How to Understand Whether Gartner is Worth the Investment

Executive Summary

  • The starting cost for Gartner rises very rapidly. The more Gartner is used.
  • Should buyers be selecting software-based upon Gartner’s MQ ratings?
  • Is Gartner a good value for vendors? If so, for which type of vendors?

Introduction: Is Gartner Worth the Investment

Gartner has a significant influence on enterprise software, but its value is openly questioned.

You will gain insights into the value of Gartner to three different markets that Gartner sells to, software buyers, software vendors, and software investors.

The Best Value of Gartner

I would not be the first to argue that Gartner’s research is more relevant for investors than it is for software buyers. But this also depends upon what analytical product is being used by the investor.

  1. Investors can be confident that right or wrong, Gartner’s opinions will be considered definitive by a large segment of the people that can have a powerful effect on a vendor’s future condition. Because buyers have to implement the application and gain value from its operation, buyers cannot be as confident. So while perception is a reality for investors, this not true for buyers. For example, when I see a poor quality or high overhead application or database rated highly in a Gartner Magic Quadrant, investors can be confident that the product will be included in the shortlists of many software selections, so perception in effect becomes a reality. Strangely, while Gartner’s research seems skewed towards investors, according to Gartner, investors only represent roughly five percent of all business, at least by number (not by revenue).
  2. If investors seek to use Gartner for its technology or market predictions, there is no evidence that Gartner can forecast better than anyone else. Due to famous misses, as we covered in How Gartner Got IBM Watson so Wrong, How Gartner Got HANA So Wrong, How Gartner Got Fiori So Wrong, and Disregarding Gartner’s’s Deeper Technology Insights Predictions, it seems that in some cases (at least according to anecdotal evidence) Gartner is not even attempting to achieve forecast accuracy. Instead Gartner is trying to either make a splash with a prediction or satisfy a large vendor with its projections, as we cover in the article How Gartner Promotes Hype Cycles. In fact, Gartner seems so focused on trends that they at times seem to be running a fashion magazine as we cover in the article Gartner and the Devil Wears Prada. The reason for this is that vendors rely on Gartner to help promote their offerings, and vendors typically have some new hot thing they are promoting. One reason for paying Gartner is to have these items promoted as legitimate, allowing the software vendor to sell more software. The current craze in 2019 is artificial intelligence. A few years ago, it was analytics and Big Data. In a few years, it will be something else.

What is the Starting Cost for Accessing Gartner?

A standard and fundamental subscription to Gartner begins at roughly $30,000. Still, there are rumors that a subscription can be had for less if all that is required is online access to the article database and minimal questions for analysts. The less a company pays, the less access they have to Gartner analysts. However, getting any advice, say on negotiation with SAP, will cost $100,000 and will mostly be a combination of a few interactions with Gartner as well as some negotiation reports, as we covered in What Do You Get for $100,000 from Gartner?

Overall, it takes a large amount of money before Gartner will do much for a client. This lack of effort in the part of Gartner is part of Gartner’s sales strategy. As we cover in the article, Gartner Runs a Boiler Room Operation in Fort Meyers, Gartner uses the lack of value at earlier levels, to upsell customers to higher-level packages. Gartner is very useful at metering out information, so the customer always feels incomplete and, therefore, open to being further upsold. Companies that hire Gartner must understand this game.

It should be noted that legitimate research entities do not use sales tactics taken from boiler room operations. 

Investing Based Upon Gartner’s Ratings

I am convinced that several studies of the effect of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant on the stock performance of software vendors have been performed and that a positive correlation has been found. These studies will never be revealed and will be used to improve the performance of the technology fund that performed the analysis.

Most likely the studies that have been performed privately have not only charted the increased stock price. This is brought about by a favorable rating but address the conditions under which a favorable rating has the most effect (most likely when the rating of a medium-sized vendor increases significantly from the previous year’s Magic Quadrant).

  • The ideal vendor would match up well with Gartner’s Magic Quadrant methodology; however, they should be concentrated in that Magic Quadrant.
  • A large vendor that competes in multiple Magic Quadrants would be more challenging to track because they may have improved their position in some Magic Quadrants, or stayed the same or even declined in others.

What To Do With This Database?

Once a database of this nature was known, the investing company would need to review the Magic Quadrant as soon as it is published and make their buying decision as soon as they can before others can do the same. That is, they would need to determine their investment strategy and be ready to trade before the fact. There are at least two “plays” available to the investment company.

  1. One is the longer-term play that the vendor will receive more sales because of their enhanced Gartner rating,
  2. …and the second is the short-term play that other investors (and possibly insiders at Gartner) are also savvy to the relationship and are buying the same stock.

According to my interviews with Gartner, investors are not all that focused on the Magic Quadrant (which we cover in the article How to Understand Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

Often investors are looking for the next big thing. They want to know who is innovating. In addition to reading Gartner’s research and talking to analysts, investors can also attend various networking events.

Is Gartner Worth the Investment for Software Buyers?

The answer to whether Gartner is worth the investment for buyers depends upon several factors. For instance, one important variable is how much is spent. Some buyers only purchase a subscription from Gartner, while other buyers spend upwards of $10 million on Gartner, at least in some years.

My observation, which is supported by many others who have analyzed this issue, is that far too often, software buyers take Gartner’s reports at face value and focus too much on the results without reviewing the context. (There is also an open question as to how thoroughly the executive read the Gartner reports.)

Gartner’s Magic Quadrants show a strong bias and problematic logic once analyzed. This MQ for databases is one example, which we cover in the article Can Anyone Make Sense of Gartner’s Insane ODMS Magic Quadrant.

Something any Gartner customer should question is why Gartner so aggressively opposes open source, and how this is driven by Gartner’s’s revenue model which we cover in the article How Gartner Makes its Money, and why open source can never fit into their revenue model as we cover in the article How Gartner Opposes Open Source for its Benefit.

Gartner Wants Its Reports and MQs Explained by Analysts at More $$$

Gartner does not want buyers to use their analytical products without paying to discuss the products further with an analyst. They also say that only 10 to 15% of the information in their reports is actually in the report. The rest is kept in the mind of the analyst. It should be straightforward to imagine what would happen if a legitimate research entity wrote their reports this way. We ranked Gartner against real research entities, and the results can be found in the article How Gartner’s Research Compares to Real Research Entities.

As a Software Buyer Getting Value Out of Gartner

In terms of getting the best value for the time spent with a Gartner analyst, I would recommend merely telling the analyst your high-level requirements and then letting them recommend a shortlist of vendors for you. The less well-defined the requirements, the more this will cost in terms of the analyst’s time, and a full Gartner-guided software selection will be quite expensive and not entirely necessary.

Gartner for Software Selection?

The Gartner analyst is not the best person to tell you if a vendor can meet your specific requirements. That is why I recommend communicating your high-level requirements to the analyst. Analysts at Gartner do not get into that level of detail in their vendor briefings. Standard types of information to have ready before such a call with a Gartner analyst would be:

  1. How much you want to spend
  2. Your general preferences:
    1. Are you very focused on having leading functionality, or on having a low-risk implementation?
    2. How important is software support to you?
    3. Etc.
  3. Where is the software being implemented now and in the future globally?

These are just examples; the Gartner analyst will have the full list of items that they will need to provide you with the feedback that you require. In addition to detailed surveys, the Gartner analyst will have their interactions with vendors and software demonstrations to work from. They will not release all of the survey information to you, but if you tell the analyst the type of information above, they can offer you a shortlist that of vendors that may be a good fit for you. Overall, Gartner’s insights are a lot more shallow than most assume. Gartner does not actually use the software they rate, and has many examples of being completely incorrect on their projections. One example we cover in the article Gartner’s Disastrous Advice on Mainframes.

Staying Away from Short Cuts

Many buyers will take shortcuts during the software selection process, and many are far too easily led through the process by skillful salespeople and presales people.[1] Under these circumstances, Gartner can do more harm than good. Over-relying on Gartner analytical products—without getting context from Gartner—can cost a company far more than their subscription, and has cost several companies in precisely in this way.

While we are on the subject of costs, a software buyer that has just a few purchases to make in a year will often need to spend at least $60,000 once the analyst services are included, but this buys very little analyst time, and the costs escalate rapidly. This is not very much money for most enterprise software buyers. If spending this money enabled better decision-making on just a single application selection, it would quickly pay for itself.

Every new software (or hardware, consulting, or telecommunications) purchase that is made requires at least some type of advisement session with a Gartner analyst, and the more products to be purchased, the higher the cost.

However, this price must also be compared to other alternatives in the market. Gartner may be able to provide actionable intelligence to buyers, but it is certainly not the only source of information out there. In addition to asking the question of whether or not Gartner’s research and discussions with analysts can improve software selection, the question must also be asked as to how Gartner’s costs compare to alternative sources of information. More than likely, Gartner is the most expensive information source that a company can purchase, so a little bit of Gartner buys a lot of information from other sources.

Is Gartner Worth the Investment for Software Vendors?

The first question of whether it is worth having a subscription to Gartner if one is a software vendor is generally a no-brainer, and the significant vendors all know this and spend quite a bit of money on Gartner. Gartner likes to pretend that this does not influence their rankings as we cover in the article Is Gartner Correct that they are Unbiased, as they state they have an ombudsman where vendors can bring complaints which we analyzed in the article How to Best Understand Gartner’s’s Ombudsman. Gartner created this fake office to keep from having to disclose who it vendor funders are, and it has never disclosed this information as we cover in the article What is the Difference Between the Gartner Ombudsman and Disclosure. Gartner is so biased in its coverage that we caught them distributing straight PR material from vendors as their work, as we cover in the article How Gartner Distributes HANA Press Releases. This disclosure problem is industry-wide as we cover in the article G2Crowds Problem with Financial Disclosure.

Smaller vendors need to see where they rank, and the information that buyers and investors are reading about them. Vendors don’t have a way of getting out of the Gartner system of tribute. If vendors do not pay, Gartner will retaliate against those vendors by lowering their rankings, as we cover in the article How Gartner Controls Vendors.

The financial bias in the Magic Quadrants is entirely traceable to who pays the most to Gartner. Not long after new software companies raise a tremendous amount of money, they seem to very quickly perform quite well in Gartner’s Magic Quadrants. Two notable examples of this are the vendors Birst and Snowflake.

In addition to vendor ratings, Gartner offers a great deal of analysis regarding current topics in the software industry, with mergers or new directions for software, hardware, and consulting companies, which we cover in the article The Analytical Products Offered by Gartner. Even if a vendor disagreed with all of Gartner’s ratings (and their rating with Gartner), a subscription to Gartner would be valuable from the perspective of market intelligence.

Vendors do want to know the answer to one central question: whether Gartner is worth participating in a more meaningful and expensive way (educating, buying consulting services from, attending Gartner events, etc.).

The Expense of Gartner

Any vendor who has dealt with Gartner knows how expensive it is to participate with them.

How much it benefits a software vendor is very much based upon the nature of the vendor and its product. Of course, it’s more than that. A software vendor that is dedicated to improving its rating with Gartner must also invest time and energy into educating Gartner. It is estimated to cost between $50,000 and $100,000 in direct fees to keep up Gartner on one’s products in a way that can put the vendor in the best possible position in the Magic Quadrant and Gartner’s other analytical products. This is sometimes referred to as the “Gartner Tax.” There are numerous approximations of how much it costs to get your software rated with Gartner, and so much of it is situational. There is also the question of how many products a vendor has to offer. This initial estimate is for one or two products. The price does not scale directly with each new product that the vendor needs to educate Gartner about, but generally, the price does go up.

Because many of the cost estimates are not specific as to the number of products for which Gartner is providing technical advisory services, the exact amount of money a vendor would need to budget is not known.

Quotes on Gartner’s’s Costs to Vendors

Some interesting quotes on this topic are listed below:

“All in (SAS Costs, Travel, Prep Time an optionally become a client) the cost of creating a good relationship with a Gartner Group analyst seems to average around $75k.” – Anonymous on Quora.com

“Being a client enables you to get ‘face time’ with the Gartner analyst team which is critical to getting their mindshare and more favorable positioning for you.  This means attending their events and scheduling 1-on-1 time with them regularly, responding to all their requests for information and even booking a few days of paid analyst consulting time.

So I’d say you can in the box for $25K but if you want to really get value out of it you will want to spend more. Factoring in travel costs and extra fees it’s probably closer to $50-100K/year for a full effort.”  – Kris Tuttle, Director of Research, Soundview Technology

These quotations are instructive regarding the costs to vendors to hire Gartner, and their cost estimates are similar. However, I want to note that these are only the explicit or direct costs of hiring Gartner. There are also internal costs that a vendor must tabulate to calculate their total costs.

The Internal Costs of Hiring Gartner

For example, not included in these costs estimates is the vendor’s labor cost to comply with Gartner’s requirements. There are forms to be filled out and communication with Gartner to keep up. A software vendor might make a similar investment when trying to make a software deal. The difference is that there is no software sale at the end of the process, only the potential that future customers will contact the software vendor because of the better ranking provided by Gartner. A vendor can quickly recover that much in software sales and consulting fees that would result from an improved Gartner rating.

Gartner has a lot of overhead to be placed in their MQ. Gartner analysts have huge egos, and vendors report that if they pay, as well as make the analyst feel good about themselves, they score better. Some people can be hired that look after alliances that disingenuously compliment Gartner analysts and tell them how much they value their advice. 

There is no reason as to why dealing with Gartner should cost this much, except that Gartner is in a dominant position in the IT analyst space, and therefore vendors can expect to have to play by their rules. Gartner can demand a premium payment from software vendors, and many software vendors are obligated to pay it.

In addition to consulting services, there is a cost to participate in Gartner conferences, which start at roughly $35,000 for the basic package (booth at a conference, Gartner-arranged private get-together with potential clients, etc.), and can move up rapidly in price.

I have spoken with several vendors who mentioned that buying their technology advisement services assists them in getting a better ranking with Gartner. However, these technology advisor services are enormously expensive per consulting hour. Furthermore, the question of how much to spend very much depends upon the characteristics of the company, with size being the most important determining factor, which is why I broke down the benefits by vendor size in the following paragraphs.

For Large Vendors

For the major software vendors, their participation is a godsend, and the decision to participate is an easy one. I am certainly not telling large vendors anything they don’t already know. Furthermore, large companies like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft have so much money, what is several million handed over to Gartner? Gartner’s methodologies are designed to make these large vendors look as good as possible, so the value to these vendors is excellent, and they all sign up for Gartner’s services.

I have read Gartner statements where they say that software buyers are increasingly interested in future solutions under development by major vendors. As a result, major vendors are being listed in quadrants, for which Gartner readily admits the vendor has no product—yet. The value in doing so is to get software buyers to postpone their software selection until a significant software vendor they are familiar with comes out with the application. Here Gartner does the bidding of their largest vendor customers.

While not the most extreme example, neither SAP not Oracle should be where they are listed in this MQ. However, they were placed where they are due to the money paid by SAP and Oracle to Gartner every year. 

For the significant vendors, Gartner is just one of several strategies that allow them not to have to compete as much on their product, which includes partnering with major consulting companies, promoting the integration of applications within their suites, etc.

How Outspending Smaller Vendors Improves Ratings

SAP, Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft can outspend (in time and money) smaller vendors and get higher ratings that are especially valuable for marginal or immature products. For instance, any new product that SAP comes out with, no matter how buggy, will be rated decently merely because of SAP’s size. Microsoft SharePoint, the worst content management system I have ever seen, but one which I am forced to use because it is installed at every one of my clients is well-rated by Gartner.

Gartner seems to rate large software vendors high on “ability to execute,” even when I have seen many implementation problems, so being big is no guarantee of implementation success.

Gartner surveys quality measurements, but the methodology—just being large—increases how Gartner views a vendor’s “ability to execute.” This category of vendors doesn’t need to invest much time impressing Gartner, and for prominent vendors, Gartner is an automatic purchase. For all of these reasons, the large vendors are perpetual Gartner customers in the realm of multi-million dollars per year. In this way, Gartner can be viewed as a primary anticompetitive impediment that continually pushes buyers to the most expensive solutions, as we cover in the article Gartner and the Patent Software System.

For Medium-sized Vendors

For medium vendors, the marketing benefit to improving or maintaining one’s quadrant position/rating is typically worth the yearly cost and associated costs of working with Gartner. This is particularly true of vendors that have international offices and broader software suites, and therefore that fit with Gartner’s methodologies.

I believe the benefits are fewer for medium-sized vendors, but the return on investment can still be positive. There are not just three categories of vendors (large, medium, small) but rather a continuum of vendors. The bigger you are as a vendor, the more incentive there is to participate with Gartner.

For Small Vendors

The smaller the vendor, the more difficult it is to score well. Small vendors may have the best products in their class. Still, the best they can hope for is to make it into the Visionary quadrant. And that is if they are lucky enough to compete in a Magic Quadrant directed explicitly towards their product rather than a Magic Quadrant where their product must compete against software suites.

Gartner salespeople will make the pitch that buying their consulting services can improve a vendor’s ranking. Still, given their criteria, it’s more sales talk than reality, because it does not fit with Gartner’s methodology. I have pointed this out previously, but it’s worth repeating: I do not think that Gartner will adjust the numbers for a vendor that pays them money and purchases their technology advisor services. Instead, the methodology, combined with higher exposure to products from vendors that they are paid to get to know better, is where the improvements in rankings come from. For instance, because of my genetics and exercise, I score well in my age category for physical strength. However, I am not and have never been a fast runner. I could never perform very well in any ranking system for athletic performance that is more focused on speed than strength (i.e., its methodology is tilted towards speed). The same principle applies here.

Sweetening the Pot for Smaller Vendors

To give smaller vendors that don’t have a chance of doing well in the Magic Quadrant the incentive to buy consulting services, Gartner may profile them as a “Cool Vendor,” which is another report that they create. This prevents Gartner from losing revenue due to smaller vendors dropping out.

“First of all there are so many different quadrants at this point (so that competing firms can each claim a top spot) that virtually anyone can claim that they are in the upper right. Secondly, what CFO will base their decision on what Gartner says? Every firm has a unique “Magic Quadrant” based on their history, infrastructure, existing portfolio, etc. To suggest that there is a universal winner is simply marketing/revenue generation and a way for them to drive additional consulting services.”Jon Carrow

However, in the final analysis, no other Gartner product is close to as influential as the Magic Quadrant. (I asked this question of people I interviewed for this book, and they could not recall other Gartner analytical products as being that influential.) I do not recall people adding the winners of “Cool Vendors” to a software selection shortlist.

The Necessity of Placing Well Known Applications High (For Credibility)

If a vendor’s product is well-known in its space, Gartner will want to include it in the Magic Quadrant regardless of whether the vendor pays Gartner or not. However, they won’t rank the vendor where it should be ranked because of the criteria that they use. Many small vendors who repeatedly see more significant vendors with worse products than theirs ranked significantly above them in the Magic Quadrant, typically opt out of the Gartner system once they find out how much money Gartner wants for their services. There is a distinct relationship between how large a vendor is and how fair the Gartner rankings are. The smallest vendors with the most innovative products tend to take the dimmest view of Gartner’s research.

Secondly, smaller software vendors have less money to spend than the more significant software vendors. Therefore participation and consulting services purchased from Gartner are much less of a sure thing. However, Gartner can begin to make sense to a small vendor depending upon the timing and where that vendor is in their growth stage, as well as how neatly their products fit into the Magic Quadrant. For example, smaller companies that are ready to make the next move and that have the organizational and consulting capabilities to handle larger deals may feel it is time to engage Gartner.

How Gartner Functions

The following anonymous quote is instructive.

The Gartner and Forresters of these worlds have a simple, yet effective model: they talk to businesses, observe what is common, figure out some new terms and write about what is for 80% already present, so they find a willing ear with the audience because it suits the narrative instead of saying you doing it all wrong. Gartner doesn’t innovate, they replicate. You will never hear a Gartner person contradict someone and they assume authority by bombarding you with ‘facts’.

This video shows how an analytics solution can be used to show the Gartner MQ changing over time. This video illustrates the common problem with analytics — which is that it creates the analytics, without any analysis as to whether Gartner’s Magic Quadrant has any validity. This is common in the enterprise software space, where none of the financial biases or claims are fact-checked. If you use an advanced analytics tool, but you don’t apply any critical thinking, nor do you know the domain — the result is false insight. 

There is virtually no analysis of Gartner in the enterprise software space. As we cover in the article How to Understand Why IT Lacks Functioning Research Entities Covering SAP, there are virtually no entities performing research or that have independence from vendors and consulting firms in the enterprise software space.

The enterprise software space is brainless from a research perspective. Companies do not bother to check the accuracy of firms like Gartner. All that is normally necessary is for an established brand to say something us true. That is it is not only Gartner. Deloitte, WiPro, or IDC can propose something, and because these are established brands, even though the information is in most cases false — it tends to be believed.

Advice on Enjoying the Gartner Quiz

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Conclusion

This article did not analyze the value of every one of Gartner’s products but instead focused on the value related to software and vendor rankings. Several additional services can be purchased from Gartner. For example, some companies hire Gartner to help them raise money from the investment community. I cannot say how much Gartner charges for this service or what their success ratio is for assisting companies in raising capital.

Throughout this article, I have discussed whether or not Gartner’s services are worth the expense. I have explained that in some cases, they are, and in some cases, they probably are not and that the determination changes depending upon “who you are.”

Comparing Gartner to Alternatives

Comparing Gartner research to the alternatives, such as other IT analyst firms, must also be addressed. For instance, even though Gartner is much larger and more prominent than Forrester, there are some things that Forrester does better. If the focus is a content management and collaboration software (and more), The Real Story has far less financial bias than Gartner because they do not take money from vendors. Depending upon the specific category of software, there may be a smaller IT analyst firm that covers it better. As usual, the best approach is not to commit everyone to one IT analyst firm, but to use different ones for different purposes. One strategy might be to purchase multiple-seat Gartner subscriptions but only use Gartner analysts for the software categories. This is where Gartner is the preferred source, and to augment Gartner with other IT analyst firms for specific software categories where these firms have better offerings. Unlike Gartner, many IT analyst firms allow their customers to buy a single article, making for a very cost-effective approach and allowing the company to compare and contrast different reports.

Academic Research (for Some IT Topics)

However, other IT analyst firms are not the only alternative to Gartner. For instance, I often rely on academic research when writing books and articles. Academic research will not tell you if you should buy vendor A or vendor B but provides a good overview of software categories. Another reason to look for a diversity of opinion beyond IT analysts is that writing orientation is entirely different. For instance, as with consultants, all IT analysts tend to be promoted because they make money when companies buy and implement new software. Academic researchers want to get more funding to perform more research; they are not attempting to sell software or consulting services. As a result, academic research is not promotional and may provide a historical context, often missing from commercial information sources.

Aside from the orientation of the writing, the depth of analysis is another reason to expand outside of IT analysts and general IT publications. Academics are trained to research the nature of cause and effect thoroughly. Individuals with PhDs perform all academic research, so there are more highly-trained researchers in academia than exist in IT analyst firms (although some of those that work in IT analyst firms do have PhDs). Academic researchers perform literature reviews and make sure that their research conclusions are consistent, or that any discrepancies can be explained within the context of other research in the same area. Academic research is, of course, less up-to-date than IT analyst research, so one cannot expect the latest happenings in IT from academia. All this to say that IT analysts should only be seen as one potential information source for a company that wishes to inform its decision-making.

The Overall Expense Level of IT Analysts

The final point is that IT analyst research is the most expensive of the various written sources of information available to a company. The money spent on a certain level of IT analyst research can purchase an enormous amount of information from other sources. Of course, this scenario changes a bit, depending upon the party using the information. Vendors wanting to improve their ranking with Gartner will need to spend money on Gartner’s technology advisory services, and then make the adjustments recommended by Gartner. But buyers and investors should first determine how much time and money is to be allocated to software research. IT analysts should be allocated some percentage of that total, and within that category, Gartner would be a certain percentage.

Gartner as an Automatic Response

As you can see, I am suggesting that companies develop a research strategy that takes into account all the different sources of information available to the company, and that justifies how much time and money is to be spent on each information source. All of the various information sources have sliding scales in terms of time and effort. Performing such an analysis will lead to the best possible value for a company’s research effort. By studying a more comprehensive view of the overall research effort, one can make the appropriate trade-offs. However, by in large, the primary customers for Gartner’s research do not do this (except investors who are quite used to synthesizing various information sources). Buyers tend to go directly to Gartner or their other favorite IT analyst firm when a purchase decision is pending. Frequently the decision of who to rely upon is ad hoc and based merely upon what the company did in the past.

The Problem: Thinking that Gartner is Focused on What is True

Gartner is hired by companies who fundamentally don’t understand how Gartner functions. Gartner has virtually no first-hand experience in the technologies that they evaluate and get most of their information from speaking with executives at buyers or executives at vendors and consulting firms. Gartner is also not a research entity. They compare very poorly to real research entities once you dig into the details as we did in the article How Gartner’s Research Compares to Real Research Entities. Gartner serves to direct IT spending to the most expensive solutions as these are the companies that can afford to pay Gartner the most money. Gartner has enormously aggressive internal sales goals that place accuracy far below revenue growth in importance.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

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References

[1] I cover this in detail in the book Enterprise Software Selection.

[2] All that is known is what the large companies are reputed to spend, in addition to statements from different heads of marketing at vendors as to what they spent previously. I found from one source that IBM pays $5 million to Gartner, but I have no way of corroborating the source. It is generally estimated that the major vendors are all in the multi-million dollar range.

Gartner Book

Gartner and the Magic Quadrant: A Guide for Buyers, Vendors, and Investors

Gartner is the most influential IT analyst firm in the world. Their approval can make or break a vendor in an application category, or at the very least control their growth. Gartner has been behind most of the major IT trends for decades. However, many people read Gartner reports without understanding how Gartner works, how it comes to its information, its orientation, or even the details of the methods it uses for its analytical products. All of this and more is explained in this book.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: An Overview of Gartner
  • Chapter 3: How Gartner Makes Money
  • Chapter 4: Comparing Gartner to the RAND Corporation, and Academic Research
  • Chapter 5: The Magic Quadrant
  • Chapter 6: Other Analytical Products Offered by Gartner
  • Chapter 7: Gartner’s Future and Cloud Computing
  • Chapter 8: Adjusting the Magic Quadrant
  • Chapter 9: Is Gartner Worth the Investment?
  • Chapter 10: Conclusion
  • Appendix a: How to Use Independent Consultants for Software Selection
  • Appendix b: What Does the History of Media Tell Us About This Topic
  • Appendix c: Disclosure Statements and Code of Ethics