An analyst once compared the Magic Quadrant with sports. At a conference he said: “Being an analyst in the MQ is like being a referee in kids soccer. Before the game everybody wants to be your friend. By half time almost everybody hates you.” What he described was the relationship between analysts and software vendors with a wink … and all people were laughing in the audience.
After ten years being involved in different magic quadrant processes, I thought it is time talk about a few things which have not been in the news. I love to debunk three myths about the MQs.
Myth 1: Money makes the MQ go round
Many people live under the impression that vendors which pay the biggest checks to Gartner will jump on the MQ. This is sooo wrong. Gartner strictly separates any financial flow from this market evaluation. The process and the integrity of great analysts like , Simon Walker in this case (and Andrew White, Bill O’Kane or Michael Moran in the past), who put a lot serious work into this process to paint a realistic and neutral picture of the market with looking at of the period of 2018 and Q1-2019. (which is sometimes out dated by the day it gets published)
Myth 2: Large vendors dominate
Disruption is more than a hype in these days, it is reality. Gone are the times where the so called mega vendors (SAP, IBM, Oracle) where the only dominators. My old company Informatica grew, based on two great solutions (Siperian customer MDM and Heiler PIM) to a new leader. I am thankful for ten years being part of it. Now many new start-ups and concepts have started to challenge this status quo again and again. New technologies have offered new and fast ways to address challenges where the industry thought it takes years. This is wrong. New ways and new tech have changed the MDM market as never before. Time for new things as MDM is going cloud-native.
Myth 3: A picture paints a thousand words
Be honest, the first thing you look for is the chart. Who is where? What has changed? Yes it helps to get a first glance, but it is wrong to only consider the MQ chart. As mentioned above, a lot work goes into it from analysts, all customer and all vendors – so they all deserve to take a deeper look on strengths and cautions and reading between the lines.
There was enough said on the new market perspective Gartner defined with the 2016 release as one MDM MQ compared to one for customer and one for product data before. Nothing is more constant than change, so also the MDM vendors have to revisit their strategy and offering regarding news technologies such as AI and big data, but first of all customer expectations.
If you are about to use the MQ as starting point for the vendor selection, my recommendation is: Let future readiness and vision be your factor. You will pick a solution which you will impact your business over the next decade. You don’t want to pick a solution which has home work to do cleaning up old heritage.
PS: I am a true believer in close collaboration with the analysts and learned incredibly much from many smart people of the years in this market.
The new 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM solutions is out and available for download here: