Homework – Gather Background Information: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 3]

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.

 SageCircle Technique

Check 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. If you are a client, go through your QuickPath. In addition, ask for publications that have supporting content about the MQ and market criteria. It is not as common as it use to be, but some analysts publish the MQ in one Research Note and all the supporting content about the vendors and criteria in a different Research Note.

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 at www.gartner.com and then buy individual Research Notes for $2,000 (the cost was only $95 a few years ago). While this does not give you access to the analysts, buying individual Research Notes is a means to gather some needed information, but frankly the $2,000 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 Editorial Calendar for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes page. While not precise – they only list the quarter a MQ might be published in – it can provide you with some insight on the schedule.

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

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

* SageCircle Advisory clients, either Annual or Hour Blocks, 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 on the SageCircle blog about how communications and IT vendors and their relationship with the Gartner Magic Quadrant. In addition to this series, there is a “Consumers 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 please check out the SageCircle AR Wiki where you can find a lengthy thread of articles that provide more depth and breadth on this critical topic in the IT industry including checklists.

  1. Don’t Obsess, Don’t Ignore: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 1]
  2. Common Mistakes: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 2]
  3. Homework – Gather Background Information: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 3]
  4. Homework – Talk to the Analyst: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 4]
  5. Moving the Dot: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 5]
  6. The Danger is Complacency: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 6]
  7. Equipping Sales for the MQ Effect: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 7]

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?

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