Gartner Ditches the UC Magic Quadrant

Gartner says goodbye to the UC MQ

Gartner Ditches the UC Magic Quadrant

For years now, customers and resellers in the Unified Communications (UC) community have relied on market reports like the Gartner Magic Quadrant to help them separate the leading vendors, from the challengers in the space. Though the Magic Quadrant was far from the most comprehensive overview of the sector, it offered a basic insight into some of the leading providers in the communications space, and what they could offer.

However, in January 2019, Gartner announced that the age of the UC Magic Quadrant was coming to an end, in a brief note about their decision to “refocus” their research in 2019.

According to Gartner, as Enterprise buying patterns continue to shift in favour of cloud-based solutions for UC and CC, the Magic Quadrant for premises-based unified communications is no longer necessary. Instead, readers will need to make do with a Gartner “Market Guide” instead. The guides contain much of the same information you’d find in a Magic Quadrant, but without the Niche, Visionary, Challenger, and Leader segments, or the subsequent rankings.

Why Stop the UC Magic Quadrant Report?

In the past, many UC experts have questioned the relevancy and accuracy of the Magic Quadrant. After all, not everyone agreed with the scoring and minimum entry criteria required to enter the report in the first place. In our coverage of the 2017 UC Magic Quadrant, we pointed out that the reviews are designed specifically for big enterprises, which means it’s impossible to get a complete market assessment.

At the same time, NetScout was suing Gartner over the “unfair” modeling of the Magic Report, which they claimed was working on a “pay to play model.” In NetScout’s opinion, the only way to rank in the Magic Quadrant was to buy a good position. Perhaps the decision to eliminate the UC Magic Quadrant this year is a sign that people have finally lost confidence in the review once and for all. On the other hand, it could simply be a sign that Gartner needs to update their reports to adhere to a changing marketplace.

For instance, it would have made sense to connect the Magic Quadrants for Collaboration and Unified Communications, rather than abolishing the UC quadrant entirely. Communication and collaboration are naturally tied together in the business environment, and it would have provided an opportunity to give more coverage to a wider selection of vendors.

The UCaaS and CCaaS Reports Continue

Though it may be the end for the on-premises Unified Communication Magic Quadrant, Gartner has announced that the UCaaS and CCaaS reports will continue. However, these two reports will now be “refocused” to evaluate full-stack solution providers in the SaaS environment. This means that the only vendors to appear in the upcoming reviews will be providers who can develop, manage, and control the full unified communication and contact centre solutions offered to their customers.

To a degree, it does make sense for Gartner to focus more of its attention in these software-focused areas, as the industry continues to move towards the cloud. Today’s on-premise UC buyers rarely make purchases based on things like “completeness of vision.” Instead, their choices are often driven by things like available integrations, or familiarity with a brand.

On the other hand, there are significant differences to consider when evaluating the “ability to execute” of major UCaaS and CCaaS companies. Additionally, by focusing exclusively on vendors with complete SaaS solutions, Gartner will be able to narrow down the results of their MQs for 2019. In 2018, the UCaaS Magic Quadrant listed no less than 18 providers, compared to a typical 8 to 10 options for the UC reports.

Dave Michels, founder and analyst at TalkingPointz, said in his Quipz newsletter:

“It’s not that the UC market is dead; it’s just mature. The MQ attempts to highlight key differences between vendor solutions, and there’s just not that many”

Paving the Way for an Industry Update

Gartner’s recent announcement may be the shake-up the industry needs to start updating other low-value reports in the market that no longer provide the guidance that consumers and resellers need. Although the decision to eliminate the UC magic quadrant is a controversial one, it at least shows that Gartner is paying attention to the movements of the communication space.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see whether the suggested changes to the CCaaS and UCaaS magic quadrants deliver the results that Gartner are hoping for. There’s a risk that requiring companies to offer a complete “full-stack” solution could prove problematic, leading to additional complaints from vendors already unhappy with the way that Gartner handles its reviews.

Gartner may well exclude many of the industry innovators and pioneers responsible for driving the continued growth of the UCaaS sector, as well as carriers within the market.

How do you think these changes will affect the way that you assess the communications market?

Will you miss the UC magic quadrant? Do you think it was time for a change? How do you see the UCaaS and CCaaS MQ changes panning out?

Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Latest comments

3 Comments
AvatarJonathan Yarmis 21:25, 03 Feb 2019

Let’s be clear about Gartner’s rationale. “Perhaps the decision to eliminate the UC Magic Quadrant this year is a sign that people have finally lost confidence in the review once and for all.” Uh, no. Independent surveys consistently show that Gartner’s Magic Quadrants are the #1 or #2 influences on large enterprise technology buying decisions (along with peer reviews). “On the other hand, it could simply be a sign that Gartner needs to update their reports to adhere to a changing marketplace.” As a long-time student of all things Gartner (and a former Gartner analyst from many years ago), this is simply what they do. When a technology enters a mature stage, where there’s little strategic excitement or marketplace change, the MQ has little value and thus, they move it over to a Market Guide.

You note “The guides contain much of the same information you’d find in a Magic Quadrant, but without the Niche, Visionary, Challenger, and Leader segments, or the subsequent rankings.” That’s like saying “the Patriots of 2032 are just like the Patriots of 2019 without Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.” (At least I assume Brady won’t be playing in 2032.) There’s simply no comparison and Market Guides have almost no market impact while Magic Quadrants are the gold standard.

Finally, let’s put that notion of pay-to-play to bed. It’s simply not the case. The analysts may talk more to clients (who have inquiry privileges) but in terms of a claim that the analysts overtly favor those who spend money with them, that’s just not so. Were that to be the case, their business would crater. Given that their revenue when I left was around $900 million and it’s now north of $3 billion, with over 80% of that coming from end user enterprises, clearly they’re doing something right.

Reply to this comment
AvatarRob Scott 18:11, 30 Jan 2019

yes me too.

Reply to this comment
Ian TaylorIan Taylor 15:52, 29 Jan 2019

That’s pretty big news, Rob. I’m intrigued to see the next UCaaS MQ.

Reply to this comment

Please login to comment

Login

Popular Posts

Related Articles