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How to read the Gartner Magic Quadrant?

Keep in mind that the criteria in the magic quadrants evolve, that the positions have to be considered relative positions and that your specific context plays an important role in tool selection!

Although Gartner advises against directly comparing a vendor's position on the Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms to its position in previous BI-related Magic Quadrants, we still think it is a valuable way of looking at the quadrants throughout the years. Howver, we would like to bring attention to these reasons to take caution in comparing positions in the quadrant over the years:

Evolving criteria: Gartner evaluates vendors based on criteria that may change over time to align with evolving industry trends, customer requirements, and technological advancements. As such, the evaluation criteria and weighting used in different Magic Quadrants may vary, making direct comparisons challenging and potentially misleading.

Relative, not absolute position: A vendor's position on the Magic Quadrant is relative to other vendors evaluated in the same report and within the same timeframe. Shifts in positioning may result from changes in the vendor's strategy, product offerings, customer satisfaction, or market performance, rather than reflecting a decline or improvement in absolute terms.

Overall, while historical data from previous Magic Quadrants can provide insights into a vendor's trajectory and market presence, it's essential for clients to focus on the vendor's current capabilities, alignment with their specific needs, and overall fit for their analytics and BI initiatives.

Buyers should evaluate vendors in all four quadrants based on their own environments, capability needs, user requirements and business objectives. With these criteria in mind they should look beyond the tools in the Leaders quadrant. In many cases, a vendor from the Challengers, Visionaries or Niche Players quadrant may be the optimal choice.

Interested in a discussion on Analytics and BI tool selection? Feel free to reach out!