Hey Gartner, your Magic Quadrant in WCM is missing key players.

I have just read the August 5 2009 magic quadrant of WCM from Gartner.  I am sad to see Gartner still proceeds to evaluate only commercial offering when it comes to top WCM solutions.  Gartner’s main driver for inclusion seems to be revenue, not user experience, not adoption rates, not market peneration, and not features, but legacy measures of revenue, professional services, and support.  By doing so, Gartner tends to elevate and promote the older, less agile solutions, and may skew the research of companies looking for cutting edge approaches.  Gartner identifies trends in the markets are web 2.0, enhanced usability of non-technical audiences, popularity of open source, and interest in saas, however they fail to identify open source WCM drivers in the market.  For example, user experience and web 2.0 are directly being impacted by the expansion of the open source communities building and implementing WordPress, MovableType, Drupal, and Joomla solutions.  Next, the Saas market is seeing an explosion in adoption of cloud products like Squarespace.

I truly value some high level assessments of great products like Autonomy Teamsite, Sitecore, Ektron, and Sharepoint; since a majority of the open source solutions cannot scale in fortune 500 situations across the enterprise.  However, when evaluating a magic quadrant of WCM, you cannot leave the open source off the table, many large distributors of content and SMBs are looking to open source since they provide quick and easy solutions for business users to rapidly produce and publish content.  Trends of WCM/CMS now place a higher value on development community over revenue.  Through development communities, companies can accelerate innovation and adoption of new web 2.0 and social media features.

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4 thoughts on “Hey Gartner, your Magic Quadrant in WCM is missing key players.”

  1. I wrote a very balanced article here about Gartner’s choices, but your WordPress Captcha thingy said I can’t read and dismissed it.

    It advised me to use the back button and retry. Well yeah… my entire contribution was deleted so thanks very much.

    Now this is one of those reasons why Open Source can suck.

    Though I think it’s shameful that one of the most used OSS CMSs like WordPress fails on something so simple and it is probably a no-biggie thing to fix technically, in this case anti-spam security prevailed over usability.

    If a paying customer is driving the vendor hard to prioritise fixing these technically small but practically annoying thing, it gets fixed because it’s important and money talks. In an OSS foundation one must hope for the co-operation of an individual developer and because there’s no money involved, there’s nothing to push but his honour. So the customer will have one choice and that is fixing it themselves and post the improved version to the community, then hope it gets included in the next release so they don’t have to retrofit their own improvements back in again.

  2. ZL Technologies, a San Jose-based IT company specializing in cutting-edge enterprise software solutions for e-mail and file archiving, is challenging Gartner Group and the legitimacy of Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant.” In a complaint filed on May 29, 2009, ZL claims that Gartner’s use of their proprietary “Magic Quadrant” is misleading and favors large vendors with large sales and marketing budgets over smaller innovators such as ZL that have developed higher performing products. The complaint alleges: defamation; trade libel; false advertising; unfair competition; and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage.

    This Friday, Oct. 23, there will be a hearing on Gartner’s motion to dismiss ZL’s complaint on First Amendment grounds. Though Gartner claims that its research is “objective, defensible and credible,” its court filings say that its research reports are “pure opinion,” i.e., opinions not based on fact. ZL believes this is clearly misleading to enterprises which expect better from Gartner than merely opinions-not-based-on-fact to resolve serious IT problems.

    The lawsuit and related court documents may be viewed at: ZL v. Gartner Court Documents | ZL Technologies

    Regardless of how the court may decide the First Amendment arguments, ZL hopes to achieve the following through legal, political and other means:
    - Fair Disclosure on Conflicts of Interest – Gartner generates its revenues from payments made by the same vendors whose products it evaluates. Similar to the new rules now being imposed on financial ratings agencies on Wall Street, Gartner should be required to disclose the revenues received from the vendors it ranks.
    - Fair Disclosure on Evaluation Scores – The tech industry would benefit if Gartner were required to disclose more data in its evaluation process and disclose component scores so vendors know exactly where they are lacking and by how much and take corrective action. Currently, there is zero disclosure, which can lead to arbitrary placement, with no recourse and no basis for appeal.
    - Better Oversight – Gartner currently has an employee act as ombudsman to handle disagreements. The conflict of interest is self-evident in the way ZL’s concerns were summarily dismissed with little supporting evidence. There is a crying need to establish an impartial ombudsman similar to those found in public media, in order to ensure purchasers that they are receiving impartial analysis.

    ZL believes that Gartner’s immense heft and power in the marketplace necessitate careful checks and balance against abuse of power. ZL believes that if IT innovation is to remain a driver for the U.S. economy, there must be assurances that ratings agencies such as Gartner do not subvert the competitive forces which drive innovation.

    The time to act is now. Ratings agencies have impact. If left unchecked, the consequences can be dire, as we recently witnessed with poorly rated financial instruments wreaking havoc on our financial institutions. The SEC has seen fit to impose new rules on the ratings agencies involved. Surely it is time for similar rules to ensure that Gartner’s overwhelming power in the enterprise does not result in restricting competition, choking U.S. innovation and saddling enterprises with inferior products.

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