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Debunking Three Myths of The Gartner MDM Magic Quadrant

Ben Rund

By Ben Rund

On December 19, 2017

The new 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM solutions is out and available for download here.

An analyst once compared the Magic Quadrant with sports. At a conference he said, “Being an analyst in the MQ is like being a referee at a kids soccer game. Before the game everybody wants to be your friend. By half time almost everybody hates you.” The analogy describes a relationship between analysts and software vendors with a cynical wink, leaving the entire crowd laughing. After a full decade  of involvement in the various magic quadrant processes, it seems appropriate to discuss  a few topics that  haven’t  been highlighted in the news. So let’s start debunking three myths about the MQs.

Myth 1: Money makes the MQ go round Many people are under the impression that vendors providing the largest payments to Gartner will jump on the MQ. This is absolutely wrong. Gartner strictly separates any financial flow from this market evaluation. Reputable analysts like Bill O’Kane, Simon Walker, Michael Moran (in this case, and Andrew White in the past) have invested serious time, dedication and hard work into the evaluation process to ensure it presents a realistic and neutral picture of the market during 2016 and Q1-2017.

Myth 2: Large vendors dominate Disruption is much more than a buzz word in today’s market; it’s our new reality. Gone are the days of mega vendors like SAP, IBM, Oracle dominating the tech solution market. My old company Informatica grew as an industry leader with the help of two powerful solutions, Siperian customer MDM and Heiler PIM. I am grateful for my ten year involvement in the process. Today, a range of new start-ups and concepts continue to challenge this status quo daily. Fresh and innovative technologies now offer efficient, quick and simple resolution to current challenges that once may have taken years. New approaches and technologies have emerged, transforming the MDM market. Out with the old, and in with the new.

Myth 3: A picture paints a thousand words Let’s be honest, isn’t the first thing you look for the chart? Who’s ranks where, and what’s changed since the last report? The chart may intuitively seem like the easiest and most logical destination for updates, but the MQ chart isn’t the sole source of insight and it would be wrong to rely on it alone.   A great deal of work is invested in generating the data and insights by analysts, customers, and vendors. Taking a deeper look at strengths, challenges and concerns that can be acquired from the entire report allows you extract deeper insights by reading between the lines.

Finally Gartner offered substantial market perspective with their 2016 release. Change is the only constant, and in turn MDM vendors should revisit their strategy and new technology offerings in reference to current trends like  AI and big data, but above of all, setting and meeting customer expectations. If you plan to utilize the MQ as a starting point for vendor selection, I recommend assessing acquisition based on goals for future growth and development. Choose a solution that has the power to positively impact your business over the next decade, rather than an old school solution that will slow down productivity. P.S. I am a true believer in close collaboration with analysts and thought leaders from whom I’ve learned over  the years in this competitive market.

The new 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM solutions is out and available for download here.