Office of the Ombuds

Our Assurance of Impartiality

Important Updates to Gartner External Use Policy

December 11th, 2012   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Gartner is known for our independence and objectivity, and our Copyright and Quote Policy is one way that we reinforce these qualities. With this in mind, we frequently look for ways to improve the policy; our latest look highlighted a few areas where we could increase consistency and further reinforce our independence and objectivity. This update focuses on both of these.

What’s changed?

Now permitted in the policy:

  • The word “Gartner” may be used in titles/subtitles of press releases and newsletters, and the subject line of e-mail communications (exceptions: you may not say, “Gartner Says” or “Accordingly to Gartner”).
  • Retrospective wording is permitted. This means you may use words such as “consecutive” and “again”. For example, “ABC Company has received a ‘strong positive’ rating for three consecutive years.”
  • Comparative wording is permitted. This means you may use words such as “only” or “sole”. For example, “XYZ Company is the only vendor in the leaders’ quadrant.”

Now no longer permitted in the policy: Custom analyst quotes. If it hasn’t been published, vendors may not quote a Gartner analyst as having said it in their external communications.

Timing: We will hold all requests to quote from newly published Magic Quadrant, MarketScope and Cool Vendor research for 24 hours after publication, to provide a level playing field for all requestors.

Why the change?

The update addressed some confusing aspects of the policy; for example, we had not allowed the word “Gartner” in titles, so vendors would have to say “analyst firm” and readers would have to look further to find out that this firm was Gartner. Readers shouldn’t have to do this. Our policy allowed retrospective and comparative wording for some document types, and not for others. This change makes the policy consistent.

The Copyright and Quote policy has long prohibited quoting from non-syndicated research. Custom analyst quotes were essentially non-syndicated research positions that had not gone through the rigorous research process that is Gartner’s hallmark. The updated policy lets our published research speak for our analysts.

The Copyright and Quote Policy on reflects these changes. If you have questions about this updated policy, contact, as the Office of the Ombudsman maintains this policy. Please continue to send all quote requests (including reports of potential external use violations) to

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

A Peek into the Magic Quadrant/MarketScope Process

November 4th, 2011   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Ever wonder how long it takes to create a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope, what analysts have to go through to establish a new one, or why Gartner doesn’t share specific company ratings? A recently posted FAQ, created by Gartner’s Research Methodologies team, responds to these questions. I can attest that all of these questions have been asked of the Ombudsman’s Office more than once. Let me know what you think, and I can suggest that your questions go into the next update to this FAQ.

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Gartner Technology Choices: What’s the Big Secret?

November 1st, 2010   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

It’s no secret that Gartner uses IT products and services, but we’ve long had a rule against the providers of those products and services promoting Gartner as a customer. Lately we’ve had a rash of requests from vendors to change that rule, or at least bend it. We’ve said no to all of these requests, for the simple reason that as a provider of IT research and advice, Gartner needs to maintain independence and objectivity in everything we do. This includes the IT purchasing choices we make as an organization. If the vendors  we buy products and services from were allowed to promote our relationship, Gartner could be perceived as favoring one vendor over another (as in, “Gartner chose it – they must think it’s the best”).
Just as Gartner recommends strongly against picking only vendors in the “leaders’ quadrant” in a Magic Quadrant, Gartner’s IT department uses this advice in all technology decisions and selects what fits Gartner’s specific requirements. But there’s a good chance you will never know whose product or service we’ve chosen.

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Adding Social Media to the Gartner External Use Policy: Context Counts

October 6th, 2010   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Did you ever want to quote Gartner research on your personal blog? How about on your corporate one? If you have, check out the update to the Gartner Copyright and Quote Policy on You might say, “It’s about time!” and you’d be right: we certainly have seen an increase in requests to quote research on social media, and we’ve also seen an increase in “violation” reports.

Here is the policy update in a nutshell: If you want to reference the Gartner brand or intellectual property on a corporate platform such as a corporate blog, you need Gartner’s approval in advance. If you want to reference this material on a personal blog or micro-blog, you do not need to seek approval. We differentiate in this way for the simple reason that a corporate blog represents a company’s overall point of view, and a personal blog represents an individual’s personal opinion. That said, Gartner will pursue any gross misrepresentation of Gartner research even in personal blogs and micro-blogs.

Read the full policy update on and let me know what you think.

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Analysts Attending Meals or Cocktail Receptions with Vendors

September 30th, 2010   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

With Symposium season officially underway, we’ve seen an increase in the number of vendors reaching out to analysts with invitations to dinner and cocktail receptions. As you may know, Gartner has some “rules of engagement” for these types of interactions (not limited to Gartner events). I briefly touched on this topic in a previous blog post (, but it seems timely to issue a reminder. 

Vendor events are a great opportunity for analysts, vendors and end users to get together in an informal setting, but we need to ensure analyst participation does not compromise Gartner objectivity. In other words, there can be no potential perception of vendors “wining and dining” analysts or trying to influence their opinions. Before accepting any invitations, analysts look to confirm the requests are not:

  • For a pricey venue or exclusive event,
  • Purely social in nature, or
  • Only vendor representatives and Gartner analysts attending

Again, while we encourage informal interactions, we want to make sure they don’t cross the objectivity line. If you have a request of this sort, please send it to the analyst in advance so that he/she can work with Research Management (and Ombudsman, if needed) to determine if participation is appropriate.

Here’s a case in point with an issue that just crossed my desk: A vendor was having a 1.5-day analyst event, where multiple analyst firms were invited. The agenda was filled with content; the evening activity, while including a few executives speaking, featured a “5-star dinner” at an expensive restaurant. Could the analysts attend? The answer: If the analysts found research value in the 1.5-day event they could go, but the dinner was over the line so they couldn’t attend that. This is why we always encourage events of this type to be truly focused on the content – so our analysts don’t have to, sometimes awkwardly, say they can only partake in part of the experience.

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Judge Grants Gartner’s Motion to Dismiss Law Suit

November 5th, 2009   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

I have received some questions recently about a law suit filed against Gartner regarding our Magic Quadrant. I want to provide those following the situation with an update.

Yesterday, the judge granted Gartner’s motion to dismiss the case for failing to state a legal claim. While the plaintiff has a limited right to amend and re-file a complaint, we’re pleased with this result and continue to stand behind the research findings that were the subject of the technology provider’s complaint. While the technology provider is clearly dissatisfied with its placement in the Magic Quadrant, we will not compromise our research or be unduly influenced by threats of legal action.

As I have said on this blog many times, 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.

We have 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.

I always welcome feedback on how we can improve our research process, what we can do better and, of course, address any issues or concerns from anyone about what we do and how we do it. Here is how to get in touch with me.

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

It’s Still True: Gartner Opinion is Not for Sale

October 8th, 2009   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

It almost sounds like a joke, except we’ve heard it more than once. Here it is: a number of vendors have told their prospects that Gartner charges vendors to be covered in its research. I’ve even heard specific amounts of up to $100,000 being claimed. Quite simply, if this were true Gartner would not be in business today. I blogged about this six months ago ( so I’m not going to repeat what I said here, but the point hasn’t changed: All Gartner analysts are strictly governed by our Code of Ethics ( to ensure our research is independent and objective.

Anyone, client or not, user or vendor, can come forward if they think Gartner has published content that is inaccurate or misleading, or demonstrates bias or unfair treatment. The Office of the Ombudsman was established over five years ago to handle these very issues. If you’ve got one of these issues, please call us at +1 203 316 3334 or send us an email at We’ll be sure to get back to you.

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Updated Research Issue Escalation Process for Vendors

September 18th, 2009   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

Prepare and have a sense of urgency. Do these and you’ll be on your way to mounting a successful escalation about Gartner Research. But there’s more — lots more. Check out the updated Research Issue Escalation Process for Vendors (

Also included in the process document is an FAQ that answers questions you may have about whether an escalation can damage a relationship, when it’s appropriate to introduce new facts, and why it’s important to leave your emotion at home.

I’m going to be talking about this updated process today at the Gartner Quarterly Analyst Relations Webinar at 10:30 AM EDT. That webinar will also focus on Symposium content and a new Research construct called the “Evidence Sidebar.” If you haven’t registered, send an email to They’ll hook you up.

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Want to quote a Hype Cycle?

July 31st, 2009   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

You might know we’re in the middle of “Hype Cycle season,” where we publish 80 or so Hype Cycle documents in a short period of time. Clients often ask if they can share the graphics and/or quote from the content externally – for example, paste the graphic on their web site, quote from the document in a proposal, or publish the fact that they’re listed as a sample vendor of a technology in a press release. This year we’ve seen some shall we say “creative” uses of this content already, and it’s still early. These prompted us to look again at the policy.

And we made a couple of changes to the Copyright & Quote policy around Hype Cycles:

  1. Clients that want to display a hype cycle graphic externally (that is, not within their own organizations) now need to provide a link to a reprint of the entire research report. The reason for this change is that the graphic by itself lacks all the explanatory content, including market term definitions and even what labels like “trough of disillusionment” mean. It could therefore be misinterpreted if presented without context. So just as with the Magic Quadrant, Vendor Rating and MarketScope, we now require this reprint link.
  2. Clients that want to share externally that they were listed in the report as “sample vendors” of a particular technology may now do this, as long as they comply with the Copyright policy. We didn’t used to allow this, but as we looked at this rule we realized it wasn’t necessary.

Just as always, if you’d like to quote a Hype Cycle, just contact the Quote Request team and they’ll process your request. They all know these updates.

So what?  We’re always looking for ways to improve Gartner’s external-use policies – wherever possible making it easier for clients to quote us. We got some interesting feedback and suggestions from the Analyst Relations survey earlier this year (where we asked AR professionals what they thought about Gartner’s external-use policies), and we be sharing that with you shortly.

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Not Ready for Prime Time

July 10th, 2009   by Nancy Erskine · No Comments

I’ve noticed lately that a number of vendors have taken draft documents they were sent during the Fact Check process and shared them (sometimes liberally) with people inside and outside of their organizations. We don’t allow this and push back strongly when we find out about these — I think for good reason.

A draft is just what that word implies — not ready for publication. It may change dramatically before it’s published: the opinions may change, even the backup data may change. Indeed, that’s why we ask vendors to review documents that include information about them: to make sure we’ve got all the facts right. And if you’ve read enough of these drafts you know they’re not copy-edited before we send them. So even if the content doesn’t change when they’re published, the wording and even structure might.

So what? You can probably tell we’re really sensitive to ownership of our IP — I’ve blogged about it, and we have a department of folks who work hard to ensure the rules are followed. But distributing drafts is worse than just breaking our external-use rules because the content isn’t even ready for the “external” world yet. So please, even if sorely tempted, resist the temptation to share until it’s been published… then follow these rules:!

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized