Wrap-up: Netscout vs. Gartner re. Magic Quadrant positioning

gartner[1]Two Three interesting takes on Netscout suing Gartner for not putting them in the leaders quadrant:

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[GUEST POST] Big Dogs don’t yap: the secret ingredient for MQ success

Blog courtesy of: Simon Levin (IIAR Board Member)

What is it that makes the difference when it comes to making the step up into the Leaders section of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant? Ever wondered what companies who gain recognition as Leaders have in common? Having seen four of our MQ Tune-Up clients gain Leaders status for the first time last quarter, I thought it might be interesting to go looking for some common themes or attributes.

And as it turned out, the exercise was well worth the effort, because it highlighted one key factor I’d never consciously identified before.

We’re calling it the Big Dog syndrome, and it’s all about looking the part, acting like a Leader right from the start, and, above all, believing that that top right quadrant is your rightful home.

There’s more about this idea on The Skills Connection’s blog but the essence of it is blindingly simple. For a company to be perceived as a Leader, it has to have a leaderly air about it. It has to radiate conviction, as well as competence. It needs to put its case across well, but without the yapping, snapping desperation that marks out those that try too hard. Continue reading

[GUEST POST] Timing is everything

There’s no penalty for jumping the gun

On your marks. Get Set. Go. When the starting gun goes off, there is always going to be a rush of adrenalin, a surge of excitement, and a striving to get up to speed and do your best.

But when the starting gun goes off in relation to a Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) assessment of your company, in many ways it is already too late.

Magic Quadrants generally appear once a year. For the companies who are on the receiving end, they can be make or break factors, with a huge influence on business prospects for the year ahead.

For the analysts involved, they are important pieces of work, but they have to be fitted in alongside research reports, client inquiries and meetings, events and presentations, custom engagements, webinars, blogs, and a host of other commitments. Leaving all the rest of an analyst’s annual workload aside, producing a Magic Quadrant means identifying and investigating multiple companies that will appear in the final diagram. On top of this, the analyst has to give due consideration to all the peripheral candidates that need to be evaluated before decisions can be taken about whether or not they should be included.

The wonder is not that so many MQ assessments leave so many vendors feeling disappointed, but that so many MQs win general acceptance as being pretty fair, diligent, and useful assessments of the state of play in particular markets.

To read the full article click here.

Extract courtesy of Simon Levin, MD (Europe) – The Skills Connection

Is shooting on the referee productive?

Originally posted here: Contentious conversations in analyst relations

As a side note, shooting on the referee rarely helps -the IIAR now has a best practice paper on how to deal with the Gartner Magic quadrants available to our member on our extranet.

Contentious conversation 1 – integrity of analysts and the future of AR

Blog my Tom Bittman from Gartner – A Rant – My Integrity as an Analyst

Summary: Gartner analyst angry that he has to justify his integrity

My view: Edelman trust barometer consistently shows that over the past few years analysts are the most trusted

Key comments: Vinnie Mirchandani questioning whether Gartner’s reliance on large vendor subscriptions means that their reports are truly representative

What this means:

There is an ongoing fight regarding how independent an analyst can be if they receive money from vendors. Whereas some firms in the past have been ‘White Paper for hire’ houses, they tend to lose industry respect very quickly and go bust. What can not be in doubt is that in subscribing to an analyst house, you have the ability to pay for more time in front of the analysts leading to a greater chance to educate them – often this will result in a more favourable position. I am not saying that to be successful in AR you need to have subs, it is more a case of – it helps.

The secondary argument (and possibly more important) is by having a look at who the key participants in this debate are. On one side we have the analyst and the other we have the IT advisor. The latter group frequently comes from an analyst background (see Vinnie Mirchandani, ex-Gartner; Ray Wang, ex-Forrester) but in their current role do not have a research agenda. By default this does not make them (in their mind) an analyst.

However, I believe we are playing semantics. Our view in AR needs to be simple: if they affect IT buying then they are an influencer and need to be dealt with accordingly. AR most closely deals with these individuals – we may need to adapt a different name so that they don’t get upset by being labelled analysts but they will remain a key audience for us to engage with and should continue to enjoy the same disclosure benefits that traditional analysts enjoy. With the growth of firms like Altimeter Group, this fundamental shift towards a larger influencer group will become more important than ever over the next few years.

 

Contentious conversation 2 – analysts liable for ‘incorrect’ positioning

Article in IT Knowledge Exchange – Email archiving vendor sues Gartner over Magic Quadrant

Summary: Claiming that Gartner’s MQ constitute “disparaging, false/misleading, and unfair statements” about its email archiving product that have done damage to its sales prospects, ZL filed suit for damages of $132 million to account for lost sales.

My view: This fight has caused great PR for ZL but someone’s position in an MQ should not be a surprise. If a vendor believes they are unfairly positioned the time to argue this point is before the quadrant is published.

Key comments:

The power of a positive ranking in Gartner is immense because it is often the case that large purchases of technology are based exclusively on the MQ Reports…For instance, the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently conducted an investigation into the use of the Gartner’s MQ reports in connection with the VA’s $16,000,0000 purchase of certain leases and services from Dell. The Office of Inspector General reported that the VA made this large purchase based solely on the leadership rankings in the relevant Gartner MQ report. (source: initial complaint)

In Mark Logic’s excellent analysis of this case, he makes the following comment about whether having the best technology means that someone should be positioned superior to another company who simply has better sales and marketing.

While Ingres arguably had the best database technology in the 1980s, Oracle’s sales and marketing prowess caused it to win the market and any analyst who — focused solely on the technology — would have recommended Ingres at that time would have done his customers a disservice.”

What this means:

Like it or not, Gartner are the original 800lb gorilla. Whether it is right or wrong, the fact remains that their MQ inherently has an influence in IT buying behaviour. What AR pros need to do is work with the analyst ideally six months prior to any publication to fully understand what success criteria are to be better positioned as a leader and work towards those goals. A great way to understand how to work with an MQ can be seen in the great IIAR White Paper.

We have to accept that the firm with the best technology does not always win (see Betamax vs. VHS) – for a company to be successful, they will need to have a great product that is complemented by a sound go-to-market strategy. Luckily for us this is where AR can help.

MQs, accreditation and a debate on IT services – all in the same evening

Those of us fortunate enough to be able to attend* yesterday’s IIAR Forum enjoyed a treat.

Ed Gyurko presented the latest IIAR whitepaper on Magic Quadrant submissions (available from Monday, free of charge to members).  It will prove immensely useful to those who have to work on the seminal Gartner reports.

Following Ed was David Taylor who spoke about the IIAR’s plans for AR accreditation. These are really starting to take shape. David and the group he’s been working with deserve a lot of thanks for their hard work to date.   There’s more that still needs to be done – but it’s definitely getting there and that’s very exciting.

And then we had the third highlight of the meeting – a spirited and informative debate with analysts from three firms that are focused on the IT services market:  Kate Hanaghan of Bathwick, John Willmott from NelsonHall and Puni Rajah of TechMarketView (who was joined by her colleague Anthony Miller).

There are some clear differences between the three firms but all three are in agreement: relationships with clients are the key for success in the next 12 months.  There was also consensus that good analyst firms would survive but there would be casualties among those unable to demonstrate the value they deliver.

While all three acknowledged the difficulties of doing business in the current market, TechMarketView was very upbeat about the future.  Puni and Anthony are predicting that the overall analyst market will grow in size over the next year (and as a result, there will be more demand for AR people).  It will be nice if those predictions come true.

There was plenty more discussion and our hour was quickly over. If you couldn’t make it, then I’m sorry. You did miss a really good meeting.

Finally, thanks to our analyst speakers for coming along and taking part in an absolutely fascinating debate.

Also a big thank you to Robert De Souza who chaired the analyst discussion, Laura Woodward who hosted the meeting and Hannah Kirkman, the IIAR secretary for bring it all together.

* Attendees came from a wide range of companies including Accenture, BT, Capgemini, Cisco, CSC, CustomerClix, Edelman, HCL, Hill & Knowlton, Logicalis, Nortel, Oracle, Prasada, Richmond Green, Sunesis, Weber Shandwick and Zeus.

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