The Danger is Complacency: the Magic Quadrant and Tech Vendors (Part Six)

There is a certain amount of self congratulations that occur when a vendor achieves a favorable “Leader” position on a Magic Quadrant. Because they are in the “Leaders” block, vendors feel like their job is complete. The problem is that such an attitude could lead to complacency and endanger a company’s coveted status in the future. Vendors in this situation could receive a nasty surprise as competitors leapfrog them or as they slip into the Challengers or Visionaries blocks.

This is not only a problem with “Leaders” since vendors in the “Challengers” and “Visionaries” blocks also feel that they can rest on their laurels. Most surprising are “Niche” vendors who are happy merely to be mentioned on a Magic Quadrant. The messages in this post are directed to Leaders, but also apply to all vendors, no matter what their position on the MQ.

What is the Danger? We’ve witnessed vendors go from the best Leaders position in a Magic Quadrant only to slide to the Challengers block in the next version. Why? The vendor had become complacent about briefing the analyst and missed that the “bar” for inclusion in the Leaders block was being raised. They had what it took to continue being a leader, but had failed to communicate that to the analyst. So what happed was:

  • They didn’t stay on top of evolving criteria and assumptions
  • They didn’t continue to improve the appropriate level of communications with the analyst
  • Their approach to the analyst and the information used became stale
  • They didn’t understand the implications of changing analyst coverage
  • They didn’t counter their competitors’ attempts to influence the analyst

Comfort Zone

Kea Company Technique:

Do a Zero-based Rethink about your Magic Quadrant Influence Efforts — We recommend that vendors ask themselves tough questions about their current MQ approach and answer them honestly. The more questions you answer in the negative the more likely you will wake up to a nasty surprise the next time the Magic Quadrant is updated. Use the insights from the MQ approach evaluation to change your MQ plan if necessary.

Bottom Line: The primary problem for vendors in the Leaders block on one of Gartner’s Magic Quadrants is complacency about their position. Savvy vendors combat this complacency by never being satisfied with their current position and supporting commentary. This attitude leads these vendors to constantly evaluate their approach and work to improve their plans and execution.

This post is one in a series about tech vendors and their relationship with the Gartner Magic Quadrant. In addition to this series, there is a Kea Company Guide to the Magic Quadrant that helps research consumers – whether enterprise IT managers or vendors – make appropriate use of this most famous and misused research deliverable.

With this series I want to build on the excellent work that Dave and Carter did at SageCircle. The MQ is relevant today and many tech vendors struggle to get their strategy right. This alone is enough to warrant further exploration of the topic.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. It is part of a series of 7 articles on the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Other parts can be found here.

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Derk Erbé

There are 0 comments on this post
  1. Pedro Perea
    November 05, 2007, 1:07 pm

    Penteo`s model is very difficult and almost unaffordabe to export, in my opinion. The main value of Penteo in Spain is their staff, who both do sales, research, and delivery, absolutely based in a deep knowledge of the IT (and IT C level people) in Spain. How anybody would replicate this model without enormous investments?