The Gartner 2018 MQ for Analytics and BI Platforms — What Changed?

Has assessment evolved to avoid misinterpreting ‘form over function’?

The Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms took another interesting turn this year. It’s not surprising given that over the past 4 years the market for what companies are looking for in their analytics solutions has evolved significantly.  We went from the decade of generation 1 tools, which simply connected to databases and spit out a report, to generation 2 of beautiful visualizations in dashboards, to generation 3 of data-smart, machine-driven approaches or what Gartner now calls ‘Augmented Analytics’. ‘Augmented Analytics’ represents the application of machine-intelligence and AI to automate business discovery of insights and we are delighted to see it recognized as ClearStory epitomizes just that.

But with all that said, any Business Leader knows that at the end of the day what matters is getting insights for material business impact.  In a competitive world, it’s not about the genius of the technology alone, but the ‘impact of the solution to the business’.  And today, assessing tools can only be done one way; through first-hand testing of ‘Function over Form’ with Functional assessment measured through material business impact.  

Back to the MQ.

  • To Gartner’s credit, the MQ process and generation of the report is a monumental task, with tools from generation 1, generation 2, and generation 3, all whittled down this time to 20 companies over three decades of evolution. All solving 15-20 pain points across them, with no one solution doing it all.  As a Management Team at ClearStory Data and 12 technology companies that we have collectively founded and grown to IPOs and market-leaders, we know well that the key to success is delivering a solution that is outstanding and not mediocre or just ‘good-enough’ across 15-20 areas. To that point, every organization picking a new Business Analytics tool should get first-hand experience by trying it on their own data and talking to a vendor’s customer references.
  • Being a missing ‘dot’ on the MQ this year doesn’t cause anything to change on ClearStory’s trajectory.  Nor does it intend to contradict ClearStory’s 2016 and 2017 MQ Visionary position. Yes, major Enterprise customers using ClearStory find it baffling and they should. Particularly after they’ve experienced first-hand the fast, business impact of ClearStory’s solution on not just one business use case but many, with great results. It’s even more baffling to them when many of them found ClearStory in the first place in the 2016 and 2017 MQ as a Leading Visionary.
  • So what happened? The facts:
  1. Certain companies, like ClearStory, are missing this year in the MQ, due to a couple of the MQ ‘Inclusion Criteria’ that needed to be met by August 2017. In that ‘inclusion’ category are criteria like social media, specifically Twitter followers or public postings.  Ironically we didn’t invest more or less in Twitter than previous years when we appeared as a Leading Visionary in our MQ debut in 2016 and then again in 2017. We just didn’t go into a competitive head-to-head on ‘who has more Twitter followers’ as we don’t think senior business leaders are inclined to be influenced by social media or web postings.
  1. Social Media, Public postings, and Inquiries, as Gartner will confirm, have nothing to do with the meat of the MQ which focuses on ‘Evaluation Criteria’. Evaluation Criteria  covers Product (Vision) and Execution. And that’s where we continue to kill it in the market. We don’t think there is any right or wrong answer on social media etc. being considered as ‘Inclusion’ criteria, as it’s Gartner’s prerogative to characterize ‘inclusion’ criteria any way they want and that’s totally fair. But it’s important for customers and buyers to not misinterpret the true meaning of ‘Inclusion’ versus ‘Evaluation’ criteria.
  1. On Product Evaluation Criteria (Vision axis) nothing has changed in the 2016, 2017, 2018 MQs. Since Gartner modernized the definition of the MQ in 2016, when ClearStory first emerged as a leading visionary vendor, Gartner’s emphasis on machine-learning and AI as the foundation for the next wave of disruption has only intensified. Innovation in this area is what landed ClearStory Data on the MQ in 2016 and in 2017, and should have translated into an even stronger position in 2018 but the ‘inclusion’ items stated above got in the way.  We are okay with that as our results continue to speak for themselves: Gartner’s recent report showed that ClearStory Data received top scores for business benefits; Gartner analysts continue to field inquiries and make recommendations for ClearStory; and we keep winning big enterprise customers and delivering material business impact. That’s what Business Leaders should pay attention to and they should also do just what Gartner says, which is to ‘evaluate the product first-hand’.

When it comes to appreciating the value of a smart machine, the Tesla strategy has proven, it’s not how it looks, it’s not the brochure, it’s not the Tweets, or the advertising, it’s simply getting a consumer to open the door, get behind the wheel, and drive it. Experiencing the immense pleasure and smarts of the Tesla is what causes everyone to buy. And that’s where we are in the evolution of the BI and Data Analytics market; it’s not about ‘Form’, it’s about ‘Function’ and a buyer’s first-hand experience.

We are excited about our trajectory and continue to march full steam ahead, with proven customer business value felt across every single Fortune 2000 company and Mid-Size Enterprise using ClearStory. And in our mission of technology greatness aimed at Business Impact, this week we unveil another innovation to speed Business Analytics across complex data.

If you’re attending the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Grapevine, Texas this week come hear from a  multi-billion dollar company on how ClearStory has delivered business impact in record time and see it at our booth. If you’re not at the event, see a demo of ClearStory Data’s Business Analytics solution and machine-driven smarts, or better yet, get behind the wheel and drive it.