Gartner Blog Network

The Flight of the Wannabees

by Andy Bitterer  |  February 18, 2009  |  7 Comments

What really annoys me is when people make public claims about things that they have clearly no clue about. Facts or the truth don’t seem to matter anymore, all that counts is bold verbiage. There could be multiple reasons for this behavior: Maybe some people are too lazy to do proper research before raising their voice. Maybe it’s their sole raison d’etre. Or they want readers to raise their eyebrows. Or they even want to raise hell for no apparent reason. Whatever the raisin, … uh, enough of this, I’m getting sidetracked.

So what is this posting about? It seems, after the wide-spread publicity of the open discussion with Talend here on this blog (thanks again for the many responses), other open-source providers apparently want to jump on the bandwagon and voice their dismay about not being recognized, or not being included in a magic quadrant, or not being taken seriously by Gartner analysts, or whatever. Now, there are multiple ways of engaging a Gartner analyst: a simple briefing request, an equally open discussion with the facts on the table, or, and that alternative seem to be sometimes preferred, start kicking and screaming.

The latest in this series is Patrick Beaucamp (what is it with these French open source guys?), who is responsible for Vanilla, another open-source BI project. On his blog, Patrick takes out a shotgun and fires away at everything that moves, and some shrapnel came flying my way. The title of the post is “10 reasons to launch Vanilla BI platform”, but the content more looks like a random selection of insults. I will not spend any time here to comment on most of those, but I will respond to the bitching directed to Gartner or myself.

7) to be certain not to be listed in Gartner’s annuel Quadrant (see Talend comment on Gartner) or my post on decideo.

I don’t get this. You are launching Vanilla “to be certain not to be listed” in a Magic Quadrant. Weird, particularly when I continue reading through the next sentence, in which you complain that Gartner wouldn’t be tracking you.

Honestly, people from Gartner … please, last year you missed the Big Crunch in commercial BI and you wrote Open Source BI was not mature enough … how can you put under silence platform such as Talend and Vanilla ?

Honestly, Patrick, I don’t think you’re making any sense. We missed what? The “Big Crunch”? Oh please, do you make this up? I’d suggest that you’ll be a little more specific next time. And to your point, Open Source BI sure is mature enough for many things, just not for everything. Btw, this is not new, we’ve been saying this for a few years. Finally, we are “putting under silence” Talend and Vanilla? First of all, there is an obvious difference between the maturity of Talend and Vanilla. Talend has some traction in the market, decent brand recognition, (Yves, are you reading this?) and we sure didn’t put any mufflers on the company. On the other hand, Vanilla is largely irrelevant (at this point in time). So if it’s too silent around Vanilla for your own taste, don’t blame Gartner for that fact, as it is your own job to get the word out. You guys don’t even have a real website and we are not your marketing department. So before you start blaming others, I’d suggest you do your homework first.

to read answer to Talend post from Gartner analyst … Is this man really aware of what he wrote ? are we leaving in the same world ? For those who just read this just, please note that Pentaho and JasperSoft – 2 american companies – entered Magic Quandrant just 1 year after the launched their solution …

“This man”, I am assuming that would be me. I can confirm that I was aware of what I wrote. Still am, in fact. Got that? However, it sure seems as if we are living in different worlds. In my world, both Pentaho and Jaspersoft have not entered the Magic Quadrant (for BI Platforms), not one year after launch nor any other year. Again, do your homework and stop distributing nonsense, Patrick.

… to be in an Analyst study, it’s very easy : you just have to pay !

As far as Gartner is concerned, I would qualify this as a “Bold Statement”, or B.S. for short.

One final comment: It is clearly everybody’s right and own decision to select the most appropriate way to start a dialogue. The “Vanilla way” would not have been my preference, as it comes across as rather unprofessional. I always welcome a proper discussion about technology, markets, opportunities and the like, and I’d never shut out small start-ups, but I have no interest in a dispute a la Vanilla. Take your pick.

P.S. I like Rimsky-Korsakov.

Category: business-intelligence  gartner  magic-quadrant  market  open-source  technology  vendors  

Tags: bi  gartner  open-source  

Andreas Bitterer
Research VP
9 years at Gartner
27 years IT industry

Andreas Bitterer is a research vice president in Gartner, where he specializes in business intelligence, data integration and data quality, with expertise in analytical applications, data warehousing and information management.Read Full Bio

Thoughts on The Flight of the Wannabees

  1. Matt Casters says:

    For what it’s worth: I couldn’t agree more. As I mentioned before ( ) it’s rather silly to claim you’re using a disruptive business model (Commercial Open Source) and at the same time complain that the classical ways of measuring your corporate performance don’t work. I know where the frustration comes from but in the end I’m sure Pentaho (in our case) will meet the requirements and end up in the MQ. That’s fine and that’s the way it should be IMHO. If the disruption of the market is strong enough it will come naturally. On top of that : if a position in the MQ would be something you can claim, it would become without value pretty quickly.

    Other than that I think the right response is to not feed the trolls.

  2. wondering says:

    “[…] public claims about things that they have clearly no clue about.”

    Isn’t that what Gartner is all about?

  3. Andy, yes I am reading, and thanks :-)

  4. Andy Bitterer says:

    Thank you for your insightful contribution. That’s the kind of “open dialogue” that I’ve been talking about.

  5. @Matt – Very good comment. I think Open Source advocates need to be more pragmatic and measured in their approach, as too often, the message ends up being lost due to it’s messengers losing their credibility through excessive zealotry. See Roy Schestowitz and his ilk for examples.

    As Andy points out, one of the key areas is maturity. It may be that Open Source solutions are being used in huge quantities, but more in the vein of skunkwork projects, incubators and pilots, with customers choosing sweet spot projects to perform their own internal evaluations for fitness of purpose for more heavy duty deployment in the future.

    Once the pilot phases are complete and successful, then the next stage of evaluation is likely to be scalability, support and more aspects relating to enterprise-level feasibility.

    This can take a VERY long time, depending on the organization culture and size. You also end up with politics and CV-driven (resume-driven) decisions, where IT and other related people within the project only want to be associated with big projects from the big vendors, so they can move easily to another job, with the usual pay increase that (used to!) come with it.

    As a small vendor, we are sometimes also slaves to this type of process and it can take a number of years to become a Tier 1 application with these large companies, which is likely to be what Gartner is really looking at, rather than the tyre-kicking and tactical implementations that I imagine, make up the lions share of Open Source implementations at the moment.

    Another problem is shifting the incumbents, where so much time and effort has been invested in certain technologies, that the opportunity cost of losing all that makes the inertia just too much, even if you give the software away for free!

    To give you one example, one of our customers has over 3300 ‘models’, each one maybe one to five hours work. Replacing that amount of work, then the auditing after the work is a serious disincentive to move.

    Whether Open Source or not, newer entrants to the market have their work cut out!


  6. Nick Halsey says:

    Hi Andy,

    thanks for dealing with this sort of “chatter” objectively. Personally I find this sort inflamatory blogging humorous, much like right-wing talk radio shows in the US. However my larger concern is that it can undermine the serious work being done by a number of organizations to advance the state of the art in open source business intelligence, and it can add to the perception that open source is not ready for prime time. Thanks for helping to correct that perception with your own research and (objective) comments.


  7. Pradesh says:

    I’d like to know what criteria you are using to flag Vanilla as “irrelevant”- market penetration, features, company size, turnover, or the fact that they are not marketing (“don’t even have a real website “)?

    BTW, I hold no brief for Talend of Vanilla (I’ve only heard of the latter through this web page).


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