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A Magic Quadrant Parabasis

by Michael Maoz  |  May 4, 2016  |  2 Comments

The Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center published this morning ( – for clients), and though I risk running afoul of the rules in Robert Hartwell Fiske’s Dictionary of Unendurable English, let me add that it requires a parabasis. A Magic Quadrant is not magic. It is a spreadsheet. It has two axis. It has weightings. On each axis there are between 20 and 50 categories and subcategories. Each has its weighting. “Execution” favors the largest vendors. “Vision” is a level playing field. A parabasis is one of those talks that a character in a Greek play would give as themselves, the real person, instead of as an actor, from the edge of a stage during a break in the action. They would take off their mask, turn to the audience, and speak. Usually it was to ask the audience to drop their pretenses, to use an open mind and think independently and kindly about what was presented on the stage.

So too with an MQ. Analysts compare the real world experience of businesses that have deployed a vendor’s software against the claims and demonstrations that were given. The analyst speaks with other analysts, and with system integrators, and with ecosystem partners. They look at different geographic and industry requirements, and at device needs, like mobile, or chat bots, or social engagement. In the end, a bit Eliot-ish, as in the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, it is time to decide, and as Prufrock said, “Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?” It is one thing to look at 32 software providers and evaluate their products, and it is another to finally push that key and see the actual graphic of the MQ pop up, and then explain to thousands of clients how you arrived at the decision that you did, and wrote the critique that you wrote.

We thank all of the hundreds of IT professionals who took the time to answer our questions, to complete surveys, and offer insights.

We thank the software vendors, both those that ‘made it’ onto the MQ and those who did not. All are of potential interest to our clients, and that is important to keep in mind: sometimes it will be the customer service software provider NOT on the MQ that will be most important for your business.

Let us know what you think.


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Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on A Magic Quadrant Parabasis

  1. Dustin Laun says:

    I can only imagine how challenging it must be to put this together. Great work on a very competitive landscape!

    Keep up the awesome work..

  2. An attention-grabbing dialogue is price comment. I believe that it is best to write extra on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but generally persons are not sufficient to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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