Kids in the western world from the Middle Ages on down would listen to magicians incant Hocus Pocus and Abracadabra before performing a feat of magic. They would wait for that key phrase Hocus Pocus and with slight of hand a ball would disappear or a dove appear – Magic. Of course the roots of the words Hocus Pocus and Abracadabra belie a long path of gathering forgetfulness, in the first case of Church Latin and the second, Hebrew (Hoc est Corpus… from the transubstantiation ritual in the Catholic Church, when Latin was taught to acolytes from the dwindling pool of the learned, Hoc est Corpus becomes slurred into Hocus Pocus, while Abracadabra likely comes from the earlier Hebrew/Aramaic Father/Son/Holy Spirit – ab/father, ben/son, ruach hakodesh/holy spirit).
Behind the magical incantations were rich, learned and deep literary traditions and scholarship, but in the wrong hands and understood poorly the words were gibberish. And it is with this trepidation that we release Gartner Magic Quadrants. In my case I released yesterday the CRM Customer Engagement Center (CEC) Magic Quadrant 2014 (if you are a Gartner client it is here: http://gtnr.it/1pxiW8A ), but if you are not it is bound to appear as a reprint from a software company on the Magic Quadrant.
The CEC Magic Quadrant is our second year of replacing that fragile raft “Contact Center” with the more comprehensive “Engagement Center” that embraces social media and an increasingly mobile customer looking for automated (yet highly intuitive and intentional) messages from the enterprise. Think phone, website, communities, social media, chat, email, advanced search of highly contextual knowledge artifacts, delivered consistently across channels and devices, and with business rules pertinent to the customer.
The issue with the CEC MQ is not in the research but in the low level of understanding about what it means. A magic quadrant is the springboard for a conversation. The appearance or non-appearance of a specific software vendor or solution on the Magic Quadrant does not mean that said vendor is or is not the best choice for you. For example, Moxie Software does not appear on the Magic Quadrant, and neither does BPM Online or Transversal. They are, all three, good options for many clients. And a position as a Leader does not a Sui generis case make that the product is the best for any given client.
What, then, is the Magic Quadrant useful for? First, it is an ongoing, 12 month exercise in evaluating the fitness of all of the enterprise-class applications in the world to be used for customer engagement. The process attracts the best companies in the world and provides a no-cost / no-fee forum for them to express their positions and demonstrate their products and provide references regardless of status as Gartner client or non-client. All are treated independent of any relationship with us for purpose of evaluation. And evaluate we did. Throughout the year we performed over 400 reference checks on 30 vendors and in February and March 2014 surveyed another 400 references, receiving responses from 235 businesses via the internet and another 24 by telephone.
The result is that we have deep, rich, granular data on the fit-for-purpose of all of the magic products that can sit inside of a customer engagement center for almost any industry in any part of the world running any model of software – on premise or in the cloud or hosted or hybrid.
Still, for all of our research and effort, the Magic Quadrant can be misused and devolve into little better than magic if nothing but the graphic and dots are relied upon. The depth and meaning come through only in conjunction with careful reading of the text and a conversation with the analyst who performed the research. So: it is up to you – scholarship or magic!!
I hope that I see many of you in London next week 28/29 April at our Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge at our http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/emea/crm/. We have such an amazing line-up of speakers and exhibitors – so ignore the Tube Strike, Keep Calm and Carry On!
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