Who Are Gartner’s Competitors in the IT Analyst Space?

Last Updated on February 10, 2022 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • There are sometimes lists published of Gartner competitors.
  • We question the validity of the idea of Gartner competitors.

Introduction

Sometimes the question is raised as to who are the competitors to Gartner. Generally, people are quick to begin listing other companies that are IT, analysts. However, the answer to the question is not as straightforward as it first appears.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and other Brightwork related articles, see this link.

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 begin with the most prominent companies that are rough approximations to Gartner to answer the question of Gartner competitors.

Category #1: IDC and Forrester

IDC is a big company and one of the most prominent IT analysts globally, but it covers different areas than Gartner, and there is not much overlap between what Gartner covers and what IDC covers.

For the areas covered by Gartner, I never heard IDC mentioned. Forrester used to be a significant competitor to Gartner, but Forrester is now tiny in revenues compared to Gartner through 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.

It isn’t easy to see either IDC or Forrester as actual competitors for Gartner.

Category #2: G2Crowd

G2Crowd is a marketing front end for vendors, which they, like other analysts, do not disclose. This is why you will find it is infrequent for an application to have a low rating on G2Crown. 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 challenging to see them as a Gartner competitor. However, the website is very popular.

Category #3: The Smaller Firms

Once the big companies are out of the way, the size of the firms drops precipitously. I have seen some people list companies that have one or just a few people working for them as “Gartner competitors” Some of the companies I have seen listed, such as this list by Quora, have meager web traffic. They also have very few articles published for public consumption. 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. Can such tiny companies be called competitors to Gartner? Many companies offer analytical services, but that does not translate into Gartner’s competitor. A competitor to Gartner must have a significant scale.

Interpreting Gartner as a Monopoly

The fact is that Gartner is now close to a monopoly in what it does. There will not be a competitor to Gartner until something radical happens. The idea was that the cloud might change the analyst space. But it did not. The cloud is very dominant in the infrastructure area of software but is far less prevalent in the application area.

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, and this is how it grew to be as large as it is, by killing competitors before posing a threat to Gartner.

Basic Gartner Operating Principles

The following are foundational principles that Gartner follows.

Objective #1: Promoting Patent Software Over Open Source

Gartner directs software buyers to the most expensive solutions, and this is also who pays Gartner the most. Observe that Gartner tries to dissuade its buyers from purchasing open source, as open-source projects cannot afford to pay Gartner. You can read more on this topic in the article Gartner and the Patent Software System and Why Open Source Does Not Fight Back Against Gartner and Other IT Analysts.

Objective #2: Promoting Packaged Software Over Custom Developed Software and Open Source

Gartner always supports packaged software over custom development. This is not because Gartner has any expertise in this topic, but custom development departments in companies can’t pay Gartner, while software vendors can. Therefore, Gartner promotes packaged software and the removal of any custom-developed system — and that furthermore, no custom-developed applications should be created in the future.

Objective #3: Promoting The Most Expensive Solutions from the Largest Software Vendors

The vendors that can afford to pay Gartner the most as the most prominent software vendors, so Gartner consistently rates their products the highest. 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 usually is exceptionally simplistic, filled with ludicrous jargon targeted at the intellectually weak and insecure, is high level in nature, and is filled with undisclosed financial conflicts of interests.

Objective #4: Making Attention-Grabbing Technology Forecasts That Promote a Software Vendor or Category That Pays Well

Gartner constantly makes poor predictions because they create quotes that vendors will repeat in their marketing collateral. Accuracy is immaterial as no one goes back and checks Gartner’s forecast accuracy after the fact. As with many other analysts, most of their reports are sponsored by vendors or consulting firms. When IBM paid Gartner to serve as its marketing front end, how Gartner Got IBM Watson so Wrong and How Gartner Got HANA so Wrong.

Why Gartner’s Customers Can’t Figure Them Out And Keep Buying Very Poor Quality Rigged IT Research

Gartner’s customers usually are 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. I have had many discussions with executives in IT departments and never ran into one that understands research. So they can’t tell excellent or authentic research from fake research, like that produced by Gartner and virtually all the IT analysts. See this article How to Best Understand Gartner’s Business Model for more on that topic.

Recall, the rule of monopolies is that they don’t have to provide good value to customers, and that is the whole point of becoming a monopoly in the first place. Because software buyers believe that Gartner is the “gold standard,” they have to continue to buy Gartner, and Gartner can put anything in their reports that they want, and software buyers will continue to buy from Gartner.

Conclusion

Gartner does not have any real competitors. This is not to say that software buyers don’t access information from multiple places, but only one IT analyst in the world has Gartner’s influence on software purchases.