Presenting for a Gartner Magic Quadrant

Sometime in the next few months, the Gartner analyst group is going to be releasing an updated Magic Quadrant (MQ) of the mid-market ERP software vendors. The reason I know this is because I was heavily involved in preparing the presentation that SYSPRO gave to the Gartner analysts.

Its an interesting experience to prepare for an MQ session – interesting as in the Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. Or as a former mentor wrote to me: “the prep for Gartner is a killer and usually disproportionate to the benefit.”

For me, it started several weeks before, documenting the company’s product roadmap. But the work became really intense in the week leading up to the presentation.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Gartner evaluates product and service providers on an MQ against two criteria, made up of different measures:

  1. Completeness of Vision
  2. Ability to execute

Under “Completeness of Vision”, the measures and scoring are:

Measure Scoring
market understanding high
marketing strategy standard
sales strategy high
product strategy high
business model low
vertical/industry strategy standard
innovation low
geographic strategy standard

For “Ability to execute”, they are:

Measure Scoring
product high
overall financial viability standard
sales execution/pricing high
market responsiveness, track record low
marketing execution low
customer experience high
operations low

What first struck me was when I saw Innovation with a low scoring. On further reading of their preparation document, Gartner explained that this score was set because mid-market companies are usually not innovation focused. This corresponds with SYSPRO’s positioning in the market – what we call the ‘pragmatic buyer’. However I was surprised that Track Record was scored low as mid-market decision-makers tend to use word-of-mouth in evaluating suppliers.

Another discrepancy for me was that while Marketing Strategy was scored standard, marketing execution was low. Does this show that Gartner care more about spin than substance? Probably not, as the scores for Sales Execution and Customer Experience are high, indicating that Gartner do look at results and real-life experiences.

One caveat – while Vertical/Industry Strategy has a standard rating, don’t assume this isn’t significant. Other members of our presenting team knew from experience that Gartner like to see industry-focused strategy clearly spelt out.

Before the first call we debated whether we should show the product or discuss it. Our decision and approach was greatly assisted by reading Carol Rozwell’s blog ‘Vendors: suggestions to maximize briefing value’.

We have now done the first conference call, and are waiting for Gartner to get back to us to present their initial ideas and findings – this is to give us an opportunity to respond and suggest amendments.

If you have gone through a Gartner MQ briefing, how did you find it? Do you think it is worth it? It occurs to me that a little wiki could be set up to provide ideas, guidelines and good practices for vendors approaching an MQ call.


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