The Gartner Magic Quadrant has faced some controversy over the years.
On one side of the coin, there are plenty of industry experts and communication enthusiasts that regard the Magic Quadrant to be an insightful guide into various IT markets. On the other hand, some companies and consumers alike feel that Gartner isn’t entirely fair with its ranking strategy.
After all, dozens of high-quality communications vendors fail to meet the standards required for a position on the Magic Quadrant, despite their innovative portfolios and commitment to customer service. As highly-regarded as the Quadrant might be, it’s worth noting that Gartner isn’t necessarily the gospel for Unified Communications, or any other IT sector for that matter – it’s just another analyst.
This year, after being pushed aside into the “niche” category for Unified Communications, NEC were keen to have their thoughts heard about the whole thing.
NEC Claims Gartner is “Losing its Lustre.”
In a blog post on the NEC website, the company showed just how unhappy they were about Gartner placing them in the niche category. The company outlined the fact that Gartner’s criteria for the Unified Communications MQ seem to change suddenly – almost on a whim.
While you could argue that NEC is just bitter about the less than favourable placement in this year’s quadrant, it’s impossible to overlook the fact that they make some very valid points. For instance, NEC has many components in its business and portfolio that demonstrate its position as a visionary. It’s selling more phones than a lot of other vendors and incorporating disruptive technology like facial recognition into its devices too.
Another valid point that NEC made was the fact that their business caters fundamentally to mid-sized companies, while analysts such as Gartner frequently focus their attention on larger companies instead. This is something that’s easy to recognise when you see the consistent placement of bigger companies like Microsoft and Cisco throughout the MQ reports.
A Surprising Result for 2018
As Dave Michels of TalkingPointz noted in his “Quipz” newsletter, the final version of the MQ for this year “surprised many,” including NEC, who drew attention to the fact that they do meet all of the necessary criteria to appear in a higher section of the MQ portfolio.
Michels also outlined the fact that the 2018 report was a rare one for Gartner, as it involved a considerable change to the ranking between the pre-publishing final draft and the published release. Gartner decided to re-evaluate their findings this year, and the final version left people from various sectors with many questions.
In their blog, NEC even highlighted multiple industry analysts who believe that the Gartner Magic Quadrant might be “reaching the end of its usefulness,” stating that the current Quadrant uses measurements too narrow to adequately support the needs of an increasingly complex communications environment.
NEC isn’t the Only one With Complaints
NEC is far from the only company to ever push back against the decisions of the Magic Quadrant over the years. Back in 2009, ZL Technologies suggested that Gartner’s Magic Quadrant wasn’t as “legitimate” as it appeared and that Gartner gave special preference to companies offering bigger investments into the brand.
In 2014, NetScout also made claims of unfair competition against the Magic Quadrant, arguing that their portfolio hadn’t received the consideration it deserved.
While it’s easy for some people to say that these brands could simply ignore their placement on the Quadrant and move on, the prevalence of the report in the IT and communications environment means that failing to place on your respective quadrant could stop some companies from getting their cards on the table with a new client or customer.
The Gartner Quadrant: Just an Opinion?
Perhaps the biggest issue today is that some people are starting to look at the Gartner Magic Quadrant as indisputable evidence of the success or failure of different vendors. However, the truth is that it’s just one selection of thoughts from one small group of people. Dave Michels applauded NEC for pushing back, and noted that
“…ultimately, the MQ reflects the opinion of the authors”
In other words, it’s not as reliable as some people consider it to be.
While NEC might not be in the highest position for the UC sector of the Gartner Magic Quadrant, they’re still popular among Gartner’s peers. In fact, the organisation frequently gets an excellent rating on the Gartner Peer Insights portal.
At the end of the day, everyone has different opinions, and the Magic Quadrant is just one document designed to help people choose between the growing multitude of vendors in the unified communications space.