IDC employs a number of assets that set us apart from other market research firms. Our
comprehensive coverage promotes understanding of multiple industries. Additionally, our
"glocal" research model, which is our study of both local and regional markets "on the ground,"
helps us to understand the nuances of local country markets while improving our global
coverage. By promoting research standards and methodologies worldwide, we ensure
forecast and analysis consistency across a wide range of geographies and coverage areas.
Our market contact demonstrates that unlike most of our competitors, we conduct a significant
amount of primary demand–side research to bulwark our analysis. Our analyst tools make our
analysts' forecasts and analyses more systematic. And, our foundation research developed in
the areas of hardware, software, services and internet penetration acts as a reference for all
Any one IDC research area uses an interlocking web of tools and methodologies to support its
analysis of the future. They vary by area, but the principles are the same. They include
research, hypothesis, refinement, and documentation. It is our analysts and the research
methodologies they employ that set IDC apart.
IDC has developed a set of standards to guide analysts. These standards consist of the
documentation of methodologies used and forecast assumptions, projections from only
surveys that are statistically sound to ensure only objective and accurate data is used,
validation and "sanity checks" to help provide boundary conditions for major forecasts,
implementation of standard definitions across geographies and coverage areas, and the use of
common analytical tools to ensure consistency.
At IDC, we recognize our duty to preserve objectivity, integrity, and independence in the creation and dissemination of our research and analysis.
We are committed to avoiding bias and conflicts of interest. Our internal policies are designed to enforce the objectivity of our research agenda, analysis, and opinions. In addition, IDC employees are committed to supporting the highest standards of ethics in every aspect of the operation, and conduct business in a manner that is fair, honest, and lawful.
For certain document types, technology buyers and vendors are permitted to review IDC research prior to publication to assure factual accuracy. The review varies in duration based on the type and length of the research document.
Methodologies to Fit Market Segments
Although IDC maintains a philosophy of fitting the methodology to the market segment, all of
our studies share a core set of methodological elements and approaches. These elements
consist of demand-side data, data integrity cross-checks, global data collection and analysis at
regional and local levels, verification and updating of segmentation, supplier models,
distribution channel models, analysis of external drivers and linkages, and vision of the future.
IDC takes pride in the amount of demand-side surveys we conduct to support our supply-side
research with vendors and the channel. IDC's Global Research Organization oversees a
network of over 40 demand-side research specialists in all major regions. Demand-side
survey techniques include traditional random-digit-dial phone surveys, web–based and email
surveys, cluster and factor analysis, lead user research, focus groups and mall intercepts,
interactive polling, personal interviews, conjoint studies, and diary studies. While we are not a
"survey house" per se, we do believe we set the standard for integrating demand-side
research into normal analytical processes.
IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys and the input of a review board of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores, and ultimately vendor positions on the IDC MarketScape, on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, publicly available information and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor's characteristics, behavior and capability.
IDC's Foundation Research
In our core areas, we have developed five major pieces of foundation research that go to the
heart of much of our market analysis. These research tools are IDC's trackers (quarterly
views of shipments and market share), IDC's software market forecaster database (a
compilation of revenue estimates for over 1000 software companies worldwide), IDC's
services spending model (a classification and methodology for sizing services markets in
countries and regions), the IDC Worldwide Digital Marketplace Model and Forecast (a model
of global ad spending, Internet usage, commerce, and devices), and the IDC Worldwide Black
Book (a roll-up of IDC market and service forecasts across 58 geographic territories in 30
technology and service categories).
Market Sizing and Forecasting Methodology
IDC's most fundamental research mission is to accurately assess and forecast the size and
shape of the key IT market segments. The first step in market sizing and forecasting is data
collection. IDC uses a variety of primary and secondary sources for sizing and forecasting
markets including, but not limited to, interviews with IT vendors, public financial records,
historic market data, and user surveys. The next step is the entry of demand- and supply-side
data into proprietary models of market segments in order to generate IDC market data and
forecasts. Then, the preliminary values in the market model are validated using a number of
different procedures. And lastly, the market models are adjusted accordingly.
Elements of IDC Market Models
Each IDC market database is fed by real-world data and benefits from our unique worldwide
data collection and surveying capabilities. Field data is then processed through a proprietary
operational model of the market segment. The components of a typical model include: market
segmentation, pricing and transaction model, distribution model, vendor business and revenue
model, forecast of market trends, linked and driving markets, demand-side spending, and
expanding/contracting applications of technology.
IDC endeavors to document the assumptions behind each of our forecasts. We have
developed an internal tool called the IDC Assumption Builder. Key to the IDC Assumption
Builder is the development of a mental model of the market being forecast, which includes
assumptions about the economy, supply, the labor force, etc. The IDC Assumption Builder
makes it easy for an analyst to document his or her assumptions in each sector of the mental
model, determine those that actually drive the forecast, and highlight the assumptions that
have the power to radically alter a forecast if expectations change.
The Importance of Analysts
For all the strength of our analytical tools, research methods and standards, and foundation
research, it is our analysts that will put it all to work analyzing the future on behalf of our
clients. We have made major investments in analyst training and in tools to facilitate
collaboration and research. Our analysts, our methodologies, our tools, and our processes
are the elements behind our claim to help clients "analyze the future."