Notes on Presenting to Gartner…and That Magic Quadrant Thing
October 14, 2008 4 Comments
I had the opportunity to create and lead a presentation to Gartner last week, on behalf of my company Connectbeam. Now if you don’t about Gartner, the one thing to know is that Gartner’s analyses are used by organizations as decision criteria for purchases. Gartner affects how a lot of IT money gets spent.
So naturally, enterprise vendors are quite interested in how they are viewed by the respective Gartner analysts covering their sector. In fact, here’s how analyst relations strategy firm SageCircle describes it:
Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is probably the iconic piece of analyst research. With its visibility and status, it also has enormous influence on vendor sales opportunities, especially when it comes time for IT buyers to draw up the all-important vendor short lists.
For an amazing review of the whole Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) phenomenon, make sure you read SageCircle’s 7-part series about the MQ.
And here’s what a Magic Quadrant looks like:
The MQ focuses on two dimensions. Here’s a description of them from CMS Wire:
- Ability to execute: This criteria measures an organization’s success at selling and supporting both its products and services from a global perspective
- Completeness of vision: This criteria deals with a company’s potential and helps to separate the vendors who are focused solely on the short-term from the vendors who have a more long-term view of their market
Yes, it’s a simple graph. But so much magic occurs to determine where companies fall on the X and Y axes of the MQ. For reference, Forrester Research has its own version of this, called the Wave.
Presenting Connectbeam to Gartner
In my previous jobs in technology, I’d only been exposed to one major analyst briefing. I had the good fortune to sit in on BEA Systems briefing to Forrester about our portals and enterprise 2.0 offerings. That particular session, which lasted several hours, was led by the head of marketing for the Business Interaction Division, Jay Simons. Jay did a wonderful job leading the Forrester guys through the BEA product and roadmap.
But now for Connectbeam, it was on me. What should we present to Gartner? I hadn’t read any good information on the specifics of what points to make to Gartner. But I did remember some points from the BEA presentation several months back.
After the usual iterations, dead ends and inspirations that characterize presentation building, I settled on three core points:
- Our latest release. Connectbeam recently GA’d Spotlight 3.0. Pretty important to talk about that.
- Our roadmap and vision. I didn’t think about the MQ as I did this, it just seemed a natural for talking with industry thought leaders. Where are we heading?
- Our customers. The idea here is that Gartner needs to know how you’re tracking. It turns out this was some of the most engaged conversation during our hour-long presentation.
The presentation seemed to go well. I personally enjoyed the chance to talk with these guys, because they’re smart and focused on the enterprise 2.0 sector. They just know stuff. Thanks to analyst Jeffrey Mann for tweeting about the meeting.
We originally anticipated two analysts from Gartner, ended up with four. It’s only now that I realize that the next enterprise social software Magic Quadrant is targeted for a 4th quarter release. Perhaps that’s why we had a larger attendance, but I’m not expecting Connectbeam to be in this MQ. We’re really just starting to maintain a dialogue with Gartner.
I know this is an area of focus for a lot of companies. Thought I’d share this experience, in case others are talking with Gartner or other firms. If you’re interested in talking more about it, feel free to connect with me through Twitter or LinkedIn (links are also on the right side of this blog).