VB Intel Report Taxonomy
Each topical area such as marketing automation systems, mobile advertising platforms, CRM,
etc. will have its own section of the site.
The overall structure of report categories will follow the VB 360º information model:
transform (big strategic decisions, software evaluation, vendor selection, new business
strategies), operate (changing internal processes, best practices, resource allocation,
systems and people management, canned presentations and pitches, tactical choices) and
optimize (getting the most out of products, improving usage, leveraging features to improve
efficiency, optimization tactics, vendor negotiation strategies, FAQs, integration tips).
Additional categories are what we call information nuggets, targeted content like slide
presentations, document templates or boilerplate policies and contracts, and e-books, which
would be expanded coverage of a particular topic based on bundles of individual reports, but
knitted together with other content, editing to tighten the integration and transitions and
With such a broad range of content type, the length, detail, target audience and price of
each will vary as appropriate. For example, how-to material might be very limited in scope,
perhaps similar to FAQs one might find for free on the Net however with added detail and
vetted for accuracy.
In contrast, big strategic, transformative reports, could entail 30-40 pages or more of heavily
researched material targeted to C-level execs of the kind traditional IT analyst shops sell for
thousands of dollars. Our goal will be finding a mass market sweet spot to expand the
available audience beyond the Fortune 500 clients targeted by Gartner, IDC and Forrester.
One might look at VB Intel as the Kindle Store for quality technology contents. Instead of
selling short stories and novellas for a few dollars, it's how-tos, short slide presentations and
value-added FAQs for $10. Likewise, instead of $50 textbooks, it's broad strategic research for
a few hundred, while the bulk of titles, equivalent to the $10-15 range mass market book, go
The following is an outline of report topics in each of five major areas. Note, this list is quite
granular and could be condensed for purposes of organizational simplicity and/or Web site
navigability. Also, there’s likely more types of reports in each area.
Product or category overview:
Comprehensive survey of the market category, associated business problems/processes,
industry trends and vendor landscape
Cliff's Notes version of the above focusing on business problems, value to be derived
from technology, ROI considerations and competitive advantages.
Outlines methods various products in the category can be extended, different levels of
API support and other application development features.
Comprehensive buyer's guide:
Rundown of significant product features for a particular category, product
differentiators, and major vendors. Segments features into logical categories, target
users and roles (IT admins, management, end users, field personnel, etc.) and
affected business processes.
○ Segmented buyer's guides:
Focused reports for specific target markets (large enterprise, SMB,
startup/SOHO) and industries. May only include a subset of the total vendor
pool focusing on the product and features most appropriate to a particular
vertical, industry or size category.
Product and Vendor guide:
Similar to a buyer's guide, but focused on a specific vendor and their products; sort of
a mini-review. Drills into product features with SWOT analysis/pros and cons and
identifies target customers and opportune usage scenarios. Also maps
products/vendors onto the VB Intel product segmentation model by rating it on a 1-5
scale across five key criteria:
○ product integration (standalone to suite)
○ platform extensibility/composability
○ product innovation
○ product maturity (emergent to mature)
○ cost/target market (L, M, S)
○ [ todo: develop a clever graphical representation of a product's rating across
all criteria. Could be a radar chart, heat map, 3D chart ]
Could encompass a variety of topics including the application of new or hot
technologies to different businesses, business processes or to create new products and
services. Also could cover the competitive threats and opportunities from disruptive
technologies, services, products and new business models.
Similar to strategies, but would focus on the application of new technology, say data
driven predictive analytics, to a particular business problem, like customer support,
marketing automation, lead generation, etc. or industry/industry segment like small
retailers, local or regional service businesses (electrical contractors, graphic designers,
attorneys, etc.), large retailers. These would be industry and possibly size specific
planning guides on what to expect in a particular technology segment, how it will
affect the business and how to capitalize on the trend.
○ [Note: These might be combined with case studies with business scenarios
focusing on strategic material about the broader application of a product or
technology and case studies tactical details about specific situations and
Comprehensive product implementation guide:
[could also be a bundle of individual guides from the list below. These could be
further bundled and expanded into e-books for topics with sufficient interest and
○ Project management guide:
Building the project, may include templates that are also sold as 'information
nuggets' (below). Could also include a decision tree outlining the pros and cons
of DIY implementation versus contracting a VAR or consultant; i.e. when and
where to adopt either approach
○ Initial setup and configuration:
○ Ongoing management/system admin processes and best practices:
Review of necessary admin and management processes, team structure (for
managers), routine care and feeding how-to. Could include separate guides for
on-premise vs. SaaS/hosted implementations.
○ Integration guide:
Identifies the key systems a product is most likely to interact with, the
interfaces that can be used for data and process exchange and the necessary
integration steps and tasks.
○ Change management and user support processes:
Processes and best practices dealing with end users, developers and business
unit stakeholders. [Could be rolled into the ongoing system admin category]
Data and application security:
Details about security and data protection considerations, including developing DR and
business continuity processes, security policies, risk mitigation plans, audit guidelines,
Negotiating guides for vendors and service providers:
Pre-sales tips; sort of an Edmond's Guide to buying a particular product.
Vendor management guides:
Post-sales; getting the most out of technical and customer support, SLA guidelines,
product maintenance and subscription tips.
Data analysis and application metrics:
Guidelines and best practices around using data generated and monitoring the
application; includes extracting, reporting and analyzing data, along with logging,
auditing and monitoring system performance and usage.
Resource planning, cost analysis and budgeting:
Guides for performing ROI analysis, building project implementation plans and both
implementation and operating budgets. May include spreadsheet and project software
Application development guide:
Targeted reports on extending specific products in the category. May cover key APIs,
communication protocols, and data standards, and how these can be used, perhaps in
conjunction with other platforms, to create custom solutions.
Sample courseware (slides, videos, course outlines), comparative reviews of training
products and service providers.
Getting the most out of the product, 'hidden gem' features, cost-saving tips
Performance tuning and optimization:
Guide to improving product performance, reduce application overhead, improving
usage efficiency (getting more for less money).
Migration and upgrade guides:
Answers the question when to upgrade and when not? Provides information to make
upgrades more painless. May include specific migration guides from products A to B,
say for example migrating from Microsoft Project to Basecamp, or moving from
SharePoint to Huddle.
Narratives describing a particular business, group of businesses, or vertical problems
they faced, how they addressed them using the relevant technology, lessons learned,
successes and failures. Examples could be broad, using marketing automation software
to improve online retail sell through, or quite specific, like using using Marketo in a
This category includes content that is either very specific to a task, relatively brief and/or
templates that can be used for presentations, reports, checklists, product/vendor scorecards,
Selling the product or concept, training templates
Vendor evaluation checklists, product scorecards and weightings, data analysis report
Sample contracts, vendor agreements, SLAs, end-user policies
As an alternative to report bundles, a number of these reports could be combined, perhaps
with bonus material, into a more tightly integrated format to provide a comprehensive
overview of a particular category or product.
These could take cues from things like O'Reilly or 'For Dummies' books; e.g. The Definitive
Guide to Marketo, Step-by-step: Planning, Implementing and Using Hubspot, or Web and
Mobile Analytics for Dummies. While much of the content might exist separately in various
reports, these would add structure and narrative polish to guide readers through a series of