Gartner Magic Quadrants is a research methodology and visualization tool for monitoring and evaluating the progress and positions of companies in a specific, technology-based market.
Magic Quadrants research reports can be highly useful tools for investors looking to find a company that fits their needs and businesses seeking to compare competitors in their market and possibly gain the upper hand.
Instead of simply showing statistics or ranking companies in lists, Magic Quadrants uses a two-dimensional matrix to illustrate the strengths and differences between companies. The display divides competing businesses into four distinct sections, based on both completeness of vision and ability to execute it:
Niche Players: Scoring low in both completeness of vision and ability to execute, these companies may do well in a segment of the market but cannot outperform larger vendors. Usually focused on functionality or a specific region, or are new businesses.
Visionaries: Have awareness of how the market will evolve and can potentially be innovative, but may not be able to execute these visions. Normal for businesses in early markets, but visionaries in more mature markets are usually either smaller businesses trying to compete, or larger businesses trying to escape a rut.
Challengers: Have ability to execute, but may lack strong vision. Challengers tend to be larger vendors in mature markets who do not want to disrupt their current plan. They have the ability to become leaders if their vision evolves.
Leaders: Scoring high on both completeness of vision and ability to execute, leaders tend to be large companies in mature markets, have a large customer base, and be highly visible in that market. Leaders have a large amount of pull over a specific market, and even have the ability to effect the market’s overall direction.
While it may seem as though the companies in the “leaders” category are always the best option, Gartner advises users to examine all quadrants, since businesses in every category have their own unique strengths and weaknesses that should be taken into consideration. It is also important to note that Magic Quadrants is designed to help narrow down a vendor search, not tell a customer what vendor they should choose.
Magic Quadrants can also be a useful instrument for vendors who wish to analyze their competition. Magic Quadrants gives synopses of a market’s top businesses, displaying their strengths and weaknesses. Competing companies can then use that information to improve their own business where others are weak, giving them an advantage in the market.