Is The Gartner Magic Quadrant Really Magic?

09 Oct 2018

It sounds like the sixth form breakout area at Hogwarts but in fact, the Gartner Magic Quadrant, in their own words ‘offers visual snapshots, in-depth analyses and actionable advice that provide insight into a market’s direction, maturity and participants.’

Fair enough. There’s nothing wrong with listening to the opinions of experts, especially when the financial outlay is slightly more than doing market comparisons for a new washing machine.

As a practical example, you’re the IT Director of a decent-sized firm and you’re looking to upgrade your enterprise network firewall, you’d go to Gartner’s website, find this document. Then, you’d read the helpful summary which says ‘Next generation’ capability has been achieved by the products in the network firewall market, and vendors differentiate on feature strengths. Buyers must consider the trade-offs between best-of-breed function and costs.’

Nice. Then you pay $1,995 for the actual report which will tell you what are, according to Gartner, the best enterprise network firewall businesses out there.

How Does It Work?

The global research and advisory firm rates vendors using two criteria – completeness of vision and ability to execute. Naturally they won’t reveal their methodology but they score vendors and once there’s a score, the vendor gets a position in one of four quadrants (you won’t be surprised to know it’s called the Magic Quadrant):

Leaders (top right) – these are the vendors with the leading market share, credibility and the best sales and marketing capabilities that can drive buyer’s acceptance of their technology.

Challengers (top left) – these are vendors who pose a threat to the Leaders quadrant with strong products, a growing reputation and market position as well as resources to develop into Leaders.

Visionaries (bottom right) – these are vendors with innovative tech products that solve end-user problems but who haven’t yet demonstrated profitability or gained a meaningful market share.

Niche Players (bottom right) – These vendors focus on very specific verticals as well as those who have had to adapt existing products or large vendors who have had trouble executing a vision

But Isn’t This For Huge Companies With Bottomless Pockets?

Well yes and no. For one thing, each report costs $1,995 each (or £1,530) so there’s that to consider but questions are being asked as to whether information of this sort is of real value or just a marketing gimmick.

For the big players, it’s obviously useful for them to know the strengths and weaknesses of their competition (and their own for that matter) but for smaller business who need cloud security solutions, it’s a minefield.

Bruno Aziza, Chief Marketing Officer at big data firm AtScale says that ‘Reducing an industry down to just a few vendors, while trying to help technology buyers make the right bet for their company is both a scary and complicated endeavour!’

He’s right, and that’s why firms like Koncise Solutions exist.

Gartner have come under scrutiny recently with some suggesting that they cater more for the vendor than the buyer. Much of the criticism centres on their lack of disclosure and transparency about the money the get from the vendors they rate, leading to inevitable conflict of interest questions.

Buyers will naturally gravitate towards vendors in the Leaders quadrant but that doesn’t mean those in the other three are worth disregarding.

Dr Neil Pollock at the University of Edinburgh Business School has done years of research on ‘industry analysts and IT Research firms [and] there are some interesting conclusions to be reached on how industry analyst firms are exerting influence on IT vendors and their product markets.’

His report is detailed and very well-researched but he’s essentially saying that ‘by applying their [Gartner’s] methodologies to describe a market, they change that marketplace to fit their tools.’

So How Do Smaller Companies Pick What Cloud Solutions To Use?

Last week, we saw a post on LinkedIn by Stu Hirst, the Head of Security Engineering & Cloud Security at PhotoBox who simply said ‘If you pick security solutions ‘because Gartner’ you’re doing it wrong’.

Then he sat back and waited for the comments to arrive. There were plenty of valid points coming down on both sides of the argument and it’s worth reading the thread for a balanced viewpoint but then you’ve got to make your own mind up based on the evidence presented to you.

And that got us thinking…

That’s EXACTLY what we do.

When clients come to us for cloud solutions to make them more secure, more productive, more efficient and/or more profitable, we present them with the facts as well as our professional advice and opinion and they decide, based on those facts, advice and opinion whether to buy.

There is a slight difference though.

In order to get the facts as well as our advice and opinion, you don’t have to pay £1,500 for the privilege, you don’t have to wade through unbelievably complex reports and you don’t have to get lost in a sea of massive corporate bureaucracy and when that’s all done, you’re still unsure whether they’re right for your business ‘because Gartner…’

We can do it over a coffee instead. We prefer it that way. We’re not at the behest of any vendors so the advice you get is impartial, it comes with integrity and it’s delivered to you with your business interests as the focus, not ours.

We’re at the end of the phone. We’re the guys who will implement the solution. We’re the guys you call when there’s an issue.

We could write you a borderline unreadable 75-page report and charge you £1,500 for it but frankly, we can’t be bothered. We’d rather drink a decent coffee and tell you about our cloud solutions for free instead.

For all things cloud, email or call +44 (0) 20 7078 0789 and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Have a good week.

Koncise Solutions

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