Douglas Toombs

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Douglas Toombs
Research Director
1 years at Gartner
19 years IT industry

Douglas Toombs works in Gartner's Technology & Service Provider organization, providing research and insights into the cloud, hosting and colocation marketplace in North America ...Read Full Bio

The 2014 Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting (in North America)

by dtoombs  |  July 22, 2014  |  2 Comments

Last week, we published our Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting in North America (subscriber link here, a reprint link for non-seatholders may be available soon).  This Magic Quadrant represents a bit of a shift in focus from our previous “managed hosting” Magic Quadrants, so I thought it would be worthwhile to give a bit more background on our view of the market and how it is evolving.

Gartner Magic Quadrants tend to evolve over time as technologies and buyer expectations mature, and our views on the hosting market are no exception.  Gartner has been publishing Magic Quadrants in the hosting market since 2004 1998, which later became a combined hosting and cloud IaaS Magic Quadrant in 2009 (link) and now the two exist as separate Magic Quadrants.  The first thing that most readers will notice in this year’s MQ is the change in title – Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting.

This is not simply a cloudwashing of our previous Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting, the term Cloud-Enabled encapsulates how we view the market as evolving at this point in time.   In a nutshell, Gartner expects that Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting will evolve managed services over the next several years … much like Infrastructure-as-a-Service has done to infrastructure provisioning and management over the past several years.

For those of you who are in (or have followed) the hosting market for some time — if you think back to what the market was like in 2004, everything about getting infrastructure deployed to customers was very manual.  Manual paper contracts, proposals, visio diagrams, server lists, etc. were emailed back and forth between provider and prospect during the contract execution process.  Upon execution of the contract by the customer (and perhaps faxing the paper copy to the provider), the provider would then order equipment from their supply chain (assuming they didn’t maintain a bit of spare inventory – which was somewhat rare back in 2005) and receive it on their loading dock a few days later.  After that, someone would unbox it and load it up in racks, connect it to the provider’s network, install the requested operating system images, configure any additional software needed, define network addresses, build firewalls, etc. and then turn the environment over to the customer.

Then Infrastructure-as-a-Service came along … and completely upended that part of the market.

In the IaaS world, standardized infrastructure was pre-provisioned well in advance of any specific customer’s order, and ready-to-go at a moment’s notice.  All of the manual processes for ordering and provisioning infrastructure were eliminated in favor of standardization and automation, matched up with pre-staged equipment.  At the time IaaS started coming onto the radar in the latter half of the 2000′s, many in the hosting industry initially looked down on it and downplayed its significance – it was too limited, too rigid, much too standardized, customers actually needed more customized solutions that IaaS wouldn’t be able to address, etc. etc.  It was an easy assumption to make, and one that catered well to the hosting providers and the market they had carved out for themselves.  But as the market evolved, what was initially dismissed as insignificant … actually ended up being a huge market disruptor.

IaaS platforms will continue to innovate, and will inevitably start to consume some of the bare metal infrastructure still being manually provisioned by service providers today.  As that market evolves over time, we will continue to track it in our Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (link).  The services overlay on top of those infrastructure environments, however, will become more of the focus of the Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting.  The underlying infrastructure capabilities are obviously still important to have, but our focus will move more towards the managed services the provider offers on top of an IaaS stack or a Cloud-Enabled Systems Infrastructure (see Lydia’s blog post on CESI here, or subscribers can read our full Technology Overview note here).  Hence, the name-change to Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting.

Whether managing customers’ infrastructure and applications in a DevOps or ITIL style, providers that can successfully leverageautomation and standardization to augment (not replace) their human-powered services … will be able to achieve greater scale and better customer satisfaction over time.  Human expertise will always be a part of the equation in the managed end of the market, but automation – when envisioned and implemented properly – can serve as a significant amplifier for an organization’s existing technical expertise, and deliver better customer outcomes over time.  We’re looking forward to seeing how this segment of the market evolves over the next several years.

2 Comments »

Category: Uncategorized     Tags:

Quick tips for Magic Quadrant briefing presentations

by dtoombs  |  February 11, 2014  |  Comments Off

Given that we are coming into the season for our Magic Quadrants for cloud IaaS and hosting, after having been through my first set of MQ briefings in 2013 I thought I would share some thoughts with providers that will be included in these MQs, and my particular thoughts on what makes for an effective briefing for service providers.

BTW, I am stealing heavily  from Lydia’s excellent similar blog entries on the topic – here (http://blogs.gartner.com/lydia_leong/2012/08/10/general-tips-for-magic-quadrant-briefings/) and here (http://blogs.gartner.com/lydia_leong/2012/08/10/specific-tips-for-magic-quadrant-briefings/) – as the foundation, and those blog entries are both good reads which are also worth a few minutes of your time.

Also please note that I am writing this specifically for the Magic Quadrants for which I am an author or co-author — if you have found your way to this blog entry via a search engine … because your company is presenting for some other MQ … your best guidance on that process will likely come from the analysts you are already working with for that sector of the market.

Slides

In a Magic Quadrant briefing, you will typically have one hour to present your thoughts to Gartner. As analysts are almost always scheduled back to back with other MQ briefings or client inquiries, it is highly unlikely you will have any time beyond the end of your alloted briefing appointment.  Briefings are (whether you are a Gartner client or not) primarily a one-way discussion – your organization presenting your material – but you should plan to leave time for Gartner analysts asking questions either during the course of the presentation, or at the end.  Please do not ask for business strategy guidance during a MQ briefing – that is what Gartner client inquiry calls are designed for.

Generally, we suggest planning for enough material to fill a 40-45 minute presentation.  If you think you have too many slides – you probably do … so it is worthwhile rehearsing your primary slides to make sure that you can get through them in the allotted timeframe.  You can, of course, include additional supplemental/supporting slides at the end of your presentation deck as appendices – you should feel free to put as much supplemental material here as you think would be useful for the analyst’s later perusal.

Within your slides, it is best to avoid broad statements, when you could make stronger, more specific ones – i.e. “Overall sales have seen healthy growth this year” statements are weak, whereas points such as “Managed hosting revenues increased 23% over last year” or “ARPU has increased 17% and is now over $X,000” are strong.  A ”logos” slide is always helpful, so that we understand the makeup of your customer base, however please don’t include company logos that you do not have a direct contractual relationship with (i.e.: pipeline prospects, or the clients of a digital media agency who is your direct client) or at least clearly segregate them as such.

Send your presentation to Gartner at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled briefing, in PDF or PowerPoint format (although PowerPoint is preferred, so that the analyst can make notes on your slides as you are presenting them to us).  If you are inclined to not share a slide deck, and would prefer to deliver a web conference presentation instead, that’s fine – however, you should expect that the analysts will simply take screenshots of the most relevant slides anyway, so it’s easiest just to send a slide deck.

All information presented to Gartner during vendor briefings (including MQ briefings), is considered “on the record” per Gartner’s NDA policies (http://www.gartner.com/it/about/max_time/NDA_External_Policy_and_Process.pdf).

Presentation Preparation

Pick a good presenter for your organization, someone who tells your story well.  You don’t need your most senior executives on the phone, and in some cases (sorry, senior executives!) we’ve had execs that were much too far up in the organization and lingered too long in broad market-wide pondering discussions.  MQs are very focused in a specific area of the market, so while having a good understanding of the broad market – and your place in it – is important, you do need people who can present your position in that MQ’s specific market thoroughly.  The presenter should know their source material well, be able to clearly articulate your organization’s position, and be able to either answer whatever questions may arise from the analysts or at least be able to parse the question well enough to understand what’s being asked … in order to supply additional information after the briefing.  Many presenters will often have few supporting team members in the room at the same time.

It’s also perfectly acceptable to write a full script in advance, and read it during the call, if it makes you more comfortable with getting in all the points you want to make during the allotted timeframe.  This is how many publicly-traded companies handle their earnings calls, so while we can generally tell when someone is reading off of a script … we don’t really care one way or another.  It’s the information that counts … whatever approach helps best get your message across is fine with us.

Presentation Day

When your slot comes up for your organization’s a briefing, you will have one hour with the analysts to brief us on your offering for the MQ.  Dial into the bridge early – if there is a technical problem, email the coordinator (Michele Severance in the case of our MQs) who sent you the bridge details ASAP.  Make sure that your dial-in number is distributed to everyone who needs to be on the call, and have someone available to tackle your executives in the hallway if they’re notorious for running late to meetings.

Don’t spend much time on introductions at the start of your presentation.  A quick run-down of names and titles at the top of the call (“Hi! I’m Joe Smith, and I run our support organization”) is sufficient, and the Gartner analysts will introduce themselves when they ask questions (our bios are all available online if you want to read more about us).

During your presentation, an analyst occasionally may prod you along.  If this occurs, it is not intended to be rude – it usually means that the information you are currently going through is not going to be important enough for the MQ analysis process, in relationship to the amount of time you are spending on it.  Suggestions to move forward are done for solely for the service provider’s benefit – generally, all of the analysts on the call are experts in their particular market and know it extremely well … and therefore really want to get to the heart of your offerings, unique value proposition compared to your peers in the market, your go-to-market strategy, partnerships, market successes, competitive wins, investments you are making, your vision for your services evolution over the next 2-3 years and how you expect to achieve it, etc.

Be concrete in your information, and incorporate quantifiable, tangible data whenever possible. Analysts are under a constant deluge of broad directional statements and grandiose claims all the time, and we are usually unimpressed by them; we’re very interested in what you’ve done - not where you think the industry is heading (that’s our job) – and what you’re going to do.  Even better if these items can be backed up by numbers.  You don’t necessarily need to read the numbers, but general sentiments such as “customer satisfaction has increased greatly in the last year, as our NPS scores show” or “availability across all our datacenters hit five 9′s this year” (with the metrics on the slides so the analysts can dive into them later – or in an appendix slide) work well.

At the end of the hour, the analysts will thank you for presenting, and may ask you to send along supplemental information based on the presentation.  Do not expect to be given the opportunity to do another briefing if you fail to finish within your allotted hour.

Comments Off

Category: Uncategorized     Tags:

Pre-qualification surveys for 2014 Magic Quadrants have been delivered

by dtoombs  |  January 14, 2014  |  Comments Off

Last evening, pre-qualification surveys for our 2014 Magic Quadrants were delivered to market participants.  If you have not received an email from me and/or a link from our online surveying tool – and were expecting one – please get in touch with us as soon as possible.

For more information on the Magic Quadrants, please see my previous blog entry here or my colleague Lydia’s blog entry here.

Comments Off

Category: Uncategorized     Tags:

Information for the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting in North America

by dtoombs  |  December 18, 2013  |  1 Comment

Gartner will begin a combined data collection process for four of our magic quadrants during the first full week of January, 2014.  We will combine our data collection efforts as best we can, in order to make the process a bit easier for service providers that may be eligible for multiple magic quadrants worldwide.  The four magic quadrants scheduled for publication in 2014 include:

  • Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (previous edition, target publication April 2014) 
  • Magic Quadrant for Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting, North America (previous edition, target publication May 2014)
  • Magic Quadrant for Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting, Europe (previous edition – client-only link, publication date TBD)
  • Magic Quadrant for Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting, Asia-Pacific (2013 edition publishing soon)

If you believe you may be eligible for consideration in any of these Magic Quadrants, and frequently find your organization competing against the providers in a given MQ, please have a look at the previous editions linked above to see if your service offerings meet our market definitions defined in the document.  If you feel you may qualify and you were not part of our survey process during 2013, please get in touch with the appropriate analysts for each MQ – Lydia Leong for the IaaS MQ, myself (Douglas Toombs) for the North America Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting MQ, Tiny Haynes for the European Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting MQ, and Chee-Eng To for the Asia-Pacific Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting MQ.  You can email any of us at Gartner directly via the email address format of firstname.lastname -at- gartner.com.

Surveys

Pre-qualification surveys will be delivered on or before January 6th, and will allow providers three weeks to complete the process – with all data due back to Gartner on January 24th.  Please note that reciept of a pre-qualification survey does not guarantee inclusion in any of Gartner’s magic quadrants!  As we are operating on a very compressed schedule by performing multiple magic quadrants at once, we will not be able to provide extensions for the pre-qualification survey process beyond the 24th … so please plan for an appropriate amount of time to complete the survey by the deadline, and do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions during they surveying cycle.  If you have previously completed a pre-qualification survey for one of our 2013 magic quadrants and did not keep a copy of your responses, please let the relevant author(s) above know, and we can provide you with a copy of your previous data. 

Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting, North America

Inclusion notices, for providers that meet Gartner’s inclusion criteria for cloud-enabled managed hosting in North America, are expected to be communicated during the first week of February (slightly after the Cloud IaaS MQ, timelines for which are detailed here: http://cloudpundit.com/updated-mq-status/).

Providers to be included in the cloud-enabled managed hosting magic quadrant for North America will have the opportunity to schedule a one-hour briefing with the analysts authoring the Magic Quadrant, between the dates of February 3rd to February 21st.  Service providers that were included in the 2013 Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting in North America may request a briefing slot now – prior to survey completion and inclusion notices being sent out.  Please contact Michele Severance (michele -dot- severance -at- gartner -dot- com) if you were an included provider in the previous edition and would like to get your briefing scheduled early.

Optionally, providers that were included in both the previous managed hosting for North America magic quadrant, and the cloud Infrastructure as a Service magic quadrant, may request a single 90-minute briefing with the analysts if they would prefer (in lieu of two separate 60-minute briefings).  Please contact Michele Severance (michele -dot- severance -at- gartner -dot- com) if are eligible for a 90-minute briefing, and would like to schedule one.

Schedule Summary

To summarize the dates above (subject to change), please keep the following timeframes in mind for early 2014:

  • January 6-24:  Pre-qualification survey for 2014 Magic Quadrants
  • Week of February 3rd:  Inclusion notices sent to providers that will be included in the Magic Quadrant for Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting, North America
  • February 3rd-21:  Vendor briefings for providers that will be included in the Magic Quadrant for Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting, North America

Included providers will receive more detailed information about the remainder of the MQ process and timelines, once inclusion notices have been sent out.  Included providers will be asked for a number of additional supporting documents – standard contracts (SLA/MSA), customer onboarding documents and support guides, reference customers, example pricing scenarios, etc. when they receive their inclusion notice – so included providers should expect (and set aside time for) some additional data collection.

FAQ

In anticipation of many of the questions that will come in about the process as it moves along – I have tried to address a few of the more common questions here:

Why has the name of the Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting changed to “Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting”?

These new Magic Quadrants cover the market that is created by the intersection of managed services and a cloud-enabled infrastructure platform (which might or might not be cloud IaaS).  These magic quadrants will begin to place more focus more on the service layer on top of the infrastructure, rather than the infrastructure itself.

Should my company participate?

If you are uncertain as to whether or not your company may be eligible for consideration, consider your organizations’ offerings against the following three criteria:

  1. Your organization is a service provider (not a hardware or software vendor).
  2. Your managed hosting or cloud IaaS offering largely meets the inclusion criteria in the previous iterations of these magic quadrants. You can read reprint copies at the links above – please pay close attention to the “Market Definition/Description” and “Inclusion and Exclusion Critera” sections. Please keep in mind that inclusion criteria does not stay the same from one iteration of a Magic Quadrant to the next as the market evolves over time.
  3. If you consider yourself a direct competitor to the companies detailed in last year’s Magic Quadrants, you should probably submit for consideration in this cycle.

Please note that receipt of the pre-qualification survey does not – in any way – indicate that we believe your company may qualify for inclusion. You do not need to be a Gartner client to ask to be considered for inclusion, and Gartner client status has no bearing on inclusion or evaluation. Gartner analysts will evaluate all providers that we can that are currently active in the managed hosting market, a service provider cannot ask to be excluded from the process if their service offering meets Gartner’s market definitions.

I am a PR professional representing a managed hosting or cloud IaaS provider, can I get a survey to fill out for my client?

No. Gartner has a strict process that governs all Magic Quadrant related communications, therefore we cannot work through 3rd party organizations on behalf of a service provider. Please have your primary contact at your client reach out to us – we will be happy to work directly with them.

I’m completely new to the Magic Qudadrant process – how does it all work?

Gartner has published a few official methodology documents on the process – the official Gartner Methodology document, and a  FAQ.

Wow, there is a lot of reading material for the Magic Quadrant process — do I really need to read it all?

In our opinion, yes.

Although all of us as analysts write for a living – we don’t write this much about our methodology solely for our own benefit. You will be best prepared for the process if you take advantage of all the material available to you. It is human to want to skim long emails, and even more human to skim through lengthy Word documents – but for many service providers, the Magic Quadrant is viewed as a high-stakes exercise that will consume a tremendous number of hours of your time and the time of your executives. You would do your organization a disservice if you do not read everything provided to you regarding the Magic Quadrant. You don’t have to do so instantly, but you probably want to carefully read anything sent to you within a business day or so — and to take the time to mark deadlines on your calendar, add contacts to your address book, and so forth.

My colleague Lydia has posted several helpful blog posts during previous Magic Quadrant iterations – they are a good additional read (the tips about preparing for magic quadrant briefings are particularly helpful):

I am currently a Gartner client – can my Gartner account executive help us navigate through this process?

Gartner account executives do not have any special knowledge of the Magic Quadrant process, and your Gartner client relationship (if any) has no bearing on inclusion or positioning whatsoever. While some people do like to discuss the Magic Quadrant with their account executive, please note that these must be separate conversations outside of the MQ process; do not attempt to use your Gartner account executive as a pathway to communicate with the analysts.  If you want to ask a question or raise a concern, please contact the analysts directly via the email addresses above (more on this subject available over on Lydia’s blog entry Vendors, Magic Quadrants, and client status).

What will the inclusion criteria be for this iteration of the Magic Quadrant?

Gartner does not disclose final inclusion criteria for these Magic Quadrants in advance. All providers that are being considered – including those that have requested a survey, and others that may not have – will be notified about their inclusion or non-inclusion status once the pre-qualification survey process is complete.

Ok, I completed the survey. What’s next?

First, make sure you saved a PDF copy for yourself, for next year’s process.

Once Gartner has evaluated all of the survey responses, you will receive an email notification from our coordinator as to whether or not your company will be included in this iteration of the Magic Quadrant. If your company is included, you will receive further instructions on the next steps of the process at that time.

1 Comment »

Category: Uncategorized     Tags:

Who is leading in cloud? Data and context matter…

by dtoombs  |  November 4, 2013  |  8 Comments

 

Earlier today, IBM launched a “bold” (their words) new marketing campaign about cloud computing, with an ad in today’s Wall Street Journal stating that IBM’s cloud “powers 270,000 more websites”  than Amazon.  Not too shortly after the ad was in the market, I received an inquiry asking if this figure is actually true.

The short answer to that question, is yes.

The medium-length answer is that IBM is quoting figures from hostcabi.net which appears to crawl through the top several-hundred-thousand websites on the Internet and figure out where they are homed.  The methodology hostcabi.net probably uses would involve verifying IP addresses for the top sites against various registries like ARIN, RIPE, APNIC, etc.  I’ve actually performed similar analysis of the market in the past so I believe the methodology (and the results) are generally sound – for what is being stated.

The long answer (because the devil is always in the details), is that the types of sites matters.  About 18 months before their acquisition, Softlayer was (according to public statements) on a revenue run-rate of about $340 million annually.  However, in the same quarter for Amazon, their ”Other” revenue was coming in at a run rate of about $1.6bn annually.  While the “other” line item in Amazon’s financials also includes some non-AWS items - like marketing and promotional agreements, seller sites, and co-branded credit card agreements – those portions of “other” are not generally believed to be significant, and Gartner believes (as many financial analysts have published) that Amazon likely had close to $2 billion in AWS revenues in 2012.

So how does IBM/SoftLayer end up being the provider to so many more “sites” on the Internet, on presumably smaller revenue?  In the world of hosting, size matters – and SoftLayer had good successes in the market in underpinning some shared hosting providers, such as HostGator (which claims to have 12,000 servers under management, and is a partner of SoftLayer’s).  This can tend to skew numbers a bit, as shared sites are frequently quite small – in fact, even as I am writing this blog post there is an ad for “$0.01 Web Hosting” with HostGator running on hostcabi.net’s site.  Shared hosting is not “cloud”, and what small websites lack in size … they tend to make up for in volume as the “long tail” of the market.  To be sure, using the same yardstick that IBM has chosen, GoDaddy nearly surpasses Amazon and SoftLayer combined with 431,087 websites as of today … compared to 358,532 for SoftLayer and 73,821 for Amazon.

Based on Gartner’s own research (using similar methodologies as hostcabi.net) we believe that Amazon Web Services is now being leveraged by 10% of the top 5,000 websites in North America – so Amazon is definitely taking a bite out of the market from many other players. 

Of course, none of this diminishes the value of the property that IBM has picked up – SoftLayer has some very innovative capabilities, all built with in-house developed intellectual property, and was very successful overall in the broader hosting market … and will likely continue to be in their new home with IBM (my colleague Lydia gave an in-depth overview of the transaction here). However … that doesn’t make for a very eye-catching headline to splash across the pages of the WSJ – so while the marketing team over at IBM is being accurate; they’re choosing a very specific view of the market as well.

8 Comments »

Category: Uncategorized     Tags:

Update – 2013 Managed Hosting Magic Quadrant

by dtoombs  |  January 7, 2013  |  Comments Off

As of this morning, all pre-qualification surveys for the 2013 Managed Hosting Magic Quadrant have been sent out to organizations that have confirmed their point-of-contact with our coordinator – Michele Severance.  If you have previously confirmed a contact for your organization, but have not received your pre-qualification survey URL – please let Michele know as soon as possible.

Additionally, if you had previously received a contact confirmation email from Michele – but have not responded to her yet, please do so as soon as possible so that she can send you the survey URL.

Finally – if you believe your organization may be eligible for consideration in our managed hosting magic quadrant, please see my previous post on the process.

Comments Off

Category: Uncategorized     Tags:

Information for the 2013 Managed Hosting Magic Quadrant

by dtoombs  |  January 2, 2013  |  3 Comments

We have started confirming contacts and delivering pre-qualification surveys for this year’s Managed Hosting Magic Quadrant, with the North American edition due to be published in the spring of 2013. If you believe you may be eligible for consideration for this Magic Quadrant, please get in touch with me immediately either via my blog here, or via email at douglas -dot- toombs -at- gartner -dot- com, or my colleague Bob Gill who is helping run the pre-qualification survey process at bob -dot- gill -at- gartner -dot- com.  Our primary administrative coordinator for the process is Michele Severance (michele -dot- severance -at- gartner -dot- com), who should also be copied on all communication.

In anticipation of many of the questions that will come in about the process as it moves along – I have tried to address a few of the more common questions here:

Should my company participate?

If you are uncertain as to whether or not your company may be eligible for consideration, consider your organizations’ offerings against the following three criteria:

  1. Your organization is a service provider (not a hardware or software vendor).
  2. Your managed hosting offering largely meets the inclusion criteria in the previous iteration of this magic quadrant. You can read a reprint copy here – you will want to pay close attention to the “Market Definition/Description” and “Inclusion and Exclusion Critera” sections. Please keep in mind that inclusion criteria are not guaranteed to stay the same from one iteration of a Magic Quadrant to the next as the market evolves over time. If you met last year’s inclusion criteria, you should probably submit for consideration in this cycle.
  3. If you consider yourself a direct competitor to the companies detailed in last year’s Magic Quadrant, you should probably submit for consideration in this cycle.

Once we have confirmed a primary contact point to use, you will receive further details on the pre-qualification process. Please note that receipt of the pre-qualification survey does not – in any way – indicate that we believe your company may qualify for inclusion.

You do not need to be a Gartner client to ask to be considered for inclusion, and Gartner client status has no bearing on inclusion or evaluation. Gartner analysts will evaluate all providers that we can that are currently active in the managed hosting market, a service provider cannot ask to be excluded from the process if their service offering meets Gartner’s market definitions for managed hosting.

I am a PR professional representing a managed hosting provider, can I get a survey to fill out for my client?

No. Gartner has a strict process that governs all Magic Quadrant related communications, therefore we cannot work through 3rd party organizations on behalf of a service provider. But please have your primary contact at your client reach out to us – we can work directly with them.

How does the Magic Quadrant process work?

Gartner has published a few official methodology documents on the process – the official Gartner Methodology document, and a FAQ.

There is a lot of reading material for the Magic Quadrant process, do I really need to read it all?

Yes. Although all of us as analysts write for a living – we don’t write this much about our methodology solely for our own benefit. You will be best prepared for the process if you take advantage of all the material available to you. It is only human to skim long emails, and even more human to skim through lengthy Word documents – but for many service providers, the Magic Quadrant is viewed as a high-stakes exercise that will consume a tremendous number of hours of your time and the time of your executives. You would do your organization a disservice if you do not read every single word of every single communication that’s sent to you with regard to the Magic Quadrant. You don’t have to do so instantly, but you probably want to carefully read what you’re sent within a business day — and to take the time to mark deadlines on your calendar, add contacts to your address book, and so forth.

My colleague Lydia has posted several helpful blog posts during previous Magic Quadrant iterations – they are a good additional read (the tips about preparing for magic quadrant briefings are particularly helpful):

I am currently a Gartner client – can my Gartner account executive help us navigate through this process?

Gartner account executives do not have any special knowledge of the Magic Quadrant process, and your Gartner client relationship (if any) has no bearing on the Magic Quadrant. While some people do like to discuss the Magic Quadrant with their account executive, please note that these communications are separate; do not use this as a form of message-passing. If you want to ask a question or raise a concern, please contact the analysts directly, and please copy our admin for the Magic Quadrant. Your account executive can also help you set up a client inquiry, if need be.

What will the inclusion criteria be for this iteration of the Magic Quadrant?

Gartner does not disclose final inclusion criteria for this Magic Quadrant in advance. All providers that are being considered – including those that have requested a survey, and others that may not have – will be notified about their inclusion or non-inclusion status once the pre-qualification survey process is complete.

Ok, I completed the survey. What’s next?

Once Gartner has evaluated all of the survey responses, you will receive an email notification from our coordinator as to whether or not your company will be included in this iteration of the Magic Quadrant. If your company is included, you will receive further instructions on the next steps of the process at that time.

3 Comments »

Category: Uncategorized     Tags:

Joining Gartner, as cloud ramps up

by dtoombs  |  November 21, 2012  |  Comments Off

I’ve recently joined Gartner as a Research Director focusing on the hosting and managed services market – namely data center colocation, dedicated and managed hosting, cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS), content delivery networks … as well as other third-party services (like managed DNS, DDoS mitigation, etc.) that are naturally “adjacent” to the hosting market.


After a 20-year career in IT in which I’ve played the role of both the customer and the service provider, it’s exciting to be able to bring my expertise and insight from both sides of the marketplace to Gartner’s customers. This is augmented, of course, by the number of interactions that Gartner has with clients over the course of a year (about 290,000). Speaking with customers and vendors/providers on a daily basis provides (in my opinion) an unmatched insight into how the marketplace is evolving, and the challenges that IT organizations are facing. Add on to that, the privilege of being able to work with some of my incredibly insightful colleagues here – such as LydiaGregor, Tiny Haynes, Bob Gill, KyleDrue, and the 800+ other Gartner analysts covering every other aspect of IT you could imagine – and it’s been a pretty exciting opportunity in my few months here so far. I’m looking forward to having conversations with many more of you in the months and years ahead.


Although “the cloud” continue to dominate the headlines (and very few people have to wade through more cloudwashing than us industry analysts), I’m actually glad it is getting a bit over-covered in the media because it seems to be having a bit of a “halo effect” across the entire range of service provider offerings that I cover. IT organizations are now critically evaluating their roadmaps and seriously considering what needs to stay in-house, and what could be entrusted to a 3rd party – whether that 3rd party is a SaaS application, cloud IaaS, hosting, or even colocation. IT executives faced with budget constraints, in data centers that have run out of space and/or power (usually power), and tasked by their executives to help grow the business overall – seem far more amenable (to me, at least) to shifting their workloads outside of their “four walls” now than ever before. It’s going to be exciting to watch how this dramatic shift in IT plays out in the coming years.


Thanks for reading, and be sure to follow me on Twitter as well, where I will post whenever I have new blog entries.

Comments Off

Category: Uncategorized     Tags: