The Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) is the brand name for a series of market research reports published by Gartner Inc., a US-based research and advisory firm. According to Gartner, the Magic Quadrant aims to provide a qualitative analysis into a market and its direction, maturity and participants.
Their analyses are conducted for several specific technology industries and are updated every 1–2 years.
Gartner rates vendors upon two criteria: completeness of vision and ability to execute. Using a methodology which Gartner does not disclose, these component scores lead to a vendor position in one of four quadrants:
- Leaders are said to score higher on both criteria: the ability to execute and completeness of vision. These are said to be typically larger, mature businesses.
- Challengers are said to score higher on the ability to execute and lower on the completeness of vision. Typically larger, settled businesses with what Gartner claims to be minimal future plans for that industry.
- Visionaries are said to score lower on the ability to execute and higher on the completeness of vision. Typically smaller companies.
- Niche players are said to score lower on both criteria: the ability to execute and completeness of vision. Typically new additions to the Magic Quadrant.
It has been pointed out that the criteria for the Magic Quadrant cater more towards investors and large vendors than towards buyers.
Much of the criticism is focused on the lack of disclosure of the money received from the vendors it rates, raising conflict of interest issues. Also a source of criticism is the lack of disclosure on the vendor's component scores and the lack of transparency in Gartner's methodology used to derive the vendor's position on the MQ map.
There's also a hidden tax on vendors, favouring those with well staffed Analyst relations teams: each of those 'landscape reports' can take up to 150–200 hours for each vendor, putting MQ's out of reach for those without dedicated AR resources.
The Magic Quadrant, and analysts in general, also skew the market: according to research conducted by a Scottish lecturer  by applying their methodologies to describe a market, they change that marketplace to fit their tools.
Another criticism is that open source vendors are not considered sufficiently by analysts like Gartner, as has been published in an unusual online discussion between a VP from Talend and a German Research VP from Gartner.
Gartner was the target of a federal lawsuit (filed May 29, 2009) from software vendor, ZL Technologies, challenging the “legitimacy” of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant rating system. Gartner filed a motion to dismiss by claiming First Amendment protection since it contends that its MQ reports contain "pure opinion," which legally means opinions which are not based on fact. The court threw out the ZL case because it lacked a specific complaint. That decision was upheld on appeal.
Industry scrutiny has resurfaced in the light of Gartner's release of their 2012 eGRC Magic Quadrant. Michael Rasmussen, a long time Forrester analyst, who is now independent and first defined the GRC market, recently published a "rant" regarding the methods and outcomes of Gartner and Forrester analysis. This critique has received many online responses (many in the consulting and software industry who remain anonymous) validating Mr. Rasmussen's conclusions and experiences, often citing the fundamental, and arguably obvious, conflict of interest.
Analyzed markets include:
|Magic Quadrant Name||External Link||Published||Link Verified|
|Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA Application Projects||||21 Oct 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Application Performance Management||||16 Aug 2012||28 Dec 2013|
|Business Intelligence Platforms||
|29 Jan 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Business Process Analysis Tools||||22 Feb 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Business Process Management Suites|
|Client Management Tools||||31 Jan 2012||27 Mar 2012|
|Communications Outsourcing and Professional Services, Worldwide||||03 Mar 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Continuous Controls Monitoring||
|23 Mar 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Corporate Performance Management Suites||||25 Jan 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|CRM Customer Service Contact Centers||||09 Apr 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|CRM Multichannel Campaign Management||||13 May 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Data Integration Tools||||25 Nov 2009||28 Nov 2010|
|Data Warehouse Database Management Systems||
|28 Jan 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Data Center Outsourcing and Utility Services, Europe||||27 Apr 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Energy Trading and Risk Management Platforms||||14 Apr 2011||11 Apr 2012|
|Enterprise Content Management||||16 Nov 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Enterprise LAN (Global)||||10 Jun 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Enterprise Marketing Management||||14 Oct 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Enterprise Single Sign-On||||15 Sep 2009||28 Nov 2010|
|Enterprise Wireless E-Mail Software Market||||10 Jun 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Field Service Management||||17 Oct 2012||09 Oct 2013|
|Global Network Service Providers||||08 Mar 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Help Desk Outsourcing, Europe||||20 Jul 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Horizontal Portals||||03 Sep 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Integrated Workplace Management Systems||||31 Jul 2008||24 Jan 2011|
|Integration Service Providers||||20 Nov 2009||28 Nov 2010|
|Integrated Software Quality Suites||||31 Jan 2011||16 Mar 2011|
|ITSM IT Service Management||||20 Aug 2012||29 Dec 2013|
|IT Project and Portfolio Management||||07 Jun 2010||28 Nov 2010|
|Managed File Transfer||||18 Sept 2009||22 Sept 2009|
|Managed Security Service Providers, North America||
|16 Apr 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Master Data Management for Customer Data||||16 Jun 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Master Data Management for Product Data||||09 Jul 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|MFPs and Printers||||09 Dec 2008||08 Aug 2009|
|Midmarket and Tier 2-Oriented ERP for Product-Centric Companies||||04 Jun 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Single-Instance ERP for Product-Centric Midmarket Companies||||27 June 2012||27 June 2012|
|Network Access Control||||27 Mar 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Network Configuration and Change Management|
|Network Intrusion-prevention system||||04 Apr 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Outage Management Systems||||08 Jun 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Product Life Cycle Management|||
|Sales Force Automation||||28 Jul 2010||17 Aug 2010|
|Security Information and Event Management||||29 May 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|SMB Multifunction Firewalls||||10 Jul 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Social Software||||31 Oct 2008||08 Aug 2009|
|Software Change & Configuration Management (Distributed Platforms)||||26 Mar 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|SSL VPNs||||11 Dec 2008||08 Aug 2009|
|Transportation Management Systems||||13 Apr 2010||29 Sep 2011|
|Unified Communications||||12 Sep 2008||08 Aug 2009|
|Utilities Customer Information Systems||||15 Jun 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|User Provisioning||||15 Aug 2008||08 Aug 2009|
|Video Telepresence Solutions|||
|WAN Optimization Controllers||||30 Jun 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Warehouse Management Systems||||06 Apr 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Web Content Management||||05 Aug 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Web Fraud Detection||||18 Jun 2013|
|Web Hosting and Hosted Cloud System Infrastructure Services (On Demand)||||02 Jul 2009||08 Aug 2009|
|Wireless LAN Infrastructure||||26 Nov 2008||08 Aug 2009|
- "Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes: How Gartner Evaluates Vendors Within a Market". Gartner. 02/2008. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- "Looking beyond the magic quadrant to find the nitty-gritty". CMS Watch. 2009-08-07. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
- IIAR: Gartner details the MQ process http://analystrelations.org/2011/01/13/gartner-details-the-mq-process/
- IIAR: Why vendors should take analysts seriously http://analystrelations.org/2012/09/26/guest-post-why-it-vendors-should-take-industry-analysts-more-seriously
- "Vendor complains in a very public blog post about Gartner's Data Integration Magic Quadrant". sagecircle. 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
- IIAR blog post: Is shooting on the referee productive? http://analystrelations.org/2009/10/21/is-shooting-on-the-referee-productive/
- ZL Technologies Lawsuit http://www.scribd.com/doc/21393241/ZL-v-Gartner-Complaint
- ZL Technologies Appeal http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/memoranda/view.php?pk_id=0000007656
- "GRC 20/20 Research, LLC - Home". Grc2020.com. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- "Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes". Gartner. 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
- "Allegro Recognized as a Leader in the “Magic Quadrant” by Premier Industry Analyst Firm in Report on ETRM Platforms - pr - Allegro Development Corporation". Allegrodev.com. 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- IIAR blog Series of MQ-related post from the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations
- The Register Article showing blind spots and alternate presentations
- E-Commerce Times Problems with Magic Quadrant
- Demystifying the Magic Quadrant Review of oddities in MQ for ECM
- Federal Computer Week IG criticizes over-reliance of Magic Quadrant for US Government contract
- Downfall of AR and the Gartner Magic Quadrant Technobabble 2.0 reuses well known Downfall meme to create parody of Gartner's Magic Quadrant from an analyst relations perspective