Office of the Ombudsman

Our Assurance of Impartiality

Gartner Client Status is Irrelevant to Research Positioning

April 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Yesterday a vendor tweeted, “New Question, how many Software Vendors in the Wave and Quadrant are not clients of Gartner and Forrester?”

We can’t speak for anyone else, but Gartner’s answer is that usually most, but not all, vendors in Magic Quadrants are Gartner clients in one way or another – such as exhibiting at our events or accessing analysts for advice to help them run a more successful business. But client status (or even the amount a client spends) is not a factor in determining inclusion or positioning in research reports. Research analysts cover vendors that, based on end-user requirements, are significant players in the product and service sectors we cover. Gartner analysts determine if vendors are relevant to the clients in their area of coverage; the vendors don’t decide if they want to be covered or not. All Gartner analysts are strictly governed by our Code of Ethics to ensure our research is independent and objective, and it’s my job to enforce it.

Do some vendors buy Gartner services expecting to be included in Gartner research or to improve their position in Magic Quadrants or Marketscopes? If they do, they quickly find that becoming a client doesn’t guarantee either of these. The main reason vendors buy Gartner services is to get access to our analysts – to bounce ideas off them, learn from what they see happening in the market, or get specific reactions to potential product or service plans. While any vendor can brief our analysts on new products or services, regardless of whether or not they are a client, the key missing ingredient is feedback, which only clients get. 

A related question vendors sometimes ask is, “Why doesn’t Gartner disclose which vendors are clients in Magic Quadrants or Marketscopes?” The answer is doing so would violate the confidentiality that Gartner affords its clients.

So what? It’s obvious from the fact that Gartner even has an Office of the Ombudsman that we take integrity and independence very seriously. The Office was put in place to help ensure that Gartner associates play by the rules – but also are able to act free of undue influence.

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