Debunking the Magic Quadrant


No long soapbox moment here, just an expansion of a couple quick thoughts.

At the #e2conf in Boston earlier this week, I sat through a half-day workshop run by Tony Byrne, president of analyst firm Real Story Group on evaluating emerging technologies for the enterprise. Great session, enjoyed the content and dialog within the room, but I really enjoyed a slide that he shared, and which I recreated above. It represents the Gartner “magic quadrant” model which all vendors aspire to be included within, with the “right quadrant” to be a part of always in the top right. It signifies that you are the most advanced, most savvy, most capable of executing on your product roadmap and goals. Companies pay huge amounts to have early access to these charts.

The point of the workshop was o help organizations understand how to best navigate through the maze of ISV, SI, and OEM claims and get to the heart of their search – satisfying their customer and end user needs. And that’s where, according to Mr. Byrne, this model fails enterprises. Not that there is anything wrong with this method of organizing and analyzing the capabilities of various companies and their technologies, but because it doesn’t give you a true picture of what is happening within the space, where each platform or vendor may be truly innovating, and what may be the best “fit” for your own organization.

Like most statistics, this is just one slice of data, one snapshot in time, one perspective on the capability of these apples and oranges across a broad field of possible attributes. But maybe the smaller vendor is just in a specialized category that doesn’t register well within this model – and their niche product could be the best solution for your business case.

Byrne’s feedback (and mine) – use this data to inform, but don’t let it be your only industry perspective. More important is to understand your requirements and do the foot work yourself, reviewing vendors solutions and doing a formal Proof of concept (PoC).

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of, a blockchain-based video technology company.