictate a quantifiable score, those cash-backed vendors can use that influence to shift opinions in their favor. We are not insinuating this has happened specifically in this instance, nor are we accusing anyone of nefarious gain. We simply think it’s important to acknowledge this tension and the potential for bias does exist and should be considered. 

Our Perspective on Methodology

Lastly, Forrester has a limit on the number of vendors it can give a score of 5 in each criteria. While it’s not explicitly stated in any materials or its research methodology, the limit does exist. This means that even if a vendor meets the requirements for a score of 5, they may arbitrarily be given a score of 3 by the analyst. The vendors that are able to get a 5 versus those that are deemed to get a 3 are at the discretion of the analyst’s opinion. The potential for bias comes into play with this as well, and it’s unknown what the limit is or how standardized that limit is applied across the criteria.

We feel this unwritten limit to the Forrester methodology leads to an arbitrary and artificial evaluation of vendors that is less indicative of their current offerings and the real value they bring to the market, and more indicative of their ability to have influence over the market. In an age where technology can do so much to enable us to analyze and come to conclusions, and the broad influence that reports such as these have on buying decisions, we think it is imperative that Forrester and other research firms of the ilk move beyond Excel-based questionnaires to guide its research and evaluations. 

In our view, these research processes have too many gaps that leave vendors open to bend reality and the analyst has no way of verifying the truth. Again, we are not accusing any vendors in this report of any deceptive behavior or insinuating that any vendor doesn’t deserve the score they received. We simply think it’s important that the broader market recognize and acknowledge these potentials exist naturally. We hope, for the sake of every vendor big and small, that these types of evaluations can move beyond the realm of influence to provide the market a more objective and transparent view that better guides important buying decisions with far reaching consequences. 

Other Helpful Resources to Guide Your Search

While The Forrester Wave™ is one of the more recent perspectives published on vendors in the intranet market, it’s by no means the only resource available. Here are some additional resources and places to go to help you with your search:

  • ClearBox Consulting Intranet and Employee Experience Platforms Buyer’s Guide: This 862-page report is by far the most comprehensive buyer’s guide available in the intranet and employee experience platforms market. ClearBox spends hundreds of hours every year assessing some of the best intranets, employee experience platforms, and internal comms tools against ClearBox’s own rigorous framework. The latest edition includes assessments of 34 systems, 20 of which are robust reviews against 8 business scenarios. A free download is available on our website here
  • Gartner Magic Quadrant for Intranet Packaged Solutions, Q4 2023: Similar to Forrester’s report, Gartner published its first Magic Quadrant for Intranet Packaged Solutions in November 2023. 15 vendors are included in this evaluation and if you are a Gartner client you can access its accompanying Critical Capabilities assessment that evaluates the vendors across 6 distinct use cases. If you are a Gartner client, you can access the report in the Gartner research portal here
  • Review Sites: Several of the more reputable review sites have a category dedicated to Intranet platforms, including:

Good Luck in Your Search!

We know that finding a new employee experience solution is a uniquely daunting endeavor - with tens of vendors clamoring for your attention, with a lot of similar messaging, it can be hard to decide what solution best fits your needs. We hope this guide proves to be a helpful resource for you to use to evaluate vendors for yourself. 

Explore MangoApps!

Fortunately for you - you’ve found yourself in the right place already. Our all-in-one Employee Experience Platform connects and engages your entire workforce. Your employees will enjoy a seamless blend of a modern intranet, engagement tools, and smart workflow apps in one central hub, helping them to streamline communication and enhance efficiency.

MangoApps employee experience platform

Our team is eager to connect and collaborate with you to find the precise solution that fits the needs of your organization today, with a solid foundation for the future.