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Top Right

The transparency afforded by the Internet is, in some ways, a wonderful thing. Easy access to free information means we can often tell if we’re getting a good deal or if someone is pulling the wool over our eyes. Fact and price checking is a often a quick and simple process with a little search engine magic and maybe a few phone calls.

I’m always reminded of this when I see Gartner Magic Quadrants. During countless sales presentations the obligatory Gartner Magic Quadrant has been a staple for corporate, product and service credibility. Why ? Gartner are good at this, their armies of very smart analysts who really know their onions, make intelligent, impartial analyses and recommendations. Top right in a Gartner Quadrant probably means a sharp spike in sales as corporate buyers see the vendor as a safe bet. That means they have a good defense if the project goes horribly wrong.

I used to work with a salesperson who freely admitted to moving the dots on Gartner Quadrants for sales presentations. If his employers weren’t top right, they soon would. This was many years ago when we had far less transparency and fewer organizations had Gartner subscriptions. He told me it made a big difference to his sales and therefore commission.

Gartner Magic Quadrants are now generally licensed by someone and easily obtainable online. It’s therefore harder to get away with moving dots into the top-right quadrant.

Salesforce have just published Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant on Platform as a Service (PaaS). It’s free to download and available here. If you’re investing or just interested in the market it’s a good read. Salesforce and Microsoft get the coveted top right leaders quadrant with a pack from Appian to Zoho elsewhere. All services have good summary descriptions with an explanation of strengths and weaknesses. Gartner define PaaS as;

“Platform as a service (PaaS) is defined as application infrastructure functionality enriched with cloud characteristics and offered as a service. Application platform as a service (aPaaS) is a PaaS offering that supports application development, deployment and execution in the cloud, encapsulating resources such as infrastructure and including services such as those for data management and user interfaces.

An aPaaS offering that is designed to support the enterprise style of applications and application projects (high availability, disaster recovery, external service access, security and technical support) is enterprise aPaaS.

This market includes only companies that provide public aPaaS offerings. Gartner identifies two classes of aPaaS: high-control, typically third-generation language (3GL)-based and used by IT departments for sophisticated applications such as microservice-based applications; and high-productivity, typically model-driven and used either by IT or citizen developers for standardized application patterns such as those focused on data collection and access. Vendors providing only aPaaS-enabling software without the associated cloud service — cloud-enabled application platforms — are not considered in this Magic Quadrant.”

As much as our clients, we make significant investments in technology. In fact we literally bet our business on the technical choices we make. When we advise a client which direction to go we’ve generally invested far more so the relative risks and consequences effect us much more. I’d like to say that we don’t need Gartner to tell us which direction to go but it sure helps us sleep a lot better. PaaS means we can build, test and deploy business process solutions far quicker with greater integrity. For a company that’s knee-deep in Agile Methodologies that makes a huge difference to us and hopefully a huge difference to our clients bottom lines.

If you want to understand more about how Gartner Magic Quadrants work they explain it here, put briefly in their words;

“Which are the competing players in the major technology markets? How are they positioned to help you over the long haul? A Gartner Magic Quadrant is a 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 you quickly ascertain how well technology providers are executing their stated visions and how well they are performing against Gartner’s market view.”

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