Last Updated on July 9, 2021 by Shaun Snapp
- There are sometimes lists published of Gartner competitors.
- We question the validity of the idea of Gartner competitors.
Sometimes the question is raised as to who are the competitors to Gartner. The answer to the question is not as straightforward as it appears.
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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.
Let us start with the biggest companies that are rough approximations to Gartner to answer the question of Gartner competitors.
IDC and Forrester
IDC is a big company, but it covers different areas than Gartner. For the areas covered by Gartner, I never hear IDC mentioned. Forrester used to be a major competitor to Gartner, but Forrester is now tiny in revenues compared to Gartner through so many acquisitions and growth.
Forrester’s Wave, a competitor to the Magic Quadrant, is barely discussed with any companies I consult on software selection.
What is discussed and used for shortlisting is the Magic Quadrant.
G2Crowd is a marketing front end for vendors, something they, like other analysts, do not disclose. To see how G2Crowd functions behind the scenes, see the following article, G2Crowd’s Problem with Financial Disclosure.
They have many reviews, but it’s also difficult to see them as a Gartner competitor. They do have a very popular website.
Many of the listed companies as “competitors” to Gartner are often analysts with websites with tiny visitor volumes. And when people reach out to me (I run a research entity) to discuss or get advice on Gartner, I never hear these companies mentioned.
Getting to the Smaller Firms
Once the big companies are out of the way, the size of the firms drops perilously. I have seen some people list companies that have one or just a few people working for them as a “Gartner competitors” Some of the companies I have seen listed, such as this list by Quora, have extremely low web traffic. They also have very few articles published for public consumption.
Can such tiny companies be called competitors to Gartner? Many companies offer analytical services, but that does not translate into being a competitor for Gartner. A competitor to Gartner must have a significant scale.
Gartner has over $5 billion in revenues per year.
Gartner as a Monopoly
The fact is that Gartner is now close to a monopoly in what it does. There is not going to be a competitor to Gartner until something radical happens. The idea was that the cloud might change the analyst space. But it did not.
If any analyst were to rise to challenge Gartner, Gartner would acquire them before they get too large with their enormous financial resources if a company does rise. Gartner has done this before.
How Gartner Works
Gartner directs software buyers to the most expensive solutions, and this is also who pays Gartner the most. For more on this topic, see the following article How to View Gartner’s Financial Bias in Favor of Large Vendors. The quality of Gartner’s analysis is normally poor, high level in nature, and is filled with financial conflicts.
Gartner constantly makes poor predictions because their predictions are about creating quotes that vendors will repeat. As with many other analysts, many of their reports are sponsored by vendors or consulting firms. Here is what happened when IBM paid Gartner to serve as its marketing front end. This topic is covered in the article How Gartner Got IBM Watson so Wrong and How Gartner Got HANA so Wrong.
Why Gartner’s Customers Can’t Figure Them Out
Gartner’s customers are normally not very sophisticated and are dazzled by Gartner’s name, so this is not a barrier to acceptance and does not appear to damage their credibility. How to Best Understand Gartner’s Business Model. Recall, the rule of monopolies is that they don’t have to provide good value to customers. That is the whole point of becoming a monopoly in the first place.
So my answer is that Gartner has been allowed to acquire and grow itself into a monopoly for what it does. It uses this monopoly power to charge monopolistic prices (Gartner’s fees are exorbitant), aligning with the motivations for becoming a monopoly.
Gartner, Forrester, and others aren’t in the business of producing knowledge. Like nearly all private research (see the article on How Gartner is a Fake Research Entity Like JD Power and Associates), they are about promoting industry and profit-maximizing, all while posing as a research entity. So they will never follow the rules of research or seek to have their results replicated. However, even what has considered real research has a problem with a lack of sharing the data on which the study’s conclusions were based.