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.
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