For software companies, the annual release of the Gartner Magic Quadrant is often a time of excitement and reflection, as it provides an opportunity to see how you compare with your peers in a particular segment. Gartner is a global analyst firm providing research on many sectors of the tech industry. In IT circles, the Magic Quadrant is viewed as a standard benchmark to evaluate potential software purchases. But what if you are not in the IT industry, or have not had the opportunity to review other Magic Quadrants previously, how do you decipher the fancy charts with the dots? I faced this dilemma eight years ago, when I encountered my first Magic Quadrant. Here are a few things I’ve learned since that time:
First, don’t simply look at the placement of the dots! Readers often look at the dots and focus on the vendors in a particular quadrant. Typically, the same providers occupy the same quadrants year after year. For example, “Leaders” and “Challengers” are often occupied by larger vendors who carry an assortment of products on disparate technology, bought through acquisitions, but without a singular focus.
I think the two most interesting quadrants are “Niche” and “Visionary”. Here you will often find the up and coming or specialist vendors who have mastered the ability to deliver a solution to a particular area of the market. Though not large or well-known as more corporate brand names, these vendors may deliver great products that meet specific needs.
If you are in the market for a particular software solution, always begin by examining your organization’s unique requirements. Some important criteria to evaluate include:
- The overarching problem you intend to solve
- Total cost of ownership
- Available personnel and skills
- Implementation time
- Vendor’s ability to offer local support
- Scope of functionality
- Technology compatibility
- Vendor reputation
Without the ability to address these points, you risk selecting a vendor based on incomplete information. Worse yet, you may end up paying for more functionality than you actually need. For example, visionary vendors may offer many cool features, at a premium cost, that simply become shelf-ware because customers never implement them.
Finally, always perform your due diligence by engaging with vendors directly and speaking to their customers. Gartner publishes the Magic Quadrant based on research it has conducted by speaking to vendors and surveying representative customers, who may or may not be in the same boat as you.
For us at Prophix, the recent release of the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant on CPM suites validates a strategy we have pursued since day one: Remain laser focused at delivering a unified CPM solution that is easy to use, provide superior customer value, and stay nimble enough to innovate and pivot into new areas.
Read the press release about how Prophix Software is positioned on the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Corporate Performance Management.