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The BOOM! that Led to the DCIG TOP 5 Reports

Ever since DCIG started blogging around 2008, its blog entries primarily covered enterprise cloud, data protection, and data storage. However, DCIG has needed for some time to better explain why it does what it does. In other words, “Why does DCIG do research in the manner it does?”

To address that question, DCIG has created a new section of its website called Behind the Curtain. This section contains entries where DCIG talks about its activities as well as the analyst products it offers and how it delivers them. This entry focusing on DCIG’s rationale for producing DCIG TOP 5 reports serves to launch this section of the website.


AdobeStock 78027977 Boom Resized

Many individuals familiar with DCIG often became acquainted with DCIG through its Buyer’s Guides. DCIG released its first ever Buyer’s Guide DCIG in 2010, the DCIG 2010 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide.

In hindsight, this report exceeded even my wildest expectations and of the company (Nexsan) that licensed it. It later shared with DCIG that it generated over 20,000 registered downloads of that Buyer’s Guide. Further, it believed that it distributed over one million copies of the report electronically. Believe me when I say this. Everyone in the “know” about enterprise technology knew about that Buyer’s Guide.

To put those numbers in context, the industry generally considers any article on enterprise technologies that receives 500 views successful. Achieving a few thousand, much less tens of thousands of downloads plus hundreds of thousands of views was almost unthinkable. In other words, the DCIG Buyer’s Guides served as a big BOOM! to help launch DCIG.

The Investment

While tremendously successful outwardly, producing each Buyer’s Guide required a tremendous investment behind the scenes. Before DCIG even started writing a word in any Buyer’s Guide, it literally spent hundreds of hours:

  1. Identifying products in a market segment
  2. Identifying and listing the key features of these products
  3. Creating a survey with questions and answer options to capture the feature data
  4. Evaluating the merits of each feature
  5. Appropriately weighting each answer
  6. Researching and evaluating each product
  7. Completing the analysis

Only after doing this leg work did DCIG create a data sheet for each product, prepare the written analysis, and publish the Buyer’s Guide. DCIG made this investment dozens of times in producing various Buyer’s Guide on different topics for a decade. While each Buyer’s Guide was impactful when published, the technology industry evolved.

During this time, DCIG came to better understand how enterprise users consumed these Buyer’s Guides. Some wanted all the technical details the Buyer’s Guides offered. On that aspect the Buyer’s Guides arguably delivered better than any other analyst product ever produced. However, many more of the readers primarily had one objective when reading the report: identifying the top product or products to consider for purchase.

The TOP 5 is Born

TOP 5These factors led DCIG to create the TOP 5 reports. Behind the scenes, the DCIG TOP 5 reports resemble the Buyer’s Guide process in many ways. DCIG analysts still go through all the Buyer’s Guide steps listed above. However, DCIG made some notable changes in how it prepares and publishes the TOP 5 reports. Three specific changes it made were:

  1. Evaluates fewer products. DCIG Buyer’s Guides would often evaluate 30, 50, or even 100+ products. While exhaustive, it was equally exhausting and, sometimes, unnecessary to evaluate that many offerings. Many offerings in some Buyer’s Guide did not routinely compete against one another. The TOP 5 reports take a more focused approach. Each one evaluates ideally no less than 12 offerings that routinely compete against one another.
  2. Identifies five “winners”. Knowing which offering is the “best” or #1 sounds great in theory. However, buyers should get competing bids. Sometime the technical difference that exist between the TOP 5 are less than their price differences. Knowing the TOP 5 offerings helps them solicit bids from providers with comparable offerings.
  3. Write-up focuses on the TOP 5 offerings. DCIG produces each TOP 5 report with the intention of helping an end-user make a buying decision. Buyers want to make a buying decision. They want a list of the TOP 5 offerings and the differences between them. The TOP 5 report delivers on those buyer’s expectations.

TOP 5 Reports: DCIG’s Flagship Offering

DCIG’s experience with the Buyer’s Guide and the feedback it received on them led to DCIG creating the original TOP 5 report. Now in their third year of production, they have already become DCIG’s flagship offering.

DCIG still continues to produce other custom analyst content. These include Technology Reports, Executive White Papers, Product Reviews, and Competitive Intelligence Reports. However, DCIG focuses much of its analyst efforts on producing TOP 5 reports. They have the greatest impact on end user buying decisions. It helps them quickly evaluate multiple offerings and come to a defensible decision without needing to thoroughly research all of them.

Keep Up to Date with DCIG

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Technology providers interested in licensing DCIG TOP 5 reports, having DCIG produce custom reports, or receiving samples of any of these reports, please contact DCIG for more information.


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