Gartner Magic Quadrant – Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) The IIAR is a not-for-profit organisation established to raise awareness of analyst relations and the value of industry analysts, promote best practice amongst analyst relations professionals, enhance communication between analyst firms and vendors, and offer opportunities for AR practitioners to network with their industry peers. Fri, 27 Nov 2020 11:19:32 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 76177372 [GUEST POST] Gartner Announces pilot to handle mergers & acquisitions updates for Magic Quadrants Wed, 26 Feb 2020 22:11:51 +0000
Gartner Magic Quadrant

Gartner today announced a new, limited pilot for flagging significant mergers, acquisitions, major corporate changes that are considered impactful for a Magic Quadrant.

The research giant is frequently criticized for being slow moving in reacting to mergers and acquisitions so it’s to be commended for rolling this out. If you’re a major player in a Magic Quadrant and you were acquired after the MQ was published and that acquisition is very helpful for your company, it feels like a very long, long year before it’s updated again and you get “credit” for the thrilling event that just happened. Similarly, if one of your competitors just got swallowed by some known doofus overlord who has no vision for the acquisition, never invests in companies they buy, you’re licking your chops at this highlighting this news. In short, this is Gartner taking the pragmatic view that major acquisitions and mergers are important to flag for customers to consider in their buying decisions.

The pilot kicks off today and will end in Q3 2020. It affects only 11 Magic Quadrants to start with, so double check your market before panicking and pestering Gartner with questions on this. Gartner announced it by proactively inviting players in the 11 MQs in a conference call today. If it goes well, don’t be surprised to see this rolled out to all MQs eventually, which is why this high-profile pilot is worth monitoring, so proactive analyst relations managers know what to expect later, as our industry is rife with mergers and acquisitions.

I like the measured approach Gartner is taking to flagging important deals that impact a market. It’s not resorting to something radical such as updating dot positions abruptly and issuing a new MQ on short notice just because of one deal. Instead Gartner will issue a 1-2 pager about what happened, why it’s impactful, and it will be prominently flagged when anyone reads that MQ later so the reader can take that into account when reading the MQ.

Gartner is being considerate in giving vendors pre-publication review for fact checking (remember, it’s a privilege, not a right!) and vendors have two days to respond to short drafts so they’re not caught off guard and can work with Gartner to correct anything egregiously wrong in the drafts.

The escalation process is still the same, so if you’re having a heart attack while reading the draft, you’ll know what to do. It’s Gartner’s call on whether a particular deal is worth writing about, so don’t be that clueless vendor who thinks the world revolves around you and automatically assume your deal is worthy. You can of course attempt to make the case, as that’s our job as analyst relations managers.

You can get more information about the pilot at this Gartner web page.

Kudos to Gartner for introducing this. I certainly wouldn’t want a return to the old days of FirstTakes when analysts caught up in M&A fever would forget to be sober business consultants and instead acted like excitable journalists and popped out an inflammatory note without much thought. But mergers and acquisitions can impact a Magic Quadrant and it’s nice to see this incarnation of reflecting current events is more deliberate and thought out. 

Peggy O’Neill / VP Analyst Relations, Informatica,  (@pegoneillLinkedIn) is Vice President, Industry Analyst Relations at Informatica and has suffered and celebrated many an acquisition with Gartner over the years.

Guest IIAR> posts by Peggy

IIAR> Best Practice Paper by Peggy

IIAR> community involvement from Peggy

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[GUEST POST] IIAR Webinar: ‘Tis the season for Gartner Methodologies Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:19:06 +0000 On September 7th, the CCgroup AR team joined IIAR’s latest webinar on Gartner methodologies with by David Black (LinkedIn), MVP Methodologies & Content Engagement at Gartner and moderated by Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovicLinkedIn), from the IIAR Board. David spoke about the firm’s research methodology behind reports such as Magic Quadrants and Critical Capabilities. The AR community has always been tuned in to Gartner’s research calendars, with “Every season is Magic Quadrant season” being the mantra shared by many. As such, many AR professionals were keen to learn more from David. Whilst emphasising Gartner’s move towards more openness, he was happy to answer more in-depth questions which have unsurprisingly focused on the Magic Quadrant and Gartner’s perception of itself amongst other firms.David also offered valuable insight on Gartner’s research validation process. Our main takeaways were:
  • The Gartner Methodologies team now covers IT procurement.
  • Vendors included in a Gartner MQ are at the pinnacle of their market and inclusion criteria is now heavily weighted how vendors market themselves, so the more SEO the better!
  • Critical Capabilities reports offer a deep dive into a particular vertical market or technology.
  • Trends for Magic Quadrants include more Peer Insights relevant for each Magic Quadrant report (currently stands at over 45,000 reviews).
  • The number of vendors included in the Magic Quadrants is determined by analysts – for BI it has now gone up to 37.
  • Gartner’s remit continues to expand due to constant M&A and organic growth.
  • Gartner will ask for specific customer references for each type of report, as criteria will vary. E.g. the customer references shared for a Magic Quadrant will not extend to vendor-specific or Vendor Profiles reports.
  • NB: Gartner’s ‘magic’ benchmark for customer references for Magic Quadrants is between 5-7. Getting requests for additional references? Query why with the analyst team.
  • Gartner encourages users to raise any questions or voice concerns on the research process for different reports directly with them at

In summary?

I was pleasantly surprised by the progress made by Gartner to increase its clearness and transparency. The firm has evolved into a more approachable and open organisation which aims to help AR professionals throughout the Magic Quadrant season – and beyond.

Want to hear more?

The slides and recordings are available on Huddle for IIAR Members > 1709_Gartner_methodologies Suzannah Archibald (LinkedIn, @suzannah_a) is the Head of AR at CCgroup, a full-service marketing and communications agency based in Central London. 

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IIAR Webinar: Gartner Research Methodologies including the Magic Quadrant Tue, 30 May 2017 09:13:40 +0000 Join David Black (LinkedIn), Gartner‘s Managing Vice President for Methodologies and Customer Engagement for an interactive conversation on the industry’s most famous and talked about research methodology -the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

In this discussion moderated by Ludovic Leforestier, Influencer Relations Director at Criteo and IIAR Board Member(LinkedIn, @lludovic), David will cover how the largest industry analyst firm plans which market to cover, what the methodology entails and involves, how it ensures impartiality and accuracy.
We’ll also cover the impact of Gartner Peer Insights and touch on the recent addition of Gartner‘s Customer Choice Awards.
Don’t miss out, register today. Note this event is free for IIAR Members and is restricted to Analyst Relations Professionals only, all attendees will need to register with a company email address and will also be required to identify themselves upon dialling in. If you would like to attend in person you may do so, however the face to face discussion is subject to the same rules as the Webinar. If you have any queries on this event please use the contact form below.
When: Thursday 7th September 2017, 1600 -1700 BST  ***NOTE: NEW DATE***



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The IIAR Tragic Quadrant for 2017 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:49:40 +0000 Two years ago, in 2015, we produced the first IIAR Tragic Quadrant. It was met with much enthusiasm and comment, thus we have decided to repeat the exercise once again this year. Below we present the Tragic Quadrant for 2017. The Tragic Quadrant is compiled from data collected as part of the 2016 IIAR Analyst of the Year Survey, where, annually, we invite analyst relations professionals to rate individual industry analyst and the firms they work for. This year more than 100 different individual organisations responded to our survey. We were interested to see if we could do further analysis on the data that was collected.

In producing the Tragic Quadrant what we sought to do was to rank analyst firms according to three criteria. We chose these criteria because this is what the IIAR survey asks respondents to assess:

  • Impact: The Y axis depicts the ‘Impact’ of the industry analyst firm on the purchase decision. This also relates to their perceived credibility and capability to provide an objective opinion.
  • Relevance: The X axis marks their ‘Relevance’ for the purchase decision. This means their capability to cover the market and their specific geographical allocation. It also includes public recognition of their presence in the market (e.g. as an expert).
  • Interaction: The size of the bubble is ‘Interaction’. This relates to issues of communication (e.g. how easy is it to get to them and to talk to them).

The IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2017 featuring Gartner, IDC, Forrester, 451, Ovum, ESG, Machina, Crisp, Constellation, HfS

IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2017

We are able to represent the top 10 industry analyst firms according to this new analysis. Gartner is “up and to the right”, which means that it leads in terms of impacting purchase decisions and relevance (e.g. their analysts know their stuff).

However, the small size of its bubble indicates that analyst relations professionals think Gartner is amongst the hardest of analyst firms to do business with out of all the analyst firms represented. Close behind is Forrester and IDC. The size of IDC’s bubble merits attention, as it was reported to be “one of the most flexible firms” to deal with, to use the words of one of our respondents. All three firms more or less maintain the same ordinal position in the top right quadrant as last time (see the Tragic Quadrant for 2015 below).

Other notable developments is HfS which has improved its ‘relevance from the previous Tragic Quadrant but it is perceived to be slightly less impactful by analyst professionals. Ovum and 451 Research maintain more or less the same position with regard to the ‘Big 3’, but 451 has overtaken Ovum in terms of relevance, whilst Ovum has made a dramatic improvement in terms of ease of interaction. Constellation remains more or less in the same position as last time. New entrants this year into the Tragic Quadrant include Machina and Crisp Research, with the former, by some degree, perceived as the most flexible of analyst firms to work with by analyst relations professionals.

IIAR Tragic Quadrant for 2015

The IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2015 featuring Gartner, IDC, Forrester, Ovum, HfS, Constellation, 451 Research, Celent, Pac, ESG, Digital Clarity Group, Ventana, SMB Group

For those who have not come across the Tragic Quadrant before, it gets its name from the infamous GartnerMagic Quadrant’ of course. We see it as a kind of ‘Magic Quadrant of Magic Quadrant’. We are not claiming that it is the results of an exhaustive study. Nor do we pretend that the Tragic Quadrant is a completely serious piece of research. (There is a clue in the title “Tragic”). Nonetheless, we do think the data collected – and note, that we now have Analyst of the Year surveys stretching back several years – throw some interesting light both (a) onto the changing nature of the industry analyst landscape and (b) how analyst relations professionals view the analyst ecology. It is demonstrating that in engaging with analyst firms IT vendors are balancing the requirements for these firms to have ‘impact’, ‘relevance’ and to be ‘easy to work with’.

Analyst relations professionals could therefore use a tool like this to look at their target audience engagement strategies. It would encourage them to balance ‘ease to do business with’ against ‘relevance’ and ‘impact’. To say the same thing in different words, they shouldn’t brief analysts just because they’re easy to deal with. Or, conversely, they should approach those analysts which are less of a pain depending on the type of impact the AR professional is looking to achieve (see the AR SOSM model).

Analyst firms might also use this tool to monitor the ‘transactional tax’ that they impose on analyst relations professionals. If they raise the ‘interaction barrier’ too high (e.g. make it too difficult for analyst relations professionals to interact with them) while not providing sufficient coverage and showing impact, this could affect their vendor information source. They may be left with only a partial view of the market (raising exhaustivity and fairness issues). Finally, their vendor revenues might suffer too.


By Fabio Rocha (LinkedIn), Ludovic Leforestier (LinkedIn@lludovic), Neil Pollock (LinkedIn@neilpollock).


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Constellation and the curse of the (not so) magic quadrant Fri, 14 Oct 2016 00:17:03 +0000 At the beginning, the intent was pure.Gartner Real Quadrant
Industry analysts, more specifically the buy-side “prescribers” exist to help technology buyers (often referred to as end-users) select the best vendors and providers. They gather insights through public and private sources such as (semi-)private vendor briefings and conversations (inquiries) with their end-user subscribers. Some analysts take hundreds of briefings and inquiries in a year, allowing them to gather unique insights on the market segments they cover. This accumulated knowledge allow them to monetise this information asymmetry as reports, consulting sessions, speaking engagements, etc.

One of the first report format aiming specifically at helping technology buyers to select vendors/providers was of course the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Based on a two-by-two matrix (as popularised by BCG, which is ironic considering Gartner is ran by a McKinsey alumni), the “MQ” quickly became irreplaceable. The X axis is for how good a product/service is (completeness of vision), the Y axis is for market traction (ability to execute) and the quadrant is in fact four quadrants, from leader to niche with visionary and challenger in between. Gartner now publishes a staggering 149 MQ’s, enough to employ a small army of analyst relations (AR) managers at each megavendor. Those type of landmark vendor ratings not only impact sales by pre-selecting vendors in long or short lists but also shape markets altogether as my fellow IIAR board member Neil Pollock studied. No wonder it’s been abundantly blogged about. See our own IIAR Best Practice Paper on Managing the Magic Quadrant.


As with most industries, digital disrupts industry analysis firms, for instance crowdsourcing may challenge the information asymmetry position they enjoy. We’re now in an attention economy and firms are competing for attention with free content. The sentiment that everything can be found on Google seems universally accepted by Generation Y, which doesn’t bode well for detailed research. Quadrants cut through that clutter with their neat, apparently scientific, visuals. Everyone likes a list and wants in, buyers can zero in on prospective suppliers, analyst firms can sell reprints (I mean webrights), so what’s not to like?

And thus each and every firm now needs to have a vendor evaluation landmark report that is based on the seminal quadrant: Forrester surfs on Waves, IDC churns out MarketScapes, HfS paints Blueprints, G2 crowdsources TrustGrids, Ovum publishes the Decision Matrices, Chartis issues the RiskTech Quadrants, etc. Even the IIAR proudly boast the Tragic Quadrant. Apart from PAC who went full circle with their RADAR and MetaGroup who tried ellipses, they all look like Jeff Mann’s spoof above, though some introduced a third dimension with bubble sizes.  Ping me a comment for the ones I forget and I’ll build a list.


We’re in quadrant paradise -and it keeps everyone busy.

Over time, under vendor pressure and to respond to client queries, methodologies have incrementally become more robust and now routinely include detailed spreadsheet-based surveys, mandatory client references checks, independent surveys, vendor briefings, etc. In my own estimates, one MQ will cost ICT vendors and service providers between 100 and 150 man-hours -more if they got consultants on the bench to keep busy. On the analyst side, they’re likely to disappear in a dark room for one to three months, before escalations. This makes quadrant expensive and too slow to produce -sometimes missing refresh cycles on some markets. One fix is to automate and get users to do the legwork. G2 pioneered the crowdsourcing model and Gartner is gradually introducing more Peer Insights into their MQ’s. Another drawback of industrialised quadrants is that the analyst opinions and insights are either concealed behind a methodology black-box or diluted.

Too slow, too expensive, too numerous, not insightful? Maybe and yet, it seems quadrants are not going away.

Constellation saw that and think they’ve got a fix. They’ve just introduced ShortLists which are just that: short lists.  Here’s an example of the graphic below.
Constellation Short List group messaging 10/16
As you see, it’s a deboned quadrant: there’s no axis, not even a ranking as vendors are in alphabetical order. Call me a cynic if you like but I find that refreshing in its simplicity and also in the approach: all of it is free. You can download ShortLists for free, cite them in press release for no fee, use the graphic for zero Dollars (and even less Brexit Pounds), schedule an inquiry for nothing and even brief the analyst gratis. Look away awards sweatshops. Their methodology isn’t detailed but I’ll take the contrarian viewpoint that methodologies might have gone a little too much in the way of opinions at large firms.
Of course, Constellation hopes to increase their market traction, convert some prospects into paid subscribers but as for me I like that freemium model.

Yet, landmark vendor evaluations are such a pull for research firms that they’re unlikely to drop those signature reports any time soon. They’re usually the most downloaded research formats with case studies and vendor fuel the hype with a flurry of press releases each time a favourable evaluation comes out (but who would miss out?) They also buy webrights (reprints in industry parlance), a nice little earner for many firms -and a business model in itself for some.

Quadrants are imperfect but it seems there for the long haul. Personally, I would love to see them not only augmented with social ratings but also with informed opinions.

Is that too much to ask? What do you think?

Read also


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Do you need to pay Gartner to be in the Magic Quadrant? Fri, 11 Mar 2016 13:01:44 +0000 It’s been interesting reading some of the recent posts and comments on Linkedin about Gartner and its supposed lack of independence.

I’ve been an AR professional for 15 years now and work for a variety of technology and telecoms companies (large and small). Some have Gartner contracts, some don’t.

I have never seen or heard of any evidence that says you can buy your way gartner-empty-magic-quadranton to a Magic Quadrant. Nor does the amount of money you spend influence where you appear on the MQ.

My personal experience supports that. I’ve had clients who spend a lot of money with Gartner fail to be included on an MQ (or be included but not where they wanted to be). I’ve had clients who spend no money with Gartner be included on an MQ – and in good positions.

You don’t need to spend any money to brief a Gartner analyst

Briefings are free.  There’s a process to follow – it’s called Vendor Briefing – and most of the time, it works fine. It makes no difference whether you’re a big vendor or small vendor. You don’t need to be a client.

What matters is making it clear to the analyst why they should be interested in you. usually that’s as simple as making sure that you ask for a briefing with an analyst that’s relevant and covering your market sector. If you’re not sure who the right analyst is, then the Vendor Briefings process allows you to pick broad coverage areas.  You can also nominate the analyst you want to brief.

Make it clear why your business is relevant in the request form, let the analyst choose the best date for them, and most times, your request will be accepted.

You can buy time with the analyst

Remember, you cannot buy the opinion of a Gartner analyst. Nor do you need to be a client to brief a Gartner analyst.

But there is one big advantage to being a Gartner client. What you are buying isn’t just the research, it’s time with the analyst to get their insights and advice.  And that is massively important.

As a vendor, I can brief an analyst perhaps four times a year. And analysts aren’t supposed to provide me with any feedback during a vendor call. Gartner advice is only available to its clients.

As a client, I can talk to my target analysts every week or so. I can find out what they see happening in the market, what they think is important, what they like about my business and what they think I should do differently.

If I’m smart, I use this feedback to build a stronger, better business. I make sure the way I position my company to Gartner reflects back what I’ve been told is important.

And just as importantly, I have many more opportunities to build a relationship and get known.

It’s impossible for an analyst to remember all the details of the hundreds of technology vendors that they follow. Our job as AR professionals is to make sure that the analyst remembers the companies we work for.  Some of that might be to do with how often we talk to the analyst, a lot more of it is about what we say.

You don’t need to be a Gartner client to be included in a Magic Quadrant

This is an urban myth. Gartner tries hard to make sure all potential vendors of interest are invited to take part in relevant MQs etc.  You don’t need to be a client to be considered for inclusion on an MQ.  You will need to meet certain inclusion criteria though, and if you don’t then you’re out – client or none-client.

If you’re not sure whether Gartner knows about you, find the relevant MQ, identify the analyst writing it and request a briefing and get on their radar.

Rogue salespeople

Many of the stories of Gartner’s willingness to favour clients comes from companies who’ve met a rogue salesperson. There are some account managers out there who do claim that spend will influence analyst opinion. They’re not telling you the truth.

If it happens, call them out and ask them to be explicit about what can be achieved. Ask them if they’ll refund you if that doesn’t come true. Truth is these guys just want to make the sale and play off the industry’s desire to believe that Gartner can be bought.

Should Gartner name its customers?

I’ve never really understood why Gartner insists it won’t disclose its vendor client base (I sometimes wonder if it’s because we will suddenly find out that some big vendors don’t use Gartner!)

However, I don’t think it would make any difference.  Just publishing a list of client names will then lead to people wanting to know how much each vendor is spending and what type of services they’re buying.  That’s clearly confidential information and Gartner would be right not to provide it.

The argument would continue.

Barring analysts from taking the vendor dollar?

To those who suggest that analysts shouldn’t be allowed to take the vendor dollar, be prepared to see a market even more dominated by Gartner.  I estimate that over 90% of the analyst firms in the world would disappear overnight.

Vendor Independence

There’s an irony in people criticising Gartner while praising the independence of smaller analysts firms. According to numbers from Knowledge Capital Group (KCG), Gartner does more business with enterprise buyers than technology vendors.  It would still be a $1.5-billion-dollar business with no vendor revenue.

If Gartner got caught compromising its advice to enterprises because they were paid by vendors, those end-user customers would disappear very quickly and so would Gartner’s business.

On the other hand, there are plenty of small firms (let’s be frank, almost every small firm) which make 100% of their revenue from vendors.  With rare exceptions, these guys operate in an ethical and independent manner.

But if business is tough and you have a roof to keep over your head and a family to feed, there must be a temptation sometimes to take the vendor dollar and sing the vendor tune.

Thankfully, in my experience, “pay to play” firms are not the norm.  It happens sometimes but these guys usually get called out. And that’s the way it should be.

Analysts are valuable and influential because they’re independent and objective. And thankfully, in my experience the vast majority, including Gartner, are – regardless of whether they have vendors as clients or not.


David Rossiter (@davidrossiter, LinkedIn, Blog) was a co-founder of the IIAR.  He runs Sunesis AR, the analyst relations division of Harvard


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Who’s really shaping the digital future? Fri, 26 Feb 2016 09:49:59 +0000 Professor Neil Pollock looks at the role industry analysts play in creating today’s markets and asks: Who is shaping this dynamic digital world?…

Neil Pollock IIAR

The words digital economy conjure images of young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs breaking moulds in a world where technology is disruptive. But could the reality be much more mundane and mercantile?

When Facebook released Facebook at work early last year, the social networking Goliath laid a huge challenge at the feet of LinkedIn, a powerful incumbent that had until then dominated its corner of the market.

The market segment in question, Social Software in the Workplace, was recently identified as distinct from the wider social media marketplace by Gartner Inc.

At first glance this seems to emphasize the sheer unstoppable energy of markets for the future digital economy — with the proliferation of not only products but entire product categories. For example, Gartner has identified several new sub-markets developing around Social Media technologies in the last couple of years. But could this explosion of new segments have a different source? Dig a little deeper and Gartner’s role appears highly significant.

For more than 30 years, Gartner has been telling the business world what’s the next thing in technology. Its analysis works by listing recognised players operating in a new field and depicting them in its (in)famous graphical ranking – the Magic Quadrant.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant is central to the firm’s success and a large part of how it’s managed to retain its 30% share of the $4 bn annual market for industry analysis. But while it may be described as amongst the most important and influential pieces of business research produced today, it has (at least) one serious flaw.Magic Quadrant

Having used the system for more than three decades, Gartner knows just the right number of vendors to depict to construct a graphic decision-makers find useful — somewhere between 10 and 25. This ‘beautiful picture’ — as the firm’s analysts have taken to calling it — gives CIOs just enough information to gain an ‘at a glance’ understanding of what’s going on in the market without rendering further advice from Gartner redundant.

The trouble is, what happens when there are hundreds rather than tens of players in a given segment? How does Gartner create its MQ picture then? As one of the firm’s analysts recently explained “…graphically you can, […] we’ve done it, you have 100 dots on the chart but its unreadable. It is just garbage.”

So when they were faced with a Gartner Magic Quadrant for Social Software which looked ‘too cluttered’ to be a meaningful analytic tool for CIOs, the analysts decided they’d break it into smaller pieces.

Thus three new market segments – Social Software in the Workplace, Externally Facing Social Software, and Social CRM – were born. And with them came three more aesthetically pleasing, marketable Magic Quadrants.

Let’s be clear in what we’re saying here. Some of the most important and high profile market segments of the digital economy were created not as a result of processes of technological innovation or product differentiation but to compensate for the limitations of Gartner’s signature research product.

Let us call the new segments that Gartner create “prosthetic markets” to distinguish from those market areas where there are real, organic relationships between vendors and adopter communities. We don’t know exactly how many of its 320 or so Magic Quadrants are prosthetic as opposed to real, but the fieldwork we’ve conducted during the past ten years suggests it’s likely to be quite a few.

Power of the Magic Quadrant

Power of the Magic Quadrant

Nor are Gartner alone in the practice. Its main rival Forrester also configures new markets around the constraints of its Forrester Wave — where it depicts around seven to 10 vendors. And given there are now as many as 700 analyst firms producing influential research on the digital economy, it may be these prosthetic markets are more prevalent than we think.

These interventions aren’t trivial. There is lots of evidence to suggest that they ultimately shape the process of innovation and product development that constitutes the digital economy.

Thankfully many of the savvy tech firms seem to recognise this. But with Facebook at Work, Facebook could easily end up losing out if it isn’t careful.

Not only is its entry late, it seems surprisingly unaware that its new battleground has in many respects been made up, meaning the dynamics of this segment could be very different those found in a more organic marketplace.

It is clear industry analysts are making their mark on the digital future in ways most commentators have yet to fully realise. What is most remarkable is not only how quickly these firms have been able to establish influence over markets and tech vendors, but on what this power appears to rest.

The digital economy is being shaped not simply by the supply and demand of traditional market economics. But it’s also being driven by — as one former analyst recently suggested to me — what needs to be done to keep industry analysts “in the game.”


Neil Pollock (Linkedin, @neilpollock, bio) is Professor of Innovation at the University of Edinburgh Business School and a member of the IIAR cover

His book, How Industry Analysts Shape the Digital Future, co-authored with Professor Robin Williams (Linkedin), is available now.

Thanks to IIAR members Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovicLinkedIn) and Duncan Chapple (Linkedin, @DuncanChapple) for helpful comments on this blog post.



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The IIAR “Tragic Quadrant” Mon, 08 Jun 2015 15:16:20 +0000 Last year, as part of the 2014 IIAR Analyst of The Year Survey, we invited analyst relations professionals to rate their favourite industry analyst individuals and the firms they worked for. More than 60 individual organisations responded to our survey. We were interested to see if we could do further analysis on the data that was collected.

When we set out to do the IIAR Analyst of the Year (with Helen Chantry), we always had envisioned doing a Magic Quadrant of analyst firms. This year the survey provided us with further information which we have been able to breakdown and analyse to provide a more detailed understanding of how analyst relations professionals perceive the relevance, impact and reachability of industry analyst firms. We are not claiming that this is an exhaustive study. Rather it simply opens a new (slightly cheeky – hence the notion of “Tragic Quadrant”) window onto the analyst landscape, where we attempt to rank industry analyst firms by impact, relevance and ease to do business with.

The IIAR survey asked respondents to assess individual industry analysts on a range of issues broadly grouped according to the following criteria:

  • ‘Impact’ (to what extent does the industry analyst impact the technology purchase decision);
  • ‘Relevance’ (is the particular industry analyst relevant to the technology purchase decision, do they understand the marketplace);
  • ‘Interaction’ (how easy is the industry analyst to reach and to interact with).

We are able to represent the top 13 industry analyst firms according to this new analysis. We have produced three Tragic Quadrants according to i) overall industry analyst firms, ii) global industry analyst firms, and finally iii) independent industry analyst firms.

  • The Y axis depicts the ‘Impact’ of the industry analyst firm on the purchase decision. This also relates to their perceived credibility and capability to provide an objective opinion.
  • The X axis marks their ‘Relevance’ for the purchase decision. This means their capability to cover the market and their specific geographical allocation. It also includes public recognition of their presence in the market (e.g. as an expert).
  • The size of the bubble is ‘Interaction’. This relates to issues of communication (e.g. how easy is it to get to them and to talk to them).

Overall Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant

The IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2015 (Overall) featuring Gartner, IDC, Forrester, Ovum, HfS, Constellation, 451 Research, Celent, Pac, ESG, Digital Clarity Group, Ventana, SMB Group

The IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2015 (overall) featuring Gartner, IDC, Forrester, Ovum, HfS, Constellation, 451 Research, Celent, Pac, ESG, Digital Clarity Group, Ventana, SMB Group

In terms of the Overall Industry Analyst Firm Quadrant, Gartner, Forrester and IDC came out ahead of rivals. In terms of their specific ranking according to our analysis, Gartner is 1st, Forrester 2nd, and IDC 3rd. Gartner is higher on impact and relevance than its immediate rivals, but did less well in terms of interaction. IDC by contrast scores someway ahead of Gartner in terms of interaction but is perceived to be slightly less impactful and relevant. By contrast, although some way behind the leaders in terms of impact and relevance, Digital Clarity Group, Ventana and SMB Group did particularly well on interaction.

Global Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant

2015 IIAR Tragic Quadrant - Global Firms featuring Gartner, Forrester, IDC, HfS Research, Ovum, 451 Research

2015 IIAR Tragic Quadrant – Global Firms featuring Gartner, Forrester, IDC, HfS Research, Ovum, 451 Research

In terms of the Global Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant, Gartner stood out as 1st. This was followed by, in 2nd place, Forrester, and IDC in 3rd place. As mentioned above, Gartner were successful with high levels of relevance but performed less well on interaction. IDC performed particularly well on impact and interaction. In terms of the other firms, HfS performed well across all three categories but scored particularly well on impact. 451 Research and Ovum did well based on interaction.

Independent Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant

2015 IIAR Tragic Quadrant - Independent analyst firms featuring Constellation, HfS Research, Ventana, SMB Group

2015 IIAR Tragic Quadrant – Independent analyst firms featuring Constellation, HfS Research, Ventana, SMB Group

In terms of the Independent Industry Analyst Firms Quadrant, Constellation were in 1st place, HfS in 2nd place, followed by SMB Group in 3rd place and Ventana in 4th. Constellation scored particularly well on impact, whilst HfS performed well on impact and interaction but less well on relevance. SMB Group scored highly in terms of interaction. Ventana did well in terms of impact but slightly lower in terms of interaction.

In case you were wondering the Tragic Quadrant is by no mean meant to be a normative or scientific depiction of the industry analysis industry. It offers but one window onto this world that was partially inspired by Juvenal’s ancient dictum Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? (which, roughly translated, is who assesses the assessors? or, in our case, who analyses the analysts?). Whilst it was initially intended as a bit of fun we do nevertheless think there are some interesting aspects for AR professionals and analyst houses to take from it. We see at least two takeaways emerging for different audiences:

  • AR professionals may use this as a subjective analysis tool to look at their target audience engagement strategies. They should balance ‘ease to do business with’ against ‘relevance’ and ‘impact’. Or, in other words, they shouldn’t brief analysts just because they’re easy to deal with (or conversely they should look at analysts which are less of a pain depending on the type of impact the AR professional is looking for (see the AR SOSM model);
  • analyst firms should monitor the ‘transactional tax’ they impose on AR people: if they raise the ‘interaction barrier’ too high while not providing sufficient coverage and not showing impact, their vendor information source might soon provide them only a partial view of the market (raising exhaustivity and fairness issues) or their vendor revenues might suffer too.


By Neil Pollock (LinkedIn@neilpollock), Yulia Sidorova (LinkedIn) and Ludovic Leforestier (LinkedIn@lludovic)


Related posts:

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[GUEST POST] Analysts’ Dirty Little Secrets Sun, 24 Aug 2014 15:16:21 +0000 The Gartner Godfather, illustration from the 1972 movie for a blog post by Jonathon Gordon / EMI on Gartner on the IIAR websiteNetScout is crying foul against Gartner. The NetScout lawsuit against Gartner has raised the ‘pay-for-play’ specter once again. Whether this is a case of a vendor just peeved at their spot on the GMQ or they have a legitimate grievance, I am not in a position to judge Whether NetScout will be successful with their legal foray is for the lawyers and judges to say.

However, the latest outcry against Gartner should ring warning bells for the mega-analyst firm and others too. The fact that ‘pay-for-play’ has once again raised its ugly head is symptomatic of the lack of regulation and transparency in the Industry Analyst Business.

The lawsuit calls for ‘structural reforms’ similar to those imposed on the financial system in order to ‘remove the conflicts of interest and unfair and deceptive business practices’. Incidentally, this is a topic that has been discussed on this blog before.

What’s the BIG Deal?

As long as Gartner and the rest of the industry refrain from implementing some kind of industry-wide ethics or practice code, this will continue to be an issue. I believe that regulation is in the industry’s best interests. After all, if there aren’t really any secrets, what does everyone have to hide?

To start, I would suggest that each firm is required to make public their client list including the nature of that relationship. Of course, analysts will have relationships with all players in the industries that they cover. Knowing who their paid clients are should afford some transparency. This transparency will enable businesses to beware of a possible conflict of interest before undertaking any interaction with the analyst firm (paid or otherwise). Secondly, best practices for separation of church and state (analyst services/sales) should be implemented (granted this will be more difficult in the smaller firms). Analyst companies must make a concerted effort to weed out improper sales practices that may lead to misunderstandings (or lawsuits).

Need for change!

Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, Gartner being the industry leader (with no one else even close in the quadrant) must adopt these practices for the sake of the industry if not their own image. It’s time for Gartner and the industry to do away with the smoke and mirrors. It’s high time to pull the curtains back and get a good look at what’s going on behind. Only then can we move past these discussions and focus on delivering credible research.

One thing is for certain, the lawyers are pay-for-play!


By Jonathon Gordon / Directing Analyst, Expert Market Insight (LinkedIn, @Jonathon_Gordon), originally posted on his LinkedIn page on the 24/8/14. Opinions expressed in this guest post are not an IIAR position and may not reflect IIAR members individual opinions. Note that the legal proceedings referred in the post were dismissed, see links below.


IIAR Code of Ethics

Related IIAR posts


Other links on Gartner vs. Netscout


Other posts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant

Other posts by Jonathon

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Wrap-up: Netscout vs. Gartner re. Magic Quadrant positioning Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:09:54 +0000 Gartner Magic Quadrant: Pay to be here!Two Three interesting takes on Netscout suing Gartner for not putting them in the leaders quadrant:

16/9/16 update: 

See also this 2009 post by Jonny Bentwood: Is shooting on the referee productive?

Bottom line:

  • The Gartner methodology is quite solid nowadays, however the firm is still expressing an opinion by the choices it makes on inclusion criteria and weightings for instance.


Related IIAR posts


Other links on Gartner vs. Netscout


Other posts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant

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[GUEST POST] #Visionaries, #Disruptors and Complete Lunatics Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:16:21 +0000 Recently, I have been taking an interest in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, trying to understand how helpful the model is and what role it plays. I looked at a bunch of these industry super models and one thing in particular caught my eye, or rather something that didn’t appear to be there. That something was a little dot in the far bottom right hand corner of the bottom right hand quadrant, the one Gartner calls ‘Visionaries’.

If you want a quick verification without doing all the hard work, just Google Gartner magic quadrant and take look at the image tag. Low and behold, you should get something like this and the pattern will become clear …

Various Gartner Magic Quadrant (IIAR website), post by Jonathon Gordon

So what does all this mean, you say? That’s just what I asked myself. I have to assume that someone down in that corner would be considered a real market disruptor. Before continuing, I thought I’d better confirm all the quadrant rules before I went off ranting again. I stumbled across this page on the Gartner site, written by two very help analysts explaining exactly How Gartner Evaluates Vendors and Markets in Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes. So according to the rules, markets follow 5 predictable stages. The Marketscopes are ‘designed’ to cover the Emergence and into the high Growth stage where the MQ takes over through to decline.

Magic Quadrant vs. MarketScope (IIAR)

The Problem 

There are only 5-6 (depending on where you read on the site) Marketscopes that have not been retired. Does that mean Gartner is no longer covering these stages anymore? Are they planning to retire these altogether (please let me know the answer if you know the answer) in lieu of all those incredibly ‘cool vendors’? The problem or question here is without this analysis, how to they identify that a new market is underway?

As my focus was really on the MQ, I’ll get back to that and leave the Marketscopes for another day. So now I get that when we look at the MQ, we are looking at a market between high growth to maturity, but why does that mean we can’t find any disruptors? I went back to rules and looked at the definition of a ‘visionary’, it read like this –

Visionaries align with Gartner’s view of how a market will evolve, but they have less proven capabilities to deliver against that vision.

Enter the Lunatics

So it still doesn’t explain why there are no dots close to the bottom right of the quadrant. I would assume that even in some mature market disruptors should or could pop-up. My thinking puts these new kids on the block with an amazing idea right in that corner. OK, they are super-risk, super high reward, one in a billion – let’s call them ‘lunatics’ for now. Once the lunatic’s concept has been validated, they are essentially lunatics with a great idea but not much hope, but surely they are going very interesting to some audience (angels, VCs, other lunatics)?

My issue is they don’t seem to show up on the radar at all. So what’s the lesson to be learned here? It may be I am looking for all the ‘lunatics’ in the wrong place.

Another issue came to mind later – what happens if you are a niche player with an awesome vision. I figure you would need two dots at different places at the same time. I assume quantum theory and could explain all that, but I’ll have to brush up on the topic and save it for another post. I vaguely remember something about a cat named Schrödinger…..

Disclaimers at the end today:

#1 I am very fond of ‘lunatics’ and I use the term in the most sincere way. If we looked at an imaginary MQ of the mobile messaging market just when Twitter emerged, surely they would have been considered way out there somewhere.

#2 It is quite possible that I misread all the rules or that I have been holding the model upside-down or something like that. So if you can correct my assumptions &/or conclusion or give a better explanation, I’m all ears.

#3 The Magic Quadrant is a trademark of Gartner, Inc.


By Jonathon Gordon / Directing Analyst, Expert Market Insight (LinkedIn, @Jonathon_Gordon). Originally posted on his LinkedIn page on the 12/6/14. Opinions expressed in this guest post are not an IIAR position and may not reflect IIAR members individual opinions.


Other posts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant

Other posts by Jonathon

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Is there Really Magic in the MQ? Wed, 07 May 2014 15:02:48 +0000 IIAR Webinar Report – On the 16th April, Beth Torrie (LinkedIn, Twitter) hosted a book chat with Richard Stiennon (LinkedIn, Twitter), author of Up and To The Right. While it wasn’t as fun as a class at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, attendees did get an insider view of the magic in the famous Gartner MQ process. As a former Gartner Analyst and Analyst Relations Executive, Richard shared an overview of his perspective on AR and a summary of his book. He considers the book a memoir and “a kiss and tell” about his experiences as with specifics about the famous Gartner Magic Quadrant and insights to better understand the many intricacies behind it.

Richard also shared a great AR anecdote/war story about an executive who actually did try to sue Gartner about an MQ Placement and the back story.

I hosted an enjoyable post-summary chat with Richard and the 30 IIAR members in attendance and following are a few highlights and tips.

  • Access! If you are a client, use your access. Connect with the analysts and use their knowledge and expertise to guide your strategies.
  • Do analysts like “Factual Changes”? Yes. Be sure to back up any recommendations with actual facts, including survey results, customer names and as much detail as possible.
  • What about something more nebulous? This is entirely up to the discretion of the analyst.  A slight change to the wording may be more palpable than a major rewrite. The analysts words are their art form, so be sensitive to that.
  • To ombudsman or not? Be selective. Richard advises doing your best to avoid going to the ombudsman, to work with the analyst. I second that.

A recording of the webinar and the presentation are available here (for IIAR Members), and I would encourage anyone who has ever inquired about the magic in a Magic Quadrant to read the book. Richard Stiennon has also created the Quadrant Coaching Seminar, a free on-line course, based on UP and to the RIGHT: Strategy and Tactics of Analyst Influence.

By Beth Torrie (@bethtorrieLinkedIn).

Other posts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant

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IIAR Webinar – Gartner Magic Quadrant Enhancements 2013 Wed, 17 Jul 2013 21:52:14 +0000
Gartner announces a new magic quadrant by Mark P. McDonald  |  April 1, 2011

Gartner announces a new magic quadrant
by Mark P. McDonald | April 1, 2011

Save the Day and Register Now for this “Not-to-Miss” Webinar.

Gartner has recently announced that an enhanced version of the Magic Quadrant will be released on 29 July. So what’s driving this change, what is it, and what does it mean to you as an AR professional?

The IIAR ia delighted to host a webinar to preview the new version of the Gartner Magic Quadrant on Tuesday, 23rd July 2013 at 4:00pm BST/11:00am EST. The session will be given by Julie Thomas, MVP Research Content Strategy (LinkedIn), David Black, VP Content Architecture & Methodology (LinkedIn) and Theresa Ryan, Director Research Content Strategy (LinkedIn) all from Gartner Research and hosted by Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovicLinkedIn) from the IIAR Board.

To attend this webinar, register directly via this >LINK< (preferred) or via the form below. The webinar is free to attend for IIAR Members (another good reason for joining the IIAR) or for non-members there is a fee of $25/£15 that is redeemable against IIAR Membership over the next 12 months. Click here to proceed.

Small Buy Now Button or

Please register well before the event so we can ensure you are able to join the webinar without any last minute hassle.

Simon Levin (@theskillsconxn ,LinkedIn), an IIAR Board Member), published a blog post “Examining The New Gartner Interactive Magic Quadrant”  on the IIAR website and the Gartner presentation pack from our Huddle Extranet (members only). We hope you are able to read through these documents before the webinar and come to the session with lots of questions that Gartner will be only too happy to answer! Please send advance questions to myself (trevor=at=analystrelations=org) so to ensure the call is as productive as possible.


The IIAR look forward to joining you at the Webinar on the 23rd July, it will be a “not-to-miss” session for all.


All previous posts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant (and more)

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Examining The New Gartner Interactive Magic Quadrant Wed, 03 Jul 2013 15:17:30 +0000 Gartner has recently announced that an enhanced version of the Magic Quadrant will be released  on 29 July. So what’s driving this change, what is it, and what does it mean to you as an AR professional?

Here comes MQ 2.0
The Gartner MQ has not really changed its physical appearance since its original introduction. The famous two-by-two matrix and dots started life on paper and were effectively shifted onto the web with no real change. Over the years, the MQ has been industrialized at the back end with a structured measurement methodology. The front end moved from a static, locked-in-PDF view to a mildly interactive view several years ago, where users could mouse-over a position to read vendor specific strengths and challenges. The degree of interactivity however is about to increase dramatically.

So what’s driving this minor revolution?

According to Gartner, it’s customer demand.

Users and suppliers alike have asked for greater customizability of the results, to allow adaptation to specific needs, but without any change to the core methodology. At the same time, of course, Forrester has long offered a spreadsheet version of its Forrester Wave with criteria, sub-criteria, weightings, and scores that are all visible to users and with the option to adjust weightings to create custom views. Ovum also offers an interactive capability within its Decision Matrix research, allowing for user customization of the analysis. Gartner is either playing catch-up, or surging forward to leapfrog its competitors’ capabilities. So which is it?

It’s about interactivity and customization
The newly interactive MQ offers five new capabilities that take advantage of the electronic interface. They are:

  1. an MQ home page (providing easy access to all MQ research, with browsing by vendor, topic, or industry sector);
  2. the ability to highlight selected vendors in an MQ (and have others retreat into a “grayed” background);
  3. zooming, to allow users to focus on a single quadrant (dramatically improving readability where dots are closely packed);
  4. historical comparisons (showing up to three MQs side by side – the latest and two previous versions); and, most significantly,
  5. criteria weighting customizability (allowing users to create their own bespoke analysis).

For AR, the new home page provides a useful and easy access point for this analysis, but it has no real impact. The important new elements are the historical comparison and weightings customization functions.

History view: Users can see the latest MQ and either one or two earlier MQs, shown side by side. The display does not specifically indicate movement between years and historical views cannot be layered to allow users to see movement clearly. They must simply eyeball the three grids and draw their own conclusions. This, of course, implies that year-on-year movement is necessarily relevant – a contentious topic among analysts, especially in cases where changes in market structure, criteria for analysis, or research personnel can lead to markedly different results. Recognizing this issue, at least in part, Gartner plans to highlight any major changes that have occurred in the basis of measurement between the current MQ and its immediate predecessor. Changes between the two earlier versions are not highlighted, and users will only be made aware of these if they delve into the research and read the notes in full. The obvious risk is that users may not bother to seek reasons for changes in the structure, but just assume the apparent movement is based on comparing like with like.

Weighting Customization: The customization function uses slider bars to change overall weightings for the major criteria assessed under “Ability to execute” and “Vision” – elements like product and service, viability, market understanding, marketing execution, and operations. Dots on the chart then move in response to these changes. No information is provided about the sub-criteria for any category (beyond the standard descriptions provided as text in each MQ document). Nor is there any direct visibility of actual scores – a valued feature of the Forrester Wave. Gartner defends its position, in not sharing these details, by referring to the complexity of the model and the difficulty of creating true standardization across MQs and across MQ-writing analysts. This is a complex issue. But by not addressing it, even in part, Gartner upholds the mystery of the MQ’s underlying structure. As we have all seen, this can sometimes be used to blur or explain away oddities or variations in assessments that vendors may find puzzling. The ultimate figleaf for this potentially self-serving opacity remains the disclaimer element on every MQ that reads: “This publication consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact.”

In physical terms, as soon as a user changes the weighting of a criterion from the analyst’s selected default, that particular criterion is highlighted in orange (versus the blue that is used for all the standard elements). The quadrant itself is shown with orange dots, to signify a customized variation, and the MQ also includes a watermark as a reminder that this is a customized view. Customized quadrants may be printed or exported for internal use, but the rules state that they cannot be used for marketing (e.g. in reprints) in any form other than the default standard. Gartner has watermarked and color coded printed output to avoid any confusion between the “customized” and the “official Gartner” view.

Lastly, the online nature of the new functionality makes users’ interactions with an MQ a new data point that Gartner research analysts can use in developing their insights and enhancing future iterations of an MQ. Analysts will be able to see what customized views users save, at an aggregated level, and hence how often others weight the assessment differently from their own view. This should also provide useful insight for suppliers keen to understand the true evaluation focus that drives their prospects’ decisions.

Lead us not into temptation
The new format changes nothing in terms of the information that needs to be communicated to an analyst in preparation for an MQ, and the black box remains largely impenetrable. Clients, however, will now have more information, via the historical and custom views, to help achieve a better focus in relation to both MQ cycle responses and general planning of year-round analyst communications.

The customized views, no doubt, will constitute a temptation for many. Gartner will certainly be watching out for abuse of this capability and AR pros should do likewise. In particular, they will need to look out for presentations or collateral including charts derived from custom views depicting, for example, the MQ weighted as one vendor believes it should be to reflect the market’s values and priorities!

What will certainly be “street legal” will be the opportunity for AR to provide sales with new and subtle guidance. AR may, for example, suggest the sales team points out to potential buyers who are Gartner clients that they can adjust the weightings to reflect a particular concern with, say, “marketing execution” – and that if they do, lo and behold, the company’s true strengths in this area will be reflected in the customized MQ.

The historical view is also likely to create some confusion. Moving up and right always looks like progress, while down and left looks negative. But criteria often change from year to year, and MQ dot positions are all relative, anyway. A company that has performed well may still appear to be going backwards if the line-up of players in the grid changes, perhaps because of mergers and industry consolidation. Without a good deal of due diligence, movement from one year to the next is highly likely to be misinterpreted. AR is going to have an important role to play here, in ensuring that the relative positions in the published MQ are understood and the right messages are included in sales communications.

All in all, the new interactive MQ offers a much improved look-and-feel and an approach to interpretation that truly utilizes the electronic access method for the first time. As ever, though, the devil will be in the detail, in how this analysis is used and – perhaps more critically – abused.



Other posts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant

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[Guest Post] Why IT Vendors Should Take Industry Analysts (More) Seriously Wed, 26 Sep 2012 08:24:35 +0000 By: Dr Neil Pollock, University of Edinburgh Business School

After several years’ research on industry analysts and IT Research firms there are some interesting conclusions to be reached on how industry analyst firms are exerting influence on IT vendors and their product markets. This is just a snapshot of some of Dr. Pollock’s findings.

1. Industry Analysts Stifle Novelty

The first point shows how industry analysts are one of the new ‘institutions of information technology’ with the cognitive authority to shape technological fields. One common way they do this is through proposing names and definitions for emerging technological trends, an activity with positive and negative consequences. We saw, for instance, how this could stifle innovation. IT vendors offering new kinds of products were penalised if their technologies did not conform to standard product definitions. We observed how one seemingly novel solution belonging to a newcomer received a critical review, which led to its rejection from a major procurement contest, effectively calling into question the robustness of its solution. The suggestion here is that industry analysts can help but also hinder innovation.

2. Varying Forms of Influence

The second point seeks to construct a ‘typology’ of the different kinds of prediction and assessment produced by industry analysts. We found there to be the naming interventions described above, which we have labelled as ‘infrastructural knowledge’, because they become institutionalized and exert an enduring influence on markets. There are also transitory forms of intervention, described as ‘visions let loose’, which are provocative signposts drawn up about the state and future development of the IT industry. ‘Statements and their world’ are rankings of vendor technologies, which have a strong but often contested influence on the market.

3. Changing the Market to Fit Their Tools

The third point relates to the construction of the major ranking – the Magic Quadrant. We found that in producing the ranking its authors will attempt to change aspects of the market to fit the tool (rather than the other way around). It appears that only a limited number of vendors can be ranked on a single Magic Quadrant (for reasons to do with clarity and parsimony), which presents problems for those areas where there are many vendors. Rather than come up with alternative means to capture vendors, however, its authors will divide up a market through introducing new nomenclatures, so as to handle the limitations of their ranking.

4) The Research Is Used But Not Believed

The final point attends to some of the limits of industry analysts research, with particular regard to the accountability and legitimation of their knowledge. The analysts’ assessments (such as the Magic Quadrant) were viewed critically on the grounds that analysts appeared not always to be independent of the vendors they were assessing. However, what we found was that the clients of industry analysts were not simply trusting of this kind of research. If anything, they were sophisticated and wary consumers. Despite this, however, the ranking was treated as ‘real’ and ‘consequential’ even though people knew it to be a simplified convention. This was a situation where the research was viewed sceptically but used in practice.

Dr. Pollock will be discussing his research findings in greater detail during the IIAR Forum on Thursday 27th Sept at 4pm BST when Forrester’s Chief Marketing Officer will also be present. This is an in-person event with webex facilities for those dialing in. If you would like to take part please email me asap. The event is free for IIAR members and non-members can pay £75 / $100 to attend the full session.

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[GUEST POST] Big Dogs don’t yap: the secret ingredient for MQ success Tue, 03 Jul 2012 07:08:06 +0000 Blog courtesy of: Simon Levin (IIAR Board Member)

What is it that makes the difference when it comes to making the step up into the Leaders section of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant? Ever wondered what companies who gain recognition as Leaders have in common? Having seen four of our MQ Tune-Up clients gain Leaders status for the first time last quarter, I thought it might be interesting to go looking for some common themes or attributes.

And as it turned out, the exercise was well worth the effort, because it highlighted one key factor I’d never consciously identified before.

We’re calling it the Big Dog syndrome, and it’s all about looking the part, acting like a Leader right from the start, and, above all, believing that that top right quadrant is your rightful home.

There’s more about this idea on The Skills Connection’s blog but the essence of it is blindingly simple. For a company to be perceived as a Leader, it has to have a leaderly air about it. It has to radiate conviction, as well as competence. It needs to put its case across well, but without the yapping, snapping desperation that marks out those that try too hard.

In other words, alongside great products and strong business fundamentals, the right spokespeople, and a real commitment to the Gartner assessment process, the soon-to-be-Leaders just had that Big Dog style and self-belief.

It was almost as if the assessment process was just there to confirm what everybody, inside and outside these companies, already knew. They were ripe and ready for their new status. It’s not that they were being appointed or anointed as Leaders; they were Leaders by right, and now was the hour.

You know what they say about ducks. I think it’s the same with Big Dogs and Leaders. If you look like a Leader, swim like a Leader and quack like a Leader, then you stand a much greater chance of being assessed as a Leader.

The key question, of course, is how we, as analyst relations professionals, can help our own companies or clients with this.

That’s a big ask, as it’s as much to do with coaching the company to bring out what’s already inside as it is about getting the style and content of presentations right. But if Big Dog attitudes and behavior really are important in breaking into the g quadrant, this is an area I think we need to be taking very seriously.

Do you agree? Or have I been getting too close to the glue pot again?

Click here to see the complete blog posting

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[GUEST POST] Timing is everything Fri, 06 Jan 2012 09:19:04 +0000 There’s no penalty for jumping the gun

On your marks. Get Set. Go. When the starting gun goes off, there is always going to be a rush of adrenalin, a surge of excitement, and a striving to get up to speed and do your best.

But when the starting gun goes off in relation to a Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) assessment of your company, in many ways it is already too late.

Magic Quadrants generally appear once a year. For the companies who are on the receiving end, they can be make or break factors, with a huge influence on business prospects for the year ahead.

For the analysts involved, they are important pieces of work, but they have to be fitted in alongside research reports, client inquiries and meetings, events and presentations, custom engagements, webinars, blogs, and a host of other commitments. Leaving all the rest of an analyst’s annual workload aside, producing a Magic Quadrant means identifying and investigating multiple companies that will appear in the final diagram. On top of this, the analyst has to give due consideration to all the peripheral candidates that need to be evaluated before decisions can be taken about whether or not they should be included.

The wonder is not that so many MQ assessments leave so many vendors feeling disappointed, but that so many MQs win general acceptance as being pretty fair, diligent, and useful assessments of the state of play in particular markets.

To read the full article click here.

Extract courtesy of Simon Levin, MD (Europe) – The Skills Connection

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Gartner publishes MQ FAQ Tue, 08 Nov 2011 09:59:04 +0000 The Gartner Ombudswoman has just blogged >link< about a new frequently asked questions document on the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Overall it’s really useful and contains many points that AR pros should know.

For instance, did you know the analysts had to raise a business case for every new MQ? This is meant to limit their numbers (there’s been in the past some MQ’s ranking very few vendors for instance) and ensure consistency, but as a potentially it can contribute curb the number of local magic quadrant (i.e. EMEA MQ’s for instance) -so watch this space.

I’ve also added a comment on Marketscopes, what do you think?

Other posts on the subject:

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Gartner details the MQ process Thu, 13 Jan 2011 12:30:48 +0000 Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Services for Communications Service Providers, Worldwide ;  Published 19 July 2017 - ID G00314283 Following some debate on Quora ( How much does it cost to be included in Gartner Magic Quadrant?,  do make sure you check Nancy Erskine’s answer), Lydia Leong from Gartner did publish a very useful blog post on The process of a Magic Quadrant.

Gartner’s MQ continues to be the source of much debate, mostly since it pits vendors against each others some are bound to be disappointed (a MQ with all vendors in the leaders quadrant won’t probably be of much use to IT buyers).
Gartner has overhauled the process in the last 5 years and made it quite robust now, though the weightings and ratings are still not publicised (a key difference with Forrester’s wave and IDC’s Decision matrixShort List).

No one asked for my opinions, so here they are:

  • it’s better to be in than not, even if in the niche quadrant
  • an MQ is better than a Marketscope (I don’t like rating vendors against a linear scale because it implies you should choose the one to the right)
  • an MQ is still only 2 dimensions (hear below Gideon Gartner on this point)
  • allocate enough time, about 100-120 man hours per MQ on the vendor side
  • make sure you manage your constituents expectations and get their support
  • IIAR members should read @edgyurko’s Best Practice Paper (link below)

Does this help? What is your experience? Do you have any tips?


Related posts:

13/1/11 edit: corrected the “IDC MQ” name after Vuk’s comment (below).

All previous posts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant (and more)

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Downfall: Gartner MQ and learnings Tue, 02 Feb 2010 13:26:15 +0000

Late last week I resurrected a common meme around Hitler’s downfall video but this time applied it to analyst relations.

In the original post, I simply let the parody of the video speak for itself but after reviewing the many comments on the blog and on twitter, I have noticed that quite a few people are commenting about what they can learn from this.

Needless to say, when AR is done well the scenario that this video portrays should never happen. Here are some of the key points:

There is some argument as to whether we need to do any EMEA outreach or whether it is sufficient to just speak to those in the US

Being an EMEA AR pro, this one really irks me. Even though the US analysts may sometimes be the lead for a specific topic area, this is not always the case. What’s more when end users wish to buy a solution they often ask the local analysts in their region for guidance. If you haven’t spoken to them, how can you hope for positive commentary. Finally the EMEA analysts can often give valuable advice regarding how to refine the messaging to make it more relevant for their geography as well as give advice on local issues that may not be important in other regions.

We are only positioned as a challenger. They scored us down because we didn’t provide enough customer evidence

There should never be any surprises when it comes to the MQ being published. Make sure you run plenty of inquiries and SAS days to fully understand where the analysts are positioning you and why and what you need to do to change their perception. Do the process and document everything and obviously you should make sure that your executive team are prepared for the eventual placement and understand why you are positioned where you are.

We were positioned well in the Forrester Wave… a well-respected alternative

Always investigate alternatives. Despite many execs and sales people often being incapably of looking beyond the MQ, there are many tools and analysts out there. It all depends on your objectives and defining which solution is right for you.

There are many more things you can take from this video as I have tried to include as many clichés as possible. Most importantly remember that this is created in jest as a parody for our wonderful AR industry. I hope you like it.


Other posts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant

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