Quadrants and Other Analyst Evaluation Systems


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It appears our recent success has put us on the analyst’s radar screen. In fact, we were just placed in the 2008 Magic Quadrant for Software Change and Configuration Management. My point of contention is our debut in the niche quadrant. As you might guess – niche – is not how we hear it. From a “voice of our customer” point-of-view we’re their top choice … that’s why they select, and use our solutions in the first place. Let me explain.

I’ll begin by referencing an earlier post (“Feedback Will Help Turn Employees into Ambassadors for Your Company”) where I mentioned that in my role as a faculty member I like to use rubrics to evaluate my students. The MQ, much like a rubric, uses evaluation criteria with weightings. You’d think I’d love it. The problem is that the criteria and weights are designed to reward larger-older companies (favorite students from the past?). And in the end, it still looks like a forced bell curved. By that I mean the quadrant generally has a couple of companies in the higher top right and a couple in the lower bottom left, and the rest bunched in the middle as Challenger-Leaders or Niche-Visionaries. In fact, Seapine is in the Niche-Visionary bunching.

In addition, in a recent article (“The Magic Quadrant trap: Are analyst ranking reports being used appropriately?”) on SearchDataManagment, author Rick Sherman presented an interesting point of view worth thinking about:

“If you merely used the “leaders’ list” from the analyst BI reports, then you’d have picked products from one of the top three vendors – Business Objects, Cognos or Hyperion. These companies’ products have led the market share wars for years. And, by reading industry articles and publications, you would assume everyone is buying those three products. But the collective market share for the top three products, according to IDC 2006 research, was 37.3%. That means that almost two-thirds of companies did NOT buy the “best” products. Why? They were making their choices based on what was most appropriate for them. When companies are evaluating software, they have to determine what they need, how much they are willing to spend and what skills they have to implement the software.”

Sherman goes on to state that “The trap of the leaders’ quadrant is that if you use that research as your only input, you might not get the most appropriate software for your company.”

The beginning of my post may have sounded like I was whining. Actually I’m delighted; because in a past life I served as an industry analyst and know that they only start calling when you’ve caught the markets attention. Our rapid growth means we are listening to our customers, and are addressing their unique needs. From a marketing perspective you might even say we understand our niche. That being the case, our current placement doesn’t seem to bother those companies who were willing to do research beyond the top right quadrant.

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Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


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