You don’t have to be a Gartner client to get a good “dot” on the Magic Quadrant

One of the continuing myths in the IT industry is that Gartner demands payment from vendors for placement on its research. This even came up in a comment – anonymously posted of course – on a blog post written by Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Tom Bittman (bio, blog, Twitter) called A Rant – My Integrity as an Analyst.

SageCircle knows this is not the case from personal experience, but also because we get collaborating evidence from our clients. Just last week we were on an inquiry with a client, a small software company, who was included on a Magic Quadrant in the Visionary square months before they even considered signing up for a Gartner contract. The reason for the inquiry with SageCircle? In the draft update of the Magic Quadrant their dot had moved to the left. Yikes. However, the reason for the less favorable position had nothing to do with their client status or the size of their contract. Rather it was because they had not noticed that the lead author on the Magic Quadrant had changed. Once we figured this out, they understood that their problem was that they had never briefed the new analyst.

We also know of large vendors who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with Gartner year in and year out only never to get onto a Magic Quadrant on which they wanted to be included.

However, in the past it has also been true that some unscrupulous Gartner sales representatives have played the research placement card when they desperately needed to close a contract or risked being fired. That said, vendors need to know that Gartner would deal harshly with any sales representative that crossed the line.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR should educate executives and other stakeholders about the pay-to-play myth concerning Gartner
  • Vendors should contact the Gartner Office of the Ombudsman if a Gartner sales representative implies pay-to-play

Bottom Line: It is in AR’s best interest to address myths that Gartner or any other large advisory firm requires vendors to have contracts in order to brief the analysts or to be included in research. If vendor executives buy into the myth they will think that they only have to write a check rather than spend the real “currency” for favorable inclusion in Gartner research – appropriate investment in best-in-class analyst relations and their own time to interact with the analysts on a regular basis.

Question: AR – Do you hear any variations of this myth from your executives and other colleagues?

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3 Responses

  1. […] Gartner bias issue has popped up again – where are the aliens? CarterLusher has leaped to the defence of Gartner following a post by Tom […]

  2. […] Comments The Gartner bias iss… on You don’t have to be a Gartner…Flash in the Pan? … on Will there be “Altimeter envy”…How AR used analyst … […]

  3. Good summary. Personally I’ve given up trying to convince third parties that our research is impartial. In part it’s because several other analyst firms CAN be bought that there is an expectation that all firms are at it. I do though have some advice for your AR professional readers regarding buying influence.

    If you really want to spend quality time with an MQ author understanding how your company can improve in an MQ, don’t organize SAS inside of 3 months before an update with the author. Here’s why.

    Let’s imagine your company has performed well, and is due an upgrade. How can an impartial analyst upgrade the dot, in the knowledge that the perception by your colleagues will be they can pay to improve?

    Are you risking your position by trying to buy influence?

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