How to Understand Other Analytical Products Offered by Gartner

Last Updated on February 23, 2021 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is the most popular of its analytical products.
  • This article provides coverage of the various Gartner products that are not the Magic Quadrant.


While the Magic Quadrant is the most popular analytical product offered by Gartner, it is only one of several. Other products are described in the following pages, and the definitions of these analytical products are from Gartner’s website.

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Lack of Financial Bias Notice: The vast majority of content available on the Internet about Gartner is marketing fiddle-faddle published by vendors who republish reports they paid Gartner to publish, or Magic Quadrants they paid Gartner to score well. The IT industry is petrified of Gartner and only publishes complementary information about them. The article below is very different.

  • First, it is published by a research entity.
  • Second, no one paid for this article to be written, and it is not pretending to inform you while being rigged to sell you software or consulting services as a vendor or consulting firm that shares their ranking in some Gartner report. Unlike nearly every other article you will find from Google on this topic, it has had no input from any company's marketing or sales department. 

Hype Cycles

“Gartner Hype Cycles provide a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities. Gartner Hype Cycle methodology gives you a view of how a technology or application will evolve over time, providing a sound source of insight to manage its deployment within the context of your specific business goals.”

This is probably one of the more amusing (in a good way) of Gartner’s products. The Hype Cycle, for which there is a book written, describes technology’s reality—primarily the broad applicability of any technology. This is some combination of how new technologies are marketed versus the more difficult work in actually implementing and gaining user acceptance and competence in the technology. Essentially the Hype Cycle estimates wherein the hype cycle a technology is presently so that executives in buying companies can make their investments in technology. Investors also use it to time investments.


“When markets are growing and IT solutions are stable, Magic Quadrants provide the best tool for understanding how the players are competitively positioned. But when new markets emerge and user requirements are in flux, solutions are often approached in wildly different ways, making a competitive positioning less useful. Mature markets present a similar challenge, as the differentiators among consolidating technology providers and solutions grow more difficult to discern.”

I find Gartner’s Marketscopes fill out my picture of the software category. This is, in fact, the real strength of the Gartner analysts, as they have a good understanding of the composition of the market. Marketscopes rate the market as well as the vendors in the software market. Marketscopes essentially tell the corporate buyers how good their options are.

Vendor Ratings

“Clients use our well-defined methodology to rate IT technology providers—large, small, public or private. Gartner Vendor Ratings assess all the different aspects of a technology provider, such as its strategy, organization, products, technology, marketing, financials and support. These ratings are periodically revised to reflect changes in assessment when a significant internal or external event directly affects the provider.”

This is not so much an evaluation of the products of the vendor as the vendor itself. The rating system for vendors is much like the ratings that financial analysts give stocks. Gartner uses five categories to rate vendors: Strong Positive, Positive, Promising, Caution, Strong Negative. This rating benefits more significant vendors that are more established and have more resources. Of course, when a buyer is going to make a purchase decision from a particular vendor, it makes sense to perform some more analysis. I do not find that Vendor Ratings are used often in procurement decisions. Furthermore, because the Magic Quadrant contains so many vendor-related criteria, it seems this analytical product is somewhat redundant.

Market Forecasts

“Our Market Forecasts use primary surveys, inquiry analysis and secondary sources to help you fully understand a market’s future spending pattern. We cover a broad supply chain—from raw materials to semiconductors, to systems, software and services. Gartner forecasts provide two years of history while peering five years into the future. You get a comprehensive understanding of supply and demand by market, country and global region.”

This research is often repeated out on the Internet and helps understand the forecasts and the size of various markets. For instance, Gartner estimates the current level and the growth in overall IT spending. This analytical product is useful for investors.

Market Share

“Understanding market share is one of the most important metrics used by executives in any business. Through our Market Share Analysis methodology, clients see how share is allocated among 400 technology providers in 37 key markets. Our detailed analysis of how provider revenue is allocated reveals what types of solutions are succeeding, which are trailing and where opportunities exist for providers to take additional share.”

This one is self-explanatory. In addition to being useful to buyers, this analytical product is helpful for investors and vendors. Investors can make investment decisions, for instance, by looking for trends in market share. Vendors can review their competitive position by understanding the market share in both the software categories they currently compete in and the market share of various vendors in software categories they are thinking of entering.

Market Updates

This is not a specifically-named product by Gartner, but Gartner routinely writes reports that describe the state of different software categories. Gartner’s market updates provide much more detail and analysis than is generally available from the Internet. Market updates are one of my favorite Gartner offerings. As a researcher, Gartner’s press releases—which do not require a Gartner subscription—help quantify changes in the marketplace. For instance, I recently performed research on ERP SaaS providers and found Gartner’s webpage naming NetSuite as the fastest growing global financial software management vendor. (Interestingly, they did not use the term ERP, although that is how NetSuite classifies itself.)

This short article contained some fascinating information.

  1. “NetSuite’s 2012 global growth rate of 49 percent was entirely organic, significantly outperforming its closest competitors, some of whom relied on acquisitions to gain customers.”
  2. “NetSuite is the only pure cloud company among the Top 15 global FMS vendors.”
  3. “NetSuite’s growth rate was more than four times the growth rates of legacy competitors combined.”
  4. “NetSuite’s growth continues to build upon prior successes as its overall share of the global FMS market jumped to number 12.”

These were all valuable pieces of information. Gartner excels at this broad-scale market analysis type, especially when reflecting on something that has already happened.