Gartner’s Magic Quadrant

If you’ve been paying attention to the cloud computing industry, or tech in general, you’ve likely heard about Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report. In very basic terms, the magic quadrant is a powerful research tool developed by the IT research firm Gartner. Every 1 to 2 years, Gartner releases a new Magic Quadrant analysis. For most, there’s very little insight into what the Magic Quadrant is, and what it mean for specific tech companies and industries. Understanding Magic Quadrant analyses, and why they matter to you involves, at the very least, gaining a better understanding of Gartner, and why the Magic Quadrant exists.

About Magic Quadrant

· Who is Gartner? – Gartner, Inc is a large research firm based in Connecticut, specializing in information technology (IT) research. Much of the research produced by Gartner is geared towards Chief Information Officers (CIOs), senior IT leader, as well as those involved with high tech businesses and governmental agencies.

· What is the Magic Quadrant? – As mentioned before, Magic Quadrant is an IT research solution with the mission of providing valuable insight into a high tech organization’s market, growth strategy and overall quality of service. Magic Quadrant releases a new report every year or two, which provides a comprehensive view of the current state of certain branches within the tech industry. The report mainly focuses on enterprise-level organizations, and other large-scale vendors of tech-related products.

Gartner’s Magical Research in Four Quadrants

The bi-yearly analysis rates companies on two criteria: vision completeness and execution. Each industry is scored a specific set of parameters that are not shared with the company. After the scores are tallied, each company is placed into one of four quadrants:

1) Leaders – Leaders are generally those large-scale companies that have thoroughly developed their vision and product over a long period of time. These are among the highest scoring orgs in the Magic Quadrant analysis. This year, mid-size Bluelock, a vCloud datacenter provider, scored in the leader quadrant.

2) Challengers – These are generally companies that scored pretty high in the Gartner report, but have a ways to go as it relates to vision and execution. This includes larger companies that don’t necessarily have a long-term vision for that particular industry.

3) Niche Players – Niche players are those companies that score extremely low in both vision completeness and execution. Typically, these are companies that are either really new to the industry, or are fledgling in the current market.

4) Visionaries – These are those companies that are both small and receive low scores in both criteria sections, but also show great potential within their specific market.

Why the Quadrant Matters

While the Quadrant has faced some criticism in recent years – mainly because they are known to only focus on the large-scale enterprise category for leaders and challengers – it is one of the best tools companies use for shopping cloud computing, and other IT-specific services.

How Not to Use the Magic Quadrant

The common misconception when using MQ has to do with the individual quadrants themselves. For instance, if you’re researching potential IaaS providers, you may be completely put off by those in the Niche Player and Visionary categories. But just because a certain company is in the Leader quadrant, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right pick for your current needs. It’s important to view the Magic Quadrant for exactly what it is – a research tool. As with any research tool, be sure to use the MQ analysis with discernment.