Distinguish Between Gartner Magic Quadrant and Market Guide Research
Markets vary in many ways, but all follow a predictable life cycle with five phases:
When new markets emerge and the offerings and user requirements are in flux, solutions are often difficult to compare, making a competitive positioning less useful. When a market emerges, it lacks definition and typically has a multitude of vendors offering point solutions, so it is not always possible to comparatively assess vendors. Low barriers to entry mean that many vendors can enter the market without significant investment, and they can leave without significant implications for their broader business too.
Similarly, when the market is highly mature, the products and services on offer will typically be provided by only a few vendors and can lack differentiation in solution features or services. When a market matures to the point that the offerings become relatively interchangeable, comparative positioning is less important than an analysis of and recommendations about the market itself.
In both these cases, a Gartner Market Guide provides a meaningful perspective of the underlying market, with a high-level overview of representative participants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the analyst create a Magic Quadrant instead of a Market Guide? The lead analyst makes a recommendation on which research type is most appropriate to the market under consideration based on its maturity. By the very nature of these markets, determining the growth and maturity point of a rapidly evolving market is not an exact science. The key characteristics of the market outlined earlier in this document are all considered, and the decision is made using that information.
What is a Gartner Critical Capabilities document? Critical Capabilities is an essential companion to the Magic Quadrant. A Critical Capabilities helps Gartner clients gain a view of the positioning of vendors’ product and service offerings, allowing comparison against a critical set of differentiators to support their strategic technology investment decisions. It shows which products or services are the best fit in various use cases and provides actionable advice to end-user clients on which products/services they should add to their vendor shortlists for further evaluation.
How does a Gartner Critical Capabilities differ from a Magic Quadrant? Critical Capabilities is a companion note to the Magic Quadrant. Critical Capabilities analyzes products or services based on a set of use cases that match client deployment scenarios, while the Magic Quadrant positions vendors in a market.
Can a Magic Quadrant be used as a vendor selection tool? A Magic Quadrant analyzes a market and can help you to focus your search on important criteria. However, it will not provide the details needed (during the vendor selection process) to align your requirements to a particular vendor. Gartner provides an extensive range of complementary research — such as Critical Capabilities and Vendor Ratings — that can assist you further in your vendor selection process. Discussions with analysts can also help during the vendor selection phase.
Why aren’t all vendors from a market included in a Magic Quadrant? In most cases, it would be impossible to cover every vendor in a market — there are too many, and/or some are irrelevant based on the inclusion criteria. Gartner therefore focuses its research in a way that will provide the greatest value to Gartner clients.
Does a vendor’s status as a Gartner client influence whether it appears in a Magic Quadrant? No. Sales contracts, vendor requests and client engagements do not influence or drive inclusion in Magic Quadrant research.
What does it mean if a vendor isn’t included in a Magic Quadrant? It means that they did not meet the inclusion criteria defined for that Magic Quadrant. It does not imply that the vendor is not viable or competitive. It might indicate that the vendor’s strategy or functions differ from the inclusion criteria, or that it addresses a different target market. We publish the inclusion criteria with the Magic Quadrant to help you understand why a vendor might not have been included.
Is a market always analyzed the same way? No. As a market matures, it changes and so does the analysis. From year to year, the inclusion criteria, weightings and Gartner’s opinion about what it takes to maintain market strength may change. Each report includes a detailed description of market trends and vendor dynamics for that year, and details the vendors added or dropped since the previous report.
When will a Magic Quadrant have additional perspectives? For most markets, the globally broad perspective of a Magic Quadrant meets the needs of Gartner’s clients. Where appropriate, Gartner analysts will add a company size, industry or geographical perspective. The decision to include these perspectives will be based on whether sufficient submarket differentiation exists and is important to clients.
Will the Notable Vendors section of a Magic Quadrant contextualization include vendors not in the Magic Quadrant? Yes, it is possible that a vendor that did not meet the inclusion criteria for the Magic Quadrant will be included in the Notable Vendors section.
Is there a schedule for when Magic Quadrants will be published? Yes. Gartner provides the Magic Quadrant publication schedule. This schedule is updated monthly to reflect any changes. Use this link to download the publication schedule (.xlsx).
How often is Magic Quadrant research updated? Gartner typically updates eachMagic Quadrant annually unless it is retired. However, some may be refreshed more or less frequently in response to dynamic changes in the market.
What is the meaning of the “as of” date, and why is it different from the publication date? The “as of” date on a Magic Quadrant indicates when the research was completed and closed to all further input. Any events in the market after the “as of” date are not considered and do not form part of the assessment or the final report. Generally, the “as of” date is prior to the publication date of the report. However, analysts may choose to make any necessary adjustments up to the day of publication, in which case the “as of” date will match the publication date.
How can I compare a current Magic Quadrant to a previous version? Historical Magic Quadrant research is available online as archived files. The interactive Magic Quadrant also shows the history of a specific market when past versions are available. When performing direct comparisons, you should understand that the market definition and criteria may change from year to year. This will affect vendor positions and/or ratings. Also, due to mergers, acquisitions and rebranding, some vendors may appear under different names from one year to the next. Vendor and product names are accurate as of the date of publication and are not maintained or revised to reflect market activities that may occur after publication of that report.
Where can I get more information about interactive Magic Quadrants? Interactive Magic Quadrants are available only to Gartner clients on gartner.com. Further information and FAQs about the interactive experience are available on the main Magic Quadrant page.
What is the relationship between Magic Quadrants, Critical Capabilities and Gartner Peer Insights? Gartner Peer Insights provides ratings and reviews of software and services contributed by end-user professionals. Contributors share their firsthand experience of a vendor and product through the various stages of IT life cycle management, from evaluation through deployment. Gartner Peer Insights leverages the structure of the Market Description, Vendor List, Product List and Critical Capabilities (from the Magic Quadrant and Critical Capabilities) for its user review survey structure and the client experience. With this innovative design (analyst-led research and advice through Magic Quadrants and Critical Capabilities, now complemented by the perspective of Gartner Peer Insights), organizations can count on Gartner as their must-have source for a full-spectrum perspective on markets, vendors, products and services.
What is the difference between Gartner Peer Insights Voice of the Customer, the Gartner Magic Quadrant and the Gartner Critical Capabilities? The Voice of the Customer document represents the views of end users about the products that they are using in a given market. It provides an aggregated view of those reviews published on Gartner Peer Insightas calculated under the Gartner Voice of the Customer methodology. A Gartner Magic Quadrant positions vendors in a market. It contains broader analysis of the vendors in a given market, as identified by the inclusion criteria. The Magic Quadrant is a snapshot in time that assesses the vendors’ vision and Ability to Execute. Gartner Critical Capabilities complements Magic Quadrant analysis to offer deeper insight into the products and services offered by multiple vendors. Magic Quadrant, Critical Capabilities and Voice of the Customer documents are complementary perspectives to help end users making technology purchase decisions with their shortlisting process. They provide a view of expert-led research about vendors’ positioning in a market (Gartner Magic Quadrant) and their products (Gartner Critical Capabilities), and the peer perspective on the use of individual products in their own organizations (Gartner Peer Insight).
What if there is a difference between how a vendor and product is rated in Peer Insights and Gartner research such as Magic Quadrants and Critical Capabilities? Peer Insights reflects the individual opinions and experiences of end users who have submitted reviews and ratings through a rigorous verification, validation and moderation process. Analysts draw upon a large base of information from multiple sources to contribute to their research. While end-user feedback is important, so is feedback and input from vendors, references, public sources, investors, the press and social media. Lead authors of Magic Quadrants and Critical Capabilities will get access to Peer Insights review data that has been verified, validated and moderated. Analysts will be able to see data throughout the year to review crowd sentiment. A single Gartner Peer Insights review will not affect the placement of a vendor or product in a Magic Quadrant or Critical Capabilities. The Magic Quadrant and Critical Capabilities research process is based on a structured methodology to maintain independence and objectivity and to provide unbiased advice to clients.
Do Gartner’s research analysts use Peer Insights in their research? Yes, Gartner Peer Insights reviews are one of the sources of customer input information that may be considered, along with a variety of other factors, by Gartner experts as part of Gartner’s rigorous research process. While end-user feedback is important, it is just one aspect in a vast area of criteria that are considered.