Unleash your inner Sherlock: The Magic Quadrant and Tech Vendors (part three)

Warning: Homework ahead!

It is critical for AR to thoroughly research a particular Magic Quadrant and its history. Even AR staffs that have been working with Gartner on a MQ for a long time could benefit from doing a little digging into the background of the MQ in order to separate reality from faulty memory and myth.

Kea Company Technique:

SherlockIICheck on past Magic Quadrants – The first task is to obtain past versions of the Magic Quadrants. You can search Gartner’s research database, but frankly you still have to ask. While Gartner analysts published dozens of distinct Magic Quadrants in the traditional Research Note format every year, there are so many publishing platforms at Gartner (e.g., presentations and toolkits) that a MQ can show up in either as an original piece of research or a reprint of something published earlier. Because not all presentations are included in Gartner’s research database, it is necessary for you to call up the relevant Gartner analyst and ask. In addition, ask for publications that have supporting content about the MQ and market criteria.

Non-clients can use Gartner Sales to assist you in getting to speak to an analyst. Use the argument that by knowing which Magic Quadrants you are on, you will be better able to justify future investments in Gartner services in order to gain Sales’ assistance. In either case, ask for MQs that were published in Research Notes and other formats. By the way, non-clients can search Gartner research database for Research Notes with Magic Quadrants. While this does not give you access to the analysts, buying individual Research Notes is a means to gather some needed information, but frankly is so expensive that it is not worth it. Before pulling out your credit card, you should check the Internet for a free copy of the MQ courtesy of a vendor website. The vast majority of MQs are licensed for reprint by vendors for marketing purposes and it only takes a little searching to find MQs.

As part of your research check the Gartner Research Methodologies page, which can provide you with some insight on the schedule and the general methodologies.

Once you have gathered all the MQs and supporting content, analyze* them for:

  • Rough publishing schedule
  • Marketplace definition
  • Evolution of criteria
  • Changing analyst coverage

* Kea Company clients can schedule an inquiry to discuss how to analyze the relevant published content for insights into the direction a MQ is heading.


Bottom Line: It is important for AR teams to do their homework to stay on top of evolving criteria and assumptions. Assuming that you know what the important underlying criteria and assumptions are for the Magic Quadrant without talking to analysts can result in work to create proof points for your company that does not matter. Just reading the Research Notes is not sufficient, as the most important criteria are often not captured in written format.

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.

For those AR managers needing much more depth than what is appropriate in a blogpost, please contact us at Kea Company and we can have a conversation on how to provide more depth and breadth on this critical topic in the IT industry.

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.

Homework questions:

Question: Are your executives too much on either extreme of the obsess-and-ignore spectrum? Have you attempted to move them to the center?

Question: Do you have regular calls with analysts in charge of relevant MQs to determine how they perceive the market is changing and how this will impact the criteria for a MQ?

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 2 comments on this post
  1. January 20, 2015, 2:17 pm

    […] is critical for Analyst Relations (AR) to thoroughly research a particular Magic Quadrant and its history. Even AR staffs that have been working with Gartner on a MQ for a long time could benefit from […]

  2. January 30, 2015, 12:19 pm

    […] Do your homework […]