DS Supply Chain Blog

The Gartner Magic Quadrant: Why Should We Care About This Research?

Full confession:  My team is small, yet diverse – I work with boomers and millennials, and the great generation in between. While I find the boomers tend to be more reserved and reticent in their remarks, millennials are quick to provide commentary with little filter engaged.

When we discussed licensing the Gartner Magic Quadrant and offering it as part of our value proposition – the boomers said “OK”, and the millennials quickly asked “Why?”

Gartner Analysts Have a say-so?


With my extensive tenure within the tech industry, I recall eagerly waiting for the release of an MQ to see if the products and solutions we marketed were recognized.  If they were, we wanted to know the following:

  • Where did we land?
  • How did we compare to previous years?
  • How did our main competitors fare?

If we weren’t awarded a dot on the MQ, then we had to strategize how we were going to overcome the objection when we inevitably heard it from our customers and prospects. The MQ rankings swayed buying decisions and we needed to be on top of the release!

 In order to answer my millennials’ “why”, I decided to step back and reeducate myself about the MQ.  

The quick answer:  Gartner is the world’s leading research and advisory firm, and many defend, the most influential analyst organization in the world given their broad reach and deep insight, based on more data points than any other analyst firm in the game.   

So I urge you, dig a little deeper and think about Gartner’s position:  While working with emerging technology companies up to the well-established, large enterprises, the Gartner analysts hear from a multitude of customers and technology providers’ day in and day out.  Customers ask Gartner to recommend solutions based on their immediate and long-term needs (size, geography, focus, requirements, and growth) and industry trends. Customers talk about their technology stack and their strategic vision going forward.  They ask about similar organizations – what are others adopting? What is emerging and innovative? What is old news and obsolete? Are we missing something in our roadmap/plan that we should consider? Based on how we operate, where do we stack up against the best in our industry or in other industries that we might learn from? These intimate, collaborative conversations with the Gartner analysts add to the foundation of their [tribal] knowledge and permeate the criteria used to evaluate vendors and their solutions during MQ analysis. Over the years Gartner has striven to make MQs more and more fact-driven. They assess each vendor against a common standard built on reference models and other frameworks to ensure they have a clear view on what they think good looks like.  

So when I think about the MQ, Gartner evaluates vendors and their solutions to determine if those vendors meet the needs of the market, as Gartner defines it in light of their customers’ requirements.

The MQ dots combine answers to hundreds of questions from interviews with a diverse assortment of people, into categories representing the vendor, the solution and the customer. Some of the data points that the Gartner analysts are working to establish align with questions such as:

  • Is the vendor financially stable?
  • Do they have a global footprint? The resources to support their sales and customer channels?
  • Does the solution have the functionality required by the marketplace? 
  • Is the product scope aligned to customers’ expectations? 
  • Does the solution roadmap consider emerging market trends?
  • Do customers feel that they paid a fair price?
  • Was the implementation cost and execution in line with customer expectations?
  • Do they receive the level of support they require from the vendor?
  • Would the customer buy the solution again?

Considering all of this, you may still be wondering, why would Demand Solutions license the Gartner Magic Quadrant and offer it to our customers, prospects and industry stakeholders?

The answer: To assimilate the collective knowledge of the Gartner analysts.  Then share it with you. 

These analysts have a view of the customers and marketplace gained from personal, intimate conversations and communications that an individual can never have.  We wanted to ensure our customers and prospects are fully educated on the market trends which impact the S&OP landscape, and understand your options when it comes to vendors who can serve your needs, given your criteria. After all, when some claim that Gartner is the most influential analyst organization in the world, I want to dig a little deeper and get to know the people who have come together to share and add to that foundation of knowledge.  I want to understand their journey and their experiences, and make their collective research available to anyone interested.  We have grown quite proud of our little dot, as we are excited to highlight our unparalleled ability to execute for our customers.

Now it is time for me to thank a couple of millennials for helping me to remember why it is important to share this MQ research note.

Oh, and if you are interested in a copy of the Gartner Magic Quadrant forSales and Operations Planning Systems of Differentiation* research note, get it here.

* Gartner Inc., Magic Quadrant for Sales and Operations Planning System of Differentiation, Payne, T., May 1, 2017

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