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ZL Technologies Sues Gartner over Archiving Magic Quadrant

Gartner's Magic Quadrant (MQ) for email archiving is not as scientific as Gartner would have you believe.

According to ZL Technologies Inc. v. Gartner Group Inc. and Carolyn DiCenzo, ZL Technologies makes allegations of defamation, trade libel, false or misleading advertising, unfair competition, and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage against Gartner and Carolyn DiCenzo. ZL Technologies seeks US$1.3B in punitive damages, $396M in damages, and other fees and charges.

You can see the actual suit document itself here. Among other things, it spells out problems with the archiving Magic Quadrant.

Since its inception, Gartner has consistently placed Symantec in the "Leader" quadrant of the MQ. Other archiving vendors such as ZL Technologies have for years struggled to get positive placement on the MQ. Getting placed in the Leader quadrant of the archiving MQ has become somewhat of a holy grail for archiving vendors, with Ms. DiCenzo the gatekeeper. In the suit, ZL outlines the many ways it has tried to convince Gartner that its technology is on par or superior to that of Symantec. According to the filing, "at the core of this action are not only the reckless statements made by Gartner as an influential member of the media, but an economic model championed by [Gartner] that elevates marketing puffery over serious technology."

Interestingly, Gartner's bio of Ms. DiCenzo suggests that she left Gartner in August. Whether her departure is connected with this case is unclear; she may have simply retired.

We fully recognize that at Ferris we, too, are analysts. That said, this case illustrates some important points:

  • Any analyst firm is simply expressing an opinion, hopefully an educated one.
  • No one knows the future. We can only make our best predictions, based on past experience.
  • Any analyst vendor rankings need to be transparent concerning the underlying data. How was a decision made, and why?
  • The link between monies spent by a vendor with the analyst, and how well the analyst evaluates the vendor and its products, should be minimal. Vendors commonly note that if they spend a day or two educating the Gartner analyst (and paying handsomely for the privilege), they often move to a better position in the MQ.
  • Gartner MQs profess to give a quick feeling for how well products compare, in terms of several key indicators, notably excellence of technology and market share. However, when you look closely at them, they don't really hold up. Given MQ parameters, some products need to appear at two points in the quadrant: Gartner shoehorns them into a single point.
  • Customers evaluating vendors should always look at the products themselves, and not rely solely on analyst opinion.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better in the analyst world. At Ferris we pride ourselves on years of cumulative and deep experience in the fields we cover, but we're far smaller than Gartner.

... David Ferris

(Comments?)

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About Ferris Research

Messaging. Collaboration. Compliance. Ferris Research analysts bring more experience in these areas than any other firm. Period.

Major areas of interest are email, spam and malware control, archiving, e-discovery, information leak prevention, unified communications, instant messaging, SharePoint, and mobile communications. We help:

  • IT staff evaluate, implement, and maintain these technologies
  • Vendors understand the marketplace and its technologies; explain their products or services to the marketplace; and find strategic partners, raise funds, or sell their company
  • Investors find and evaluate investment opportunities

We've been in business since 1990-longer than any other analyst firm in our field:

  • Clients include many of the world's largest organizations as well as computer vendors from major corporations to small startups.
  • We have published more than 200 formal reports and 1,100 short bulletins.
  • Our news service has approximately 10,000 readers and covers more than 2,000 highly specialized announcements annually.
  • Our research team shares many decades of experience in our core competencies.

In short, our technology and industry depth helps you understand today's products, where they've come from, where they're going, and their value.


Have news you want to share with us or product or interest area that you would like us to cover? Send press releases to releases@ferris.com.

Copyright © Ferris Research 2009.


 


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