World leading technology research and advisory firm Gartner influences the decision-making processes of IT and vendor companies globally. We recently interviewed Gartner Business Development Director, Nancy Shapira-Aronovic, to find out how Israeli companies can improve their exposure with this influential company. The interview centered on two important Gartner reports: Cool Vendor and Magic Quadrant. We discussed the differences between them and Gartner’s criteria for both Cool Vendor and Magic Quadrant status.

What’s the difference between the Cool Vendor and Magic Quadrant reports, and how does being included in these lists/reports affect buyers and vendors?

The Cool Vendor Report is for emerging vendors with an innovative technology or business model that may disrupt the industry they are in.  Vendors that are featured in these reports get high visibility with potential investors, acquirers and, of course, potential early adopter clients. This year we had 35 Israeli Cool Vendors out of a total of 418 – so a bit over 8% of the total global amount.  15 of those Vendors were in the Security space. Gartner’s definition of a Cool Vendor is a small company offering a technology or service that is:

  • Innovative – Enables users to do things they couldn’t do before.
  • Impactful – Has or will have a business impact, not just technology for its own sake.
  • Intriguing – Has caught Gartner’s interest during the past six months.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report reflects a mature market.  A Magic Quadrant is the culmination of research in a specific market, giving you a wide-angle view of the relative positions of the market’s competitors. By applying a graphical treatment and a uniform set of evaluation criteria, a Magic Quadrant helps end users quickly ascertain how well technology providers are executing their stated visions and how well they are performing against Gartner’s market view.  For technology providers, inclusion in a Magic Quadrant can make or break a deal since many enterprises rely on the Magic Quadrant to make their vendor decisions.  Many Israeli technology providers will not have a Magic Quadrant in their space or be eligible until they reach a certain revenue stream.   Many times they will be acquired before they reach the Magic Quadrant status.

A vendor does not have to be a Gartner client to be mentioned in a report. Being a client, however, gives you ongoing access to consult with our analysts. A non-client can only request a vendor briefing a few times a year, which is a one-way presentation of their solution to the analyst, without feedback on their messaging, GTM, product road map, etc.

What was so special in this year’s list?

There were almost double the amount of Israeli companies than last year (35 vs. 15) and double the amount of security companies (15 vs. 8).

How does a company “graduate” from Cool Vendor to other Gartner reports and what are the considerations of Gartner analysts for including companies in these lists?

Appearing in Gartner reports is the sole decision of the analyst team. They are not influenced by the fact that a company is a Gartner client or not. In order, however, to fully evaluate a company, they need feedback from clients and input from the vendor on their progress in the market.  It is the vendor’s responsibility to update the analyst. The analysts do not always have time to follow up on all vendors – especially the smaller ones.  Gartner analysts also track what the enterprise clients are asking about. If the enterprise clients ask about the vendor, then that will influence whether they get mentioned in a report.

A percentage of Cool Vendors get acquired or investments but whether the vendor gets mentioned in future reports depends on many criteria including growth of the market and their progress as a vendor.

What’s the role of a vendors’ marketing in a Gartner Magic Quadrant? 

In a Magic Quadrant, one of the criteria is Marketing Execution, which Israeli vendors traditionally do not do as well in.  Gartner tracks how much effort and resources vendors are putting into their marketing efforts and uses that as a one of the  criteria for the Execution part of the Magic Quadrant.

They validate a vendors’ marketing claims by talking to the vendors’ clients.

What’s your most important tip for working with Gartner? 

The most important thing is to understand how Gartner works. It’s very different from the other analyst groups both by virtue of the size and the scope of research and Gartner’s commitment to objectivity. You should also see it as a long term investment.  It’s important to build long term relationships with the Gartner analysts and to understand that their objectivity is key to the value they bring vendors and end users The vendor’s job is to tell the story, but also to listen to the advice and feedback that the analysts are giving.  The analysts are a window into the mind and pocket of your potential and future buyer.  Your top management should be involved in the relationship and it should be treated as an important part of your marketing, business, product and sales strategy.