Office of the Ombudsman

Our Assurance of Impartiality

Gartner Quote-Request Process Just Got Faster

October 5th, 2020   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

A guest post from Nicole Saraco Loddo, Ethics Manager

We’re happy to share with you a new web form for you to submit your quote requests. We expect this will lead to faster turnaround and fewer back-and-forth emails, as the form identifies all content you need to submit for every type of request. Bookmark the web form so you can easily open it anytime. Of course, you may still submit requests or report potential misuse the old-fashioned way by sending your draft materials to quote.requests@gartner.com.

 

In other Gartner Quote Requests news, our team has a new name: Gartner Content Compliance. This new team name now directly reflects what we do: ensure that all external sharing of Gartner content complies with our Copyright and Quote Policy.

 

As always, we welcome your feedback! What do you want to see in the Policy? Send the Gartner Content Compliance team your comments.

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The Connecticut Supreme Court Affirms Gartner’s Independence and Objectivity

September 17th, 2020   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Earlier this year the Connecticut Supreme Court sided with Gartner in ruling against NetScout Systems, Inc., a vendor that had disputed its position in a Magic Quadrant and challenged the independence of the Magic Quadrant process. NetScout had until late-July 2020 to seek permission to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court. That time has now come and gone, putting to rest NetScout’s baseless challenge.

This case has affirmed the independence and objectivity of our research, which is a core foundation of our business. Those who read our research can be assured that Gartner will never allow any vendor to influence our content or the scope of our coverage. Our processes and methodologies can be relied upon to be completely objective and independent. Period.

Gartner has rigorous research methodologies that ensure our clients can trust the insight and advice we provide. Each piece of Gartner research is subject to rigorous peer review by members of the global analyst community, and approval by research management is required prior to any document publication. This process is designed to surface any inconsistencies in research methodology, data collection or conclusions, as well as to fully encompass Gartner’s collective expertise on any research topic. Anyone may review our research methodologies in more detail here.

As always, we are committed to providing our clients with independent research and advice about the products and services that we cover and upon which they have relied for decades. We are continuously reviewing our processes to ensure the objectivity and independence of Gartner’s research, as it is our stock in trade and fundamental to everything we do. Anyone with questions about our research methodologies is welcome to email the Gartner Ombudsman.

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Peer Insights Data Refresh – What You Need to Know

August 12th, 2020   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Guest post from Audrey Apfel, VP Ombudsman

Gartner continues to expand the data sources we use to inform our Research. This includes soliciting customer feedback in the form of user reviews on the tech providers we cover. Today, Gartner’s enterprise crowdsourcing website, Peer Insights, hosts hundreds of thousands of reviews across hundreds of markets and vendors. Gartner is dedicated to maintaining a reviews platform of the highest integrity. To ensure the quality of our reviews, we continuously strengthen and improve our validation processes. As the volume of inappropriate reviews increases, so do our techniques to identify and eradicate them.

As a necessary component of this ongoing evaluation, we often re-examine submitted reviews with our upgraded moderation protocols and remove those that fail to meet them. Due to an uptick in suspicious online activity, Gartner is in the process of removing a larger than usual quantity of reviews from Peer Insights.

When suspicious activity or patterns are detected in the Gartner Peer Insights reviews data, our priority is to remove the inappropriate reviews and refresh the platform. This helps to ensure the quality and integrity of reviews on Gartner Peer Insights for our clients.

Part of this process is to inform Research analysts of changes to this data set. Any changes are taken into account as research is developed for our clients.

At Gartner, our mission is to provide objective insight, advice and tools that help our clients make decisions with greater confidence so that they succeed in their mission-critical priorities.As part of our mission, we always look to improve our methodologies to ensure our clients access the best source of validated customer reviews on the technology providers we cover.

As always, please send any questions to Ombudsman@gartner.com.

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Important updates to the Gartner Copyright and Quote Policy

March 10th, 2020   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Guest post from Nicole Saraco Loddo–Ethics Manager

Gartner’s independence and objectivity are paramount to our business. This is why we have such strict guidelines for quoting our research and, for that matter, making external use of any Gartner content. These rules are embodied in the Gartner Copyright and Quote Policy. We have made a number of updates to the Policy, tightening up some of the language and adding more linked resources, all with an eye toward making it easier for providers to appropriately reference Gartner. Click here to see the updated Policy, which includes:

  • Updated templates and slides to reflect Gartner’s branding guidelines.
  • Clear guidance for promoting data from Gartner Peer Insights and Gartner Digital Markets (hint: Use the templates found in the Tech Provider Tools portal for faster approval).
  • Updated guidance allowing entitled Gartner Professional Service clients to share IT Key Metrics Data externally.
  • A new section devoted to referencing Gartner Cloud Decisions.

Later this year, we will release…

  • Updated “Why?” content linked from the Policy
  • A web submission form so requests can be made directly from the web (email submission will still be accepted)
  • More pre-approved templates so clients will not have to wait for approval every time they would like to quote Gartner

As always, Quote Requests wants to hear from you! What do you want to see in the Policy? Send Quote Requests your comments!

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UPDATE: Treatment of Company and Product Names in Gartner Research

February 12th, 2020   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Guest post by Jackie Ryan, VP of Content Production, Gartner (this post was originally published in 2012; it was updated in 2018 and 2020)

Providers sometimes ask why Gartner has rendered their company or product names differently from how the providers represent these names themselves. For example, our style is to change “Verint Systems Inc.” to be “Verint Systems” instead.

Gartner does strive to reproduce company and product names exactly, but we have long shied away from reproducing “textual effects” — such as backward letters, bold or italic type, and varying point sizes and fonts — and we will continue to do so. The foundation of our style remains the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook (see “company names”). However, we have decided to break with AP on the treatment of company and product names in Gartner Research in an effort to ensure that our research represents what our clients see in the marketplace.

What You Will See:

Company names will be presented in full on first reference, as they appear on the “About the Company” page of the company’s website. Capitalization, spelling, spacing and punctuation will be reproduced exactly (unless the name uses hard-to-render characters, such as backward letters). When this page gives contradictory guidance, we will always go by what is used in the text blurb about the company, rather than the company name as presented in logos, addresses, copyright lines and elsewhere. If there is a mixture of long and short versions of the name in the text blurb, we will favor the long version.

  • Product names will be treated the same as company names, and the product landing page will be considered the gold standard for determining the proper presentation.
  • Ampersands will be used only if they are part of the company’s formal name, but not otherwise in place of “and.”
    A lowercase “the” will be used unless it is part of the company’s formal name.
  • “Inc.,” “Corp.,” “GmbH” and similar abbreviations will be omitted, as will their expanded forms (e.g., “Incorporated”).
  • Company and product names will be rendered as current at the time of publication. Gartner will not update published research after company rebranding efforts, mergers, or acquisitions.
  • We do not reproduce trademark, copyright or service mark symbols.

Our editors and writers will begin implementing this updated guidance immediately — including content that is already in progress.

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Symposium/Xpo “Neighborhood Watch”

October 28th, 2019   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Guest Post from Nicole Saraco Loddo–Manager, Gartner Quote Requests

You may have seen me if you were on the Orlando Gartner Symposium/Xpo show floor last week. Some vendors “affectionately” refer to me as the neighborhood watch as I walk the floor to see how the signage and collateral my Quote Requests team and the Conferences team reviewed before the event have turned out.

In the weeks before Symposium, Gartner Quote Requests reviews all exhibitor promos that include a reference to Gartner intellectual property. On site, I walk the show floor before it officially opens to ensure that all exhibitors’ booth signage, handouts, and presentations comply with Gartner’s Copyright and Quote Policy. If exhibitors have a hand-out giveaway or host a raffle at their booths, I also check to see that the proper disclaimers appear with the promos. If something is amiss that may call Gartner’s independence or objectivity into question, I work behind the scenes to fix it.

I am also part of the Legal & Compliance team that works hard to ensure that we identify and mitigate risk for Gartner as well as for our exhibitors and attendees across the Conference. A key focus for us these days is ensuring our attendees’ privacy remains, well, private. Attendees have control over their personal information and how its shared before, during and after the event. One way we do this is to give attendees control over whether an exhibitor can scan their badges; another is that we don’t sell this information to third parties – ever.

Soon I will leave for #GartnerSym_Barcelona, and my role in the neighborhood will remain the same. If you happen to see me, please stop and say hello. Remember, the reason neighborhoods have a watch in place is to look for ways to make the community more enjoyable for all. With that in mind, if you have any feedback on the information I’ve highlighted in this post, email me at quote.requests@gartner.com.

Hope to see you in Barcelona!

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Setting the Record Straight

October 17th, 2019   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Earlier this week, an article appeared in a media publication in Thailand that leveled some serious claims against our local business operations. In a nutshell, the article repeats allegations which had previously been made against Gartner by a disgruntled former sales agent based in Thailand.

To set the record straight in no uncertain terms, the statements made by this former sales agent are unequivocally false and baseless. And to be specific, Gartner is not in violation of the Thailand Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 and there is no risk to our local agreements with clients or the services provided under those agreements.

Earlier this year, the former sales agent raised this matter in litigation before the Southern Bangkok Civil Court. Gartner received judgment in its favor in the litigation. In giving its decision, the court made no adverse finding against Gartner in respect of the former sales agent’s complaints.

It’s a serious matter when someone defames a business, which is why we decided to outline the facts of the matter in this blog. We want to reassure our clients in Thailand, and around the world, that Gartner is committed to conducting business in an ethical and honest manner in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

The allegations repeated in the article constitute criminal and civil defamation. As you would expect, we’re now taking all appropriate legal steps to address this issue.

If you’d like more information about this issue, please reach out to us at ombudsman@gartner.com.

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Gartner Research Does Not Please Everyone, All Of The Time

October 11th, 2019   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

In this post, we’ll share a timely case study on how the Office of the Ombudsman receives, investigates and responds to complaints raised by technology providers, and why we always value getting our research right more than publishing to deadlines. This particular case study is based on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions, which was significantly delayed following a complaint made by one of the vendors included in the research.

First, why was this particular Magic Quadrant delayed? The reason is that we received a complaint, following Fact Review, from a vendor called Rubrik, claiming that our evaluation was inaccurate. As we investigated its claims, Rubrik later disclosed that one of the document’s authors had unsuccessfully applied for a job at its company about a year before the analyst had been assigned to the team for this particular Magic Quadrant. Rubrik claimed that this analyst was therefore biased against it.

We immediately investigated these concerns as well as the process the analysts followed to create the draft Magic Quadrant. We conducted an extensive review of all the interactions of the analyst in question, examined the veracity of peer and vendor review throughout the Magic Quadrant research process, and examined the data informing the underlying analysis. We also involved a senior analyst from another team, with extensive experience, to do a deep review of the analysis; he found nothing improper in the data, research process, analysis, the analyst’s interactions with Rubrik, the advice provided by this analyst to more than 100 end-user clients regarding this vendor, or the conclusions presented in the draft Magic Quadrant.

Following our investigation, we informed Rubrik of our detailed findings. We also explained that every piece of Gartner research represents more than one analyst’s opinion. The documented Gartner research process mandates collaboration, with both co-authors and other analysts within Research & Advisory, who provide input into the research. This is followed by rigorous peer review by analysts who are not directly involved in the specific research document but have relevant content knowledge. The draft is then shared with vendors for factual review. After this, research documents require final approval by management—all designed to create research that represents a consensus Gartner point of view—not a single analyst’s point of view.

Despite our investigation showing no evidence of bias for or against Rubrik, or any other provider included in the Magic Quadrant, out of an abundance of caution we made the decision to remove the analyst from the report. We assigned another analyst, with extensive knowledge of the market and the technologies in it, to conduct a full review of all original data and briefing materials, the scoring of all vendors involved, and the strengths and cautions for each company. He, too, agreed with the team’s conclusions and helped to finalize the Magic Quadrant. The original lead analyst played no role in this process.

Independence and objectivity are paramount attributes of Gartner research, so even the perception of a conflict of interest requires careful examination by the Office of the Ombudsman. Rubrik absolutely did the right thing to contact us and voice its concerns. In this case, it took a considerable amount of time to thoroughly investigate every single complaint raised by Rubrik, ultimately resulting in the assignment of a new lead analyst for this research. We are fully satisfied that Gartner’s rigorous research methodologies, combined with the actions taken by the Research & Advisory leadership team throughout this process, ensures all the vendors in this market segment are accurately—and fairly—evaluated relative to their competitors in the final Magic Quadrant.

Unfortunately, Rubrik does not agree with Gartner’s point of view expressed in the Magic Quadrant, but we respect the company’s right to voice its opinion. We believe Gartner’s opinion on vendor capabilities in this market is accurately expressed in the Magic Quadrant, a rigorous, independent analysis that helps buyers navigate technology purchase decisions.

Office of the Ombudsman

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What does it cost to be included in Gartner research? The answer is simple: nothing.

September 27th, 2019   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Guest Post from Frank DiPerna, Senior Ombudsman Specialist, Gartner

We’ve heard it before. Someone might say, “If you want to be included in Gartner research or improve your position, you have to spend at least [insert very high dollar figure here].” Not only is this untrue, but for Gartner to allow such a practice would destroy the foundation that our business is based on: providing truly independent, objective research to our clients. Status as a client has no bearing on research position—never has, never will. To get more specific, these claims often relate to the Magic Quadrant, part of a set of research written to help Gartner’s end-user clients make better purchasing decisions. The Research analysts who author these reports care only about providing relevant advice to end-user clients; anything beyond this would be antithetical to Gartner’s values.

So why does this mistaken notion persist in some circles? These false rumors may be spread by someone who disagrees with a research position, it could be the result of a misunderstanding, or perhaps a company seeks to grow its business by making outrageous claims against its competitors or Gartner to get attention. No matter the reason, whenever challenged on this issue, we respond assertively and confidently by referring to Gartner’s Ethical Principles, the Gartner research process and methodologies, and our Code of Conduct. We ask to speak directly with whomever has these concerns to set the record straight.

How can we so boldly proclaim this level of independence? Because all vendors, client or not, have the ability to engage with Gartner analysts through the Vendor Briefing process. In 2018 alone, more than 12,000 unique briefings were conducted with Gartner analysts. When considering whether to accept briefing requests, analysts consider only whether the information they will learn contributes to their research agenda—never whether the vendor is a client. Some types of research, such as the Magic Quadrant, also have strict inclusion and evaluation criteria that are applied to all vendors equally, and each vendor is evaluated with a consistent, rigorous methodology. If a vendor asks to be included in or excluded from a piece of research, we explain that it’s not up to them; only Gartner analysts, following our methodologies, decide which vendors will, or won’t, be included in our research.

A logical question is, why would a vendor want to become a client if it doesn’t somehow influence the outcome of our research? In a word: strategy. Gartner analysts speak to thousands of end-user clients every year about their unmet expectations and future needs. That provides Gartner analysts with unique insight on market trends that—when shared in aggregate because we never share confidential client information—can help vendors evolve their products and services. And who ultimately benefits? End users, because vendors are better able to meet their changing needs.

Want to drill even deeper? That’s why the Office of the Ombudsman exists. Contact us if you have any questions about independence, accuracy, or timeliness of any Gartner deliverable.

How to contact us:

In APAC: APACombudsman@gartner.com
In EMEA: EMEAombudsman@gartner.com
In LATAM: LATAMombudsman@gartner.com
Rest of World: ombudsman@gartner.com or +1(203)316-3334.

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What Happens When Analysts Leave Gartner? Hint: Planning for that day begins before the day they start.

May 1st, 2018   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Guest Post from Frank DiPerna, Ombudsman Specialist, Gartner

When research analysts leave Gartner for any reason (a well-deserved retirement, to start a completely new career, or to join an IT end-user or vendor organization), our office at times gets outreaches, usually from IT vendor organizations with which that analyst has interacted as clients. Here are a few things they ask:

  1. What happens to all of the upcoming client interactions scheduled?
  2. Are various stakeholders notified of the analyst’s departure?
  3. What steps does Gartner take to ensure client-confidential information is protected?

All valid questions, which I will answer. Before I do that, I’m going to start before an analyst—or any other Gartner associate—is hired. Prior to joining Gartner all associates must agree to, among other things, protect all client-confidential information they learn while at Gartner and even after they leave the company. There is no time limit on this obligation, and Gartner takes it very seriously.  You see, our business is built on trust. The free flow of information between client and analyst is essential for clients to get the most out of their relationship with Gartner, which is why Gartner goes to great lengths to ensure analysts understand their obligations regarding confidentiality. And, beyond the policies and the training that occurs when associates join Gartner, there are yearly updates to the training and annual affirmation programs to ensure that our analysts understand and comply with those obligations while at Gartner and after they leave.

Even with all of that training, you might wonder, “How can someone just ‘unlearn’ or ignore confidential information they have acquired?” That is a tricky question – and one addressed in a previous blog post.  Understanding what we reasonably can and can’t expect of departing employees has lead Gartner to the conclusion that consistent training and continual reinforcement makes it clear to every employee that we expect nothing short of total compliance. It is part of our culture.

Some vendors have asked why Gartner doesn’t take it a step further by not allowing analysts to join IT vendors when they leave Gartner. Remember, we don’t only receive confidential information from vendor clients.  We have clients from all industries.  That would essentially mean having to stop analysts from going just about anywhere.  As you can see, this approach may sound ironclad, but it would make it all but impossible for an analyst to work anywhere after they leave Gartner.

Now back to the matter at hand: an analyst has given notice. Then what happens? First and foremost, that analyst is reminded of his or her post-employment confidentiality obligations with a letter from his or her manager. Then, the analyst’s manager shifts into “knowledge transfer” mode, identifying the most likely person to take over and bringing that individual up to speed. All upcoming interactions on the departing analyst’s schedule are transferred to others (including client inquiry and vendor briefings). The analyst is removed from all active and planned research projects.  If the analyst covers an IT sector, the relevant vendors in that market are alerted that the analyst is leaving Gartner.  All of this is designed to ensure that the process of delivering world-class insight to our clients proceeds as smoothly as possible, while removing the analyst from any new interactions in which he or she would be exposed to client-confidential information. Finally, Gartner’s Employment Counsel sends an additional letter to the analyst just before his or her last day, reinforcing the confidentiality obligations initially outlined by the analyst’s manager.

I hope this bit of detail was helpful. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at ombudsman@gartner.com or +1(203) 316-3334.

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