My friends at Horses for Sources are introducing their Blueprint which they position as “not reliant on the arbitrary viewpoint of a single analyst” as say a Gartner Magic Quadrant or a Forrester Wave.
I hope they do well with it, but there are some fundamental flaws with the MQ or Wave that I am not sure the Blueprint fixes.
a) Buyers intently look at such market assessments when they are in purchase mode. Once they move to implementation or steady state, their interest in the next MQ drops dramatically. I think that painful realization came to me in my 3rd year at Gartner.
b) In contrast vendors, especially their AR groups, intently follow each version of the MQ and lobby analysts and create a buzz around each version where they are favorably positioned.
c) Even in evaluation mode, the MQ or Wave is only one (small) influencer. Most buyers go through RFP responses, demos, reference checks, site visits, negotiations in their decision process. Many often find individual calls with the analyst who produced the MQ far more useful than the document itself.
d) In emerging or rapidly changing markets, the MQs and Waves are far more useful. So today, coverage of Digital Marketing or Cloud Infrastructure or Vertical BPO is far more useful than those on ERP or BI or Help Desk outsourcing.
e) Analysts in mature markets feel compelled to continue to update their MQs every few months and come up with nuanced versions by geography, industry or size of customer. That ends up with so many versions that I have seen, in competitive deals, proposals where surprise, surprise each competitor positioned their most “favorable MQ”.
So, while analysts put a lot of work into each MQ or Wave or Blueprint, their impact on actual industry commerce is actually pretty limited. Their impact on industry gossip, on the other hand, is huge!
(Cross-posted @ DealArchitect Full)