Jason, from the magazine CBR, which is owned by Gartner competitor, Datamonitor, asks some good questions about the Magic Quadrant in a blog entitled Market Share Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant Shock, with the aid of some humour.
What does the magic quadrant have to do with Nike sneakers?
Perhaps I can only blame EMC for the press release that just landed in my inbox, with the headline: “Top analyst firm positions EMC in ‘leaders’ quadrant for midrange enterprise disk arrays.”
The most obvious point to make is that EMC is one of the clear market leaders if not the market leader in midrange disk thanks to its Clariion (first engineered by Tom West — brains behind Data General’s servers and storage — and which Dell successfully resells by the truck-load) and Celerra product lines.
So why does it need Gartner, indeed any analyst’s visual market mapping marketing to reassure customers that it is a heavy hitter? To me this is like saying, “Nike in ‘leaders’ quadrant for casual or sports-specific athletic shoes.”
He also points out that Gartner’s disclaimer basically eviscerates the value of the Magic Quadrant. Is it a planning tool or isn’t it? Here is what Gartner says:
“The Magic Quadrant… depicts Gartner’s analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that Marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the Magic Quadrant and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors placed in the ‘Leaders’ quadrant.”
As J points out:
If you take that disclaimer literally… being in the leaders quadrant ‘doesn’t mean shit’ (as I’ve heard characters on CSI exclaim).
I don’t want to say much more than that. I have been trying to avoid saying bad things about Gartner, but an end of year dinger seemed appropriate. You can’t fight your nature after all.