With the release of Gartner’s first Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) , let’s see if we can bust some common MQ myths, especially when the topic is MES:
Myth 1: – You can’t write a Magic Quadrant for a Fragmented Market
When I joined Gartner in 2014, there was one thing I knew for certain. There would NEVER be a Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems. Conventional wisdom said that the MES market was too fragmented, made up of small vendors with unique specialized functionality to meet the needs of specific industries. A small vendor serving the aerospace and defense market would never compete with a small vendor serving the food and beverage market.
Well, the world has changed. Larger enterprise vendors in the PLM, ERP and Automation arenas have acquired and developed their own MES capability. Their strategy is to provide a set of functionality that will meet the needs of a wide variety of industries, leaving the specialization to industry specific implementation service providers, or the end customer via industry templates.
Myth: Busted… (sort of) Specialized vendors still provide better point MES solutions, this must be weighed against the value of the enterprise vendor platforms. In recognition of this fact the newly released Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems will be supplemented by six industry-specific contextualization documents, showcasing specialized vendors in aerospace & defense, automotive, life sciences, consumer products, process manufacturing and industrial/high tech/electronics.
Myth 2: – The Niche Quadrant is a bad place to be
Conventional wisdom says that the lower left ‘niche’ quadrant is a place to avoid in the magic quadrant. In a market where industry specialization is strength, being a niche vendor is a strength. The vendors in the Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems that reside in the niche quadrant are recognized as leaders in MES for the specific industries they cover.
Although there might be an assumption that vendors in the other quadrants are better choices for new MES buyers, in certain circumstances Niche Players are just as good or better choices for prospective users. This is because they might focus on a geographic or vertical component of the market that is meaningful to particular users.
Myth: Busted! Depending on your specific needs, a niche MES vendor could be what you are looking for.
Myth 3: – The Challenger Quadrant is not great either
The Challenger quadrant has its own ‘stigma’. These companies are really not as ‘visionary’ as the leaders. Maybe not as shiny, maybe not as glamorous. A colleague refers to the challenger quadrant as “The Chevy truck quadrant”. Solid… Dependable… Vendors in this quadrant provide solutions that are very well received by customers and provide solid capabilities. Not everyone needs the new, shiny stuff.
Myth: Busted! Chevy trucks!
Bottom line, there are strong business reasons for manufacturers to consider vendors in any quadrant, AND specialized vendors that are not part of the Magic Quadrant.
Watch this space for additional blogs on specific manufacturing verticals, how they apply MES to improve their performance, and who the vendors are that specialize on those verticals.
For additional guidelines on how to best use Magic Quadrants, take a look at Cindi Howson’s blog here
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