What is the Gartner Magic Quadrant and how it will help shape your 2023 strategy

update notice:
The information in this blog post has been updated on October 31, 2022.

Deciding how to best invest your limited budget for the year is a complex issue. Putting the right investment behind technologies that support and drive your strategic business plans is no small task. Getting it right is a complex equation that brings together people, processes, and products in the right mix to power your organization’s success. 

With ransomware and business continuity staying top of mind for 2023, the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions is an excellent resource to accelerate your data protection decision making that will shape not only your next year, but the years to come.

About the Gartner Magic Quadrant

Gartner has been in the business of helping enterprises make smarter and faster decisions for more than 40 years with tools like their trademark Gartner Magic Quadrant. Mention “the MQ” to anyone in IT and they know exactly what you are talking about. In the spirit of full disclosure, I spent 13 wonderful years at Gartner, as the lead author of the Gartner Backup and Recovery Magic Quadrant and other initiatives, and as far as I know, I’m the only person in the world that has been involved with this specific MQ for all 23 years of its existence, either as a vendor or lead author.

What is the Gartner Magic Quadrant? 

Like other Gartner Magic Quadrant reports, the Enterprise Backup and Recovery version is a graphical presentation of a company’s Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute their vision compared to market standards and other technologies in a defined market.

Most often released on a generally predicable 12-month cycle, the Magic Quadrant plots technology companies relative to other major players in a defined technology space. It is worth noting that a Magic Quadrant is not a product evaluation or recommendation, but rather an analysis of vendors against stated evaluation criteria.

As such, vendors may be added or dropped from the mix as the market’s customer needs and trends change year to year. Keeping one’s place in the MQ, especially those in the Leader quadrant, is a testament to endless market awareness… and a lot of hard work.

How the Magic Quadrant works

So here is how it works. Vendors are considered for inclusion/exclusion based on several market positioning factors, including revenue, enterprise customer focus, core capabilities, etc. From there, each vendor is evaluated on specific, weighted criteria that helps Gartner measure vendors’:

  • Ability to execute
  • Completeness of vision

From there, your place as a vendor on the matrix is determined. Now understand, I just terribly simplified the process that stretches over the course of almost half a year. The work and due diligence that Gartner, and the participating vendors deliver to ensure an accurate Magic Quadrant is nothing short of colossal. Believe me, I’ve been on both ends of the effort, and each side is demanding.

What are the 4 quadrants Gartner identifies?

The Magic Quadrant is comprised of four spaces (but let’s call them quadrants) that a company can fall into: Niche Players, Challengers, Visionaries, and Leaders. Each of these quadrants say something different about a company’s role in their industry at the time of analysis. 

The report provides a detailed definition of requirement for each of the quadrants, but in general they are as follows:  

  • Niche Players – A company in the Niche Players, the lower left quadrant, usually means the company focuses solely on specializing in a small section of the entire market and do not present a clear vision for expanding and executing more qualifiers. Note, Niche is not inherently “bad,” especially if your needs are very focused.
  • Visionaries – Moving to the lower right section of the chart we find the Visionaries. These companies have a clear view of where the market is heading or can see a way to reshape the perception of technology in a way that is innovative, but lack in the demonstration of those ideas today. 
  • Challengers – The upper left side of the chart is for the Challengers. These companies are well-structured and have orchestrated the ability to keep up with today’s standards but tend to fall short in the vision to deliver what customers will demand in the future. 
  • Leaders – In the upper right, we find the Leaders quadrant. These companies have demonstrated the ability to execute today’s standards and have demonstrated past success along with clear roadmaps of the standards expected in the future.

Few people know the origin of the use of the word “Magic” in the Magic Quadrant methodology. Most vendors typically follow a backward ‘Z’ progression, entering the quadrant in Niche (lower left), improving their solution, moving to Visionary (lower right), next improving business operations, such as partnership and support to move into Challengers (upper left), and then, if a vendor sustains success across both axes, the provider moves to Leader (upper right). The “magic” would be if a vendor could enter the Leader quadrant without having to traverse the other three quadrants. Veeam was the first vendor, not just in this Magic Quadrant, but in every storage MQ in history to achieve the “magic,” first entering the MQ as a Visionary, and then moving straight up into the Leader quadrant. 

So, what do you do with a Gartner Magic Quadrant? 

Well for one, you don’t run out and buy based solely on what you see. But it is a great indicator as to who you should shortlist for evaluation. The report’s write up includes both a synopsis of Gartner’s evaluation of each vendor and a short bullet list of each vendor’s Strengths and Cautions. Both are “Good-to-Know” considerations as you begin your evaluation.

Of course, Gartner customers can engage with analyst experts for better insight and discussion to help match the vendor to what suits them best.

Does the Magic Quadrant matter? 

Absolutely. Gartner is one of the most respected analyst firms in the world. We know our customers care about who is in the Magic Quadrant Leaders square, our partners care, and I personally care.

How vendors are positioned relevant to one another is worth noting. But remember, that MQ graphic is based on Gartner’s evaluation criteria, at the time of analysis (typically one month prior to publication), which may not fully align to your organization’s needs.

Gartner has done great things for the industry. If you had to do this from scratch, well good luck. Gartner in a lot of ways set a high standard for a relevant, understandable analysis for what positions a data protection vendor among their competition and ahead of the pack. Veeam has been part of the Gartner Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions for the last nine evaluations. Veeam has been in the Leaders Quadrant for the last six years, now with the last three years being rated as the vendor with the highest ability to execute.

If you have not had a chance to integrate this input into your strategic planning, I invite you to take a closer look. Or better yet… ping me. We at Veeam would love to discuss how we can improve your recovery capabilities and cyber resilience.

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