Office of the Ombuds

Our Assurance of Impartiality

Words Matter: Gartner Takes Its Independence Very Seriously

February 28th, 2018   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Guest Post from Dean Daniels, MVP Ombudsman, Gartner

We were recently alerted to a press release, whose contents many who contacted us challenged. They said, “This doesn’t look like something Gartner would have approved.” They were right. The headline read:


Gartner Inc. will strengthen [Provider’s*] position as a global player in [market] (redacted)


We immediately contacted the client and demanded that the press release be removed. It was.


The release had been submitted to the Quote Requests team for review, but none of the changes required by the Quote Request Specialist were made before it was posted. The document described a “partnership” in which Gartner would “assist and support” the technology provider to “become a global player” in its market. It also contained a quote from a Gartner associate that had never been said. And it referenced outdated research excerpts.


Aside from the fact that this press release was not approved for publication, what is more concerning is that this language could be interpreted to mean that Gartner endorses this provider over others or that Gartner will do whatever it takes to make it successful, intimating that client status would help achieve this.


We do want our technology provider clients to succeed, but the way we do it is to arm them with the market insight they need to be successful in their businesses. We help them make decisions about strategy, product, marketing and sales decisions, every day. However, we do not provide a service that helps technology providers assess their applicability for inclusion in our research. And we definitely don’t partner with technology providers to advocate their products or services.


One other thing: We do provide support for press releases. Often, technology providers (client and non-client) want to leverage Gartner Research excerpts in press releases and other documents. That is perfectly fine, as long as the provider contacts our Quote Request Team (email to ensure that what the provider wants to say, and how it wants to say it, adheres to Gartner’s Copyright & Quote Policy.


*It is important to understand that Gartner does not disclose the names of its clients, which is why the name and industry has been redacted from the headline here. We take client confidentiality very seriously, and as a practice, we do not reveal anything about our clients without their express permission.

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UPDATE: Treatment of Company and Product Names in Gartner Research

February 7th, 2018   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Guest post by Jackie Ryan, VP of Content Production, Gartner

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.

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

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Judge Grants Gartner Motion to Dismiss NetScout Law Suit

September 12th, 2017   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

NetScout Systems, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Gartner in 2014, stemming from its unhappiness with its placement in a Gartner Magic Quadrant. We defended ourselves against the claims in the pre-trial processes, filing a motion for a summary judgment to dismiss the case earlier this year. Yesterday, our request to dismiss the case was granted in its entirety.

We are pleased with this result and continue to stand behind the research findings that were the subject of the technology provider’s complaint.

We take the independence and objectivity of our research very seriously. Without it, we wouldn’t have a business. Gartner is not “pay for play.” Influence over research content or the amount of research coverage focused on any vendor, sector or topic is not, and has never been, for sale by Gartner. 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 a peer-review process by members of the worldwide analyst community, and review by research management is required prior to publication. This process is designed to surface any inconsistencies in research methodology, data collection and conclusions, as well as to fully use Gartner collective expertise on any research topic. Anyone can 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.

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Gartner Opinion Is Not For Sale

August 30th, 2017   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

A company recently issued a press release that caught our attention. In the press release, the company stated that it had entered into an agreement with Gartner to provide paid research and analysis, assess one of its products regarding its applicability to the Magic Quadrant, and that Gartner will partner with this company to advocate its products. It caught our attention because none of it is correct.

The client did seek to become a client but Gartner was obliged, first and foremost, to correct the company’s misunderstanding and misportrayal. Gartner does not produce custom research, nor do we provide a service that helps technology providers assess their applicability for inclusion in our research methodologies. And we definitely don’t partner with technology providers to advocate their services. Never have, never will.

Gartner demanded that this post be removed. The company complied and acknowledged to us that its contents were inappropriate.

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Gartner Peer Insights: External sharing rules added to the Copyright and Quote Policy

November 10th, 2015   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Note: I updated this post on 13 Nov., 2015 to reflect the actual wording of the Copyright & Quote policy, which has been updated. 

You are probably familiar with Gartner Peer Insights, a new offering by Gartner that allows IT end users to share their ratings and reviews of IT solutions. Based on discussions at Orlando Symposium, I know many of you are excited to begin sharing the ratings and reviews that end users have written about your own products and services. With this in mind, my team has been busy updating the Copyright & Quote Policy to accommodate your requests. We expect these updates to go live during the week of 16 November. In the meantime, this post includes the ground rules that will appear as “Section 3.7” in the Policy. Feel free to start operating by these guidelines right away to share excerpts from reviews and display your ratings:

  • You may quote or display your company’s current Overall Peer Insights Ratings for markets that have been evaluated, as well as excerpt review comments about your company or its products. You may not quote or display the ratings or excerpt review comments made about any other provider, or use Gartner Peer Insights ratings or reviews to criticize a competitor.
  • When excerpting from a Gartner Peer Insights review, the excerpt must also include the date of the review (for example, “On 23 Oct. 2015, a reviewer wrote, ‘[My Company] has the best product I’ve ever used.’”). Given that the nature of these reviews is so different from quoting Gartner research, when submitting review-excerpt requests you need only include the date the review was written and the product it was about (you do not need to provide further context about the reviewer).
  • All excerpted reviews must be less than 12 months old.
  • To quote ratings:
    • At this point, you may quote only your Overall Peer Insights Rating; you may not share any sub-ratings (for example, you may not display your Integration and Deployment score – only your Overall Rating).
    • When sharing an Overall Rating for your product, you must include the “as of” date and number of reviews on which the overall rating is based (for example, “As of 23 Oct., 2015, the overall Gartner Peer Insights rating for [Your Company] in the Advanced Analytics Platforms market is 4.7 out of 5, based on 53 reviews.”).
    • When displaying the Overall Rating using the existing 5-star model and/or a histogram of the overall rating distribution, you must include the “as of” date, number of reviews on which the overall rating is based and provide a visual of how these will appear within your marketing material(s).
  • Any references to the Gartner Peer Insights logo, ratings, charts and review-excerpts must include a link to the corresponding Gartner Peer Insights pages (Note: registration is required to see the details of individual reviews).

You MUST include this disclaimer with any Gartner Peer Insight content reference(s):
Gartner Peer Insights reviews constitute the subjective opinions of individual end users based on their own experiences and do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates.

Our branding team is also working on a logo and for now Gartner will be providing temporary branding. The logo parameters below will apply to the temporary branding:

Gartner Peer Insights Logo
The Gartner Peer Insights Logo is a trademark and service mark of Gartner Inc. and/or its affiliates and may only be used after securing express, written permission.

  • You may use the Gartner Peer Insights Logo provided the legal disclaimer appears with the logo (see Section 3.7 for the disclaimer).
  • The following legal trademark disclaimer must always appear with use of the Gartner Peer Insights Logo:The Gartner Peer Insights Logo is a trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc., and/or its affiliates, and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Proper Usage:

  • The Gartner Peer Insights Logo may not be used to imply that your company has been given an award.
  • Your logo must be the primary image (relative to both size and positioning) in your promotional materials (as shown in all examples in the Gartner Logo Usage Guidelines).
  • The Gartner Peer Insights logo must be secondary in position to your logo and at least 10% smaller in size. Why?
  • The Gartner Peer Insights logo may not appear in your press release, email signature stamps or securities offering documents (including annual reports). Why?

Please reference: Gartner Logo Usage Guidelines.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact my team: Happy quoting!

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Important Updates to Gartner Copyright & Quote Policy

October 12th, 2015   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

We’re always looking for ways to improve the Copyright and Quote Policy, and a recent review showed a few areas that warranted an update — all with an eye toward reinforcing Gartner’s core principles of independence and objectivity.

What’s changed?

  • NEW – Magic Quadrant graphic parameters for homepage promotions (plus expanded guidance on quoting from MQ documents – Section 3.4a);
  • Clarified rules around quoting material in limited audience documents (LADs — Section 2.1), securities offerings, and reports to shareholders (Section 2.5);
  • New sections for:
    1. Gartner event booth signage (Section 2.6)
    2. Videos (Section 2.7)
    3. IT Key Metrics Data (Section 3.5)
    4. Toolkits (Section 3.6 )
    5. Gartner Trademarks/Logos (Section 2.9);
  • Increased transparency regarding violations and an important update to the “assessment” guide (Section 6.4);
  • Revamped Policy Essentials section to increase clarity (Section 1);
  • Added supporting examples and explanations in several policy areas.


Here’s the detail behind the changes…

Magic Quadrant Guidance

  • NEW! Clients may now display Magic Quadrant graphics on homepage banners, provided – of course – that licensing rights to the full report have been secured through Gartner Reprints
  • Also new to Policy Section 3.4a are: detail around use of Magic Quadrant research, including common “pitfall” language” (for example, mistakenly calling positions “rankings” or “ratings”); examples of appropriate wording to describe placement and words to avoid; and sample documents with further details.



  • We often get questions about what we view as a Limited Audience Documents (LADs). To quickly determine whether your material needs to be submitted for review, we have provided more detail on the four types of documents that do not require pre-approval in Section 2.1.
  • To make the process easier to follow, we have restructured the Securities Offerings and Reports to Shareholders usage parameters with detailed processes and outlined conditions in Section 2.4.


New Sections

  • The Policy now provides guidance on IT Key Metrics Data in Section 3.5, which are for internal non-commercial use by licensed users only and not available for external quoting.
  • To help you quickly identify whether a Toolkit is eligible for external usage (Section 3.6), we identified what to look for.
  • We have added specific pre-production guidelines for including Gartner references in Gartner event booth signage and videos (see Sections 2.6 and 7, respectively).
  • We have dedicated a section on the use of Gartner trademarks and logos under Section 2.9. We distinguished the differences between the Gartner Logo and the Gartner Cool Vendor Logo, included appropriate disclaimer text for each, and clarified proper usage for both.


Policy Violations

Gartner takes violations of our Policy very seriously. While we have long had sanctions against those who externally share draft Magic Quadrant content, we have identified a second scenario that warrants an immediate, three-month quote and reprint blackout. Effective January 1, 2016: We will impose these bans whenever we discover that Gartner published research or references have been included in an earnings call without being pre-approved by Gartner Quote Requests (see Section 6.4).


Policy Essentials

We have reorganized, clarified and numbered the parameters outlined in the Policy Essentials (see Section 1). The content is not new, but it’s now easier to understand and identify.


Supporting documentation

Last year we introduced several clarifying samples of Do’s and Don’ts to key policy parameters that had appeared to be confusing to clients. These documents provided additional explanations, along with visual or textual examples of what would or would not be allowed. We received very positive feedback on these so we added new documents throughout to provide greater context and examples. Click on any “Why?” “Examples” or “here” links for this information.


Where to go with questions: If you have questions about the Policy, contact Please continue to send all quote requests (including reports of potential Policy violations) to

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Magic Quadrant Closed-Period for SAS

February 19th, 2015   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

As many of you know, it has been a common practice for Gartner Research Managers to direct analysts on their teams who are authoring Magic Quadrants (MQs) not to participate, during the heart of any MQ process, in internal or remote SAS for vendors in the MQ.


Research leadership sees this as a best practice and thus has decided to make it a general policy, effective April 1, 2015. Here is the “MQ Closed-Period Policy”:
During the complete calendar month of planned publication for a particular MQ, and for the two complete preceding calendar months — that is, for a total period of three months — MQ authors will not participate in any internal or remote SAS with a vendor being evaluated in the particular MQ.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact your Account Executive or my team:

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Recent Copyright & Quote Policy Changes’ Effect on Branded Research

August 7th, 2014   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

In the recent updates to the Gartner Copyright & Quote Policy, we made it easier for clients to quote from published Magic Quadrants, and harder on those who quote from not-yet-published Magic Quadrants, as well as other branded research documents.


What are the changes?

There is no more 24-hour embargo for Magic Quadrant documents. If you want to mention inclusion or refer to a Magic Quadrant in social media, you do not need to come to Gartner for pre-approval, as long as you comply with the policy. Submit all other mentions and quotes via the standard quote-request process, and they will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Note: The Quote Requests embargo lift has no impact on Reprints’ delivery turnaround time. Please continue to factor in 48 hours when preparing to promote a licensed reprint.

Effective Sept. 1, 2014: If you distribute externally any draft content from any Magic Quadrant, Critical Capabilities or Market Guide document, even if it’s to only one other person, we will impose an immediate, 3-month quote ban that will apply to you and your employer.


Why make it easier?

The 24-hour embargo on quoting from Magic Quadrant research was imposed a couple of years ago to create a level playing field among vendors that wanted to highlight their inclusion in the document and link to reprints they had purchased. A lot has happened in those two years, with developments in social media as well as delivery of more traditional media types (for example, press releases). In keeping with these developments, the time was right for us to lift embargos on MQ research.


Why make it harder?

The Gartner research process involves rigorous peer review and collaboration, sometimes up until the point of publication. This means that Gartner positions can change dramatically up until the time a document publishes (including big movement of vendor “dots” in Magic Quadrants). And it’s why pre-release content of Magic Quadrants, Critical Capabilities and Market Guides, sent to vendors strictly for fact review, may not be shared with anyone outside of a small, authorized group. Sharing any of these materials outside of this group can lead to inaccurate, incomplete or conflicting content in the marketplace, and is also just plain unfair to those who play by the rules, including Gartner. This is documented in Section 6.4 of the Copyright & Quote Policy.

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Changes to Gartner Copyright & Quote Policy — A message from the Office of the Ombudsman

August 4th, 2014   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

The Office of the Ombudsman frequently looks for ways to improve the Copyright and Quote Policy; our latest audit revealed a few areas that warranted some clarification and transparency to further underpin Gartner’s independence and objectivity.

What’s changed?

  • 24-hour Magic Quadrant embargo lifted (Section 3.4a)
  • Increased transparency regarding violations and an “assessment” guide (Section 6.4)
  • Added rules around Critical Capabilities and Market Guide research and graphic usage (Section 3.4a and 3.4b)
  • Shared rules around the use of the Gartner logo, including an updated Gartner Logo Usage Guidelines document that includes use-case examples (Section 2.3)
  • Revamped Policy Essentials section (Section 1)
  • Modified legal disclaimer for “Branded” research (Section 3.4a and 3.4b)

Why the changes?

24-hour Embargo Lifted

In this day and age, we realize that corporate communications demand faster response. This is why we have lifted the embargo for newly published Magic Quadrants. While all corporate mentions (such as press releases, presentation slides) still must be submitted to Quote Requests for approval, they will no longer be subject to a 24-hour embargo. Social media mentions (for example, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, personal blogs) do not require pre-approval.

Note: The Quote Requests’ embargo lift has no impact on Reprints’ delivery turnaround time. Please continue to factor in 48 hours when preparing to promote a licensed reprint.


When people violate the Policy, we take various steps in response. We’ve never shared the rationale behind our actions, but in the interest of transparency, we have added a Violation Assessment Guideline that provides a view into the factors we consider when assessing violations. One of the more dramatic actions we can take against violations is a “Quote ban”, which precludes the violator from quoting from Gartner for a period of time. The updated Policy spells out that effective Sept. 1, 2014, an immediate, 3-month quote ban will be imposed any time we discover that draft Magic Quadrant, Critical Capabilities or Market Guide text or graphics are shared externally or beyond appropriate internal participants.

Critical Capabilities and Market Guides

The Policy now outlines details on Critical Capabilities and Market Guide research under Section 3.4 for “Branded” research.

Gartner Logo

We have added guidelines for how and when the Gartner logo may be used within client marketing materials. These parameters are aligned with our corporate branding and help ensure that the Gartner brand is consistently and appropriately represented in the marketplace.


Policy Essentials

We have reorganized, clarified and streamlined the parameters outlined in the Policy Essentials section. The content is not new, but we think it’s now easier to understand.


Modified disclaimer

The legal disclaimer under Section 3.4 for “Branded” research has been updated.


Where to go with questions: If you have questions about this updated Policy, contact Please continue to send all quote requests (including reports of potential external use violations) to



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“Forget Everything I Told You …”

February 7th, 2014   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Is it possible to purposefully forget something you’ve recently been told? I would argue no — it’s close to impossible to purposefully “unknow” something. It stands to reason that everything you learn, in one way or another, ultimately contributes to the opinions you form.

Let’s take it one step further: What if you were expressly told that certain information was to be treated as confidential? Could you guarantee that the information shared with you in confidence would never influence your opinion?

Now it gets tougher, right? Lawyers have long debated the definition of “confidential” when it comes to forming opinions. And this uncertainty is probably responsible for the miles and miles of disclaimers written in tiny font and buried at the foot of contracts. That text exists because it’s not a simple question to answer.

This ambiguity around the meaning of “confidential” is at the crux of a discussion I had recently with a client. To summarize, it’s this: If a client shares confidential corporate information with an analyst during an inquiry call or meeting, can the analyst keep that information confidential, or will the very act of receiving the information influence the opinions s/he forms and shares with other clients? The short answer is yes to both.

This is how I responded: If specific information is expressly identified as confidential during analyst inquiry, our research organization has a documented process to ensure those specific details are not divulged outside of Gartner.

But the high-level concepts and ideas inherent in the information shared during inquiry may — together with other external sources of information — be leveraged and shared with other analysts, because it helps to inform our analysts’ point of view. The Research organization operates in a collaborative environment, where the open sharing of information and ideas leads to better analysis, predictions, findings and advice for clients.

A simple analogy would be a visit to the doctor. The doctor applies the high-level knowledge she has gained from other patients to help diagnose and treat you. She may even say she saw someone with a similar issue last week, but obviously never dream of sharing the specifics of the encounter- for example, telling you that it was your neighbor! Afterwards, she might consult with a colleague to get a second opinion and raise awareness within her practice of a recurring or common health issue in the community. The doctor will subsequently use the experience of treating you to help treat others. As a result, the doctor’s knowledge and overall effectiveness increases and awareness is raised in the greater medical community, all without ever compromising your confidence.

There are two key takeaways here:

First, confidentiality is and has always been a critically important issue at Gartner. It forms the foundation of our business model because we know trust matters. And we practice what we preach by rigorously training our analysts annually on how to treat our clients’ confidential information.

Second, because we respect and understand the meaning of confidentiality, we also provide guidance to our analysts about when to decline confidential information. When a client offers our analysts information that is classified as for “strictly personal and private use,” we instruct them to decline the offer, for the simple reason that once they “know” something, they cannot “unknow it.” We will agree to keep your confidence, but we can’t agree to something that we can’t uphold.

If you have any questions about how confidential information is handled by analysts in our research process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

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