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Colin White

I like the various blogs associated with my many hobbies and even those to do with work. I find them very useful and I was excited when the Business Intelligence Network invited me to write my very own blog. At last I now have somewhere to park all the various tidbits that I know are useful, but I am not sure what to do with. I am interested in a wide range of information technologies and so you might find my thoughts will bounce around a bit. I hope these thoughts will provoke some interesting discussions.

About the author >

Colin White is the founder of BI Research and president of DataBase Associates Inc. As an analyst, educator and writer, he is well known for his in-depth knowledge of data management, information integration, and business intelligence technologies and how they can be used for building the smart and agile business. With many years of IT experience, he has consulted for dozens of companies throughout the world and is a frequent speaker at leading IT events. Colin has written numerous articles and papers on deploying new and evolving information technologies for business benefit and is a regular contributor to several leading print- and web-based industry journals. For ten years he was the conference chair of the Shared Insights Portals, Content Management, and Collaboration conference. He was also the conference director of the DB/EXPO trade show and conference.

Editor's Note: More articles and resourcesare available in Colin's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

October 2007 Archives

A whole of bunch of new Gartner quadrants have just been published. Every time I see a quadrant I ask myself, “Do these quadrants have any value?”

Vendors often complain to me they feel pressured by Gartner to subscribe to their services in order to be evaluated, while at the same time they obsess about getting their products in the top right corner of a quadrant. Smaller vendors also complain they are left out, because they don’t have the budget to subscribe to Garter’s services. One vendor even remarked to me jokingly, “It would be cheaper for vendors to get together, buy Gartner out, and scrap the quadrants.”

In my opinion, the Gartner material is superficial and not that useful. Take a master data management area such as Product Information Management (PIM), for example. There are so many facets to PIM, how can you lump all PIM products into a single quadrant as Gartner does? Of the analyst companies out there publishing this type of material, I think Forrester does a much better job.

The quadrants also seem to come and go. At one point, for example, Gartner abandoned its Portal Quadrant, and tried to introduce the concept of the Smart Enterprise Suite (SES). When this failed to get traction, they reverted back to the Portal Quadrant. I wonder if anyone has tracked how many failed acronyms, architectures, and 80% probability predictions Gartner has made? It would be an interesting exercise.

I also speculate about how useful the quadrants are to customers. I sense that sometimes customers feel that if they buy a product that is in the top right corner of a quadrant and it doesn't work for them, they can blame Garter.

I was interested to see a recent blog entry about the Gartner ECM Quadrant on one of my favorite Web sites:

“Late last year we blogged on the 2006 Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) for ECM - and made the point that inclusion in the chart is believed by vendors to have a very positive impact on their sales. In the 2007 MQ - published this past week - it's clear that little (in Gartner's view) has changed in the ECM world. Well, we beg to differ: 2007 has been a period of major change!”

The blog entry by Alan Pelz-Sharpe (entitled “De-mystifying the Gartner ECM Magic Quadrant.”) goes on to remark, “If there is a problem to identify, it is likely a business model that hinges on such charts, and a public's demand for ever simplified information, along with the vendors addiction to getting the ‘right’ placement in the chart. It is both the beauty and the curse of the MQ that it dramatically simplifies a marketplace. But ECM tools and choices are far from simple. In short, buyers of ECM beware.”

Personally, I think this comment applies to many of the Gartner quadrants!

CMS Watch is also an analyst company. It publishes in-depth reports about portal, web content management, enterprise content management, search, and web analytics products. I have seen several of these reports, and for about $1,000 these reports demonstrate the limited value of the Gartner material. The CMS Watch reports are vastly superior and considerably cheaper. Another thing to note about CMS Watch and its analysts is that they do not accept money from vendors. This of course is the opposite of Gartner.

What do you think? Should we just say no to Garter quadrants?

Posted October 30, 2007 5:40 PM
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