Gartner's conservative mid-tier ERP Magic Quadrant

Gartner's conservative mid-tier ERP Magic Quadrant

Summary: 'Tis the season for round robins. On this occasion Frank Scavo pokes a sharp stick in the eye of Gartner's Mid-tier ERP Magic Quadrant.


'Tis the season for round robins. On this occasion Frank Scavo pokes a sharp stick in the eye of Gartner's Mid-tier ERP Magic Quadrant.

Vinnie Mirchandani goes next having a poke at his alma mater...Guess what? It's my turn:

First up let me say that in my opinion the quality of much analyst tech coverage is many levels below what it was in the 1995-2000 period. Yes, I know, that's when Vinnie was there but he was one among a clutch of titans who were fiercely independent and openly critical of vendor shortcomings. They were always in demand as interviewees. Today? The analyst community is more obsessed with sales and tin-cupping the vendors than worrying about report quality. Sorry guys and yes, I know a LOT of analysts at Gartner, AMR and Forrester who are good people but they end up playing second fiddle to the sales people. I also know a lot of super smart, fearless independent analysts. They are far more agile and incisive than Gartner et all and are growing in stature as the 'people to read.'

In my opinion, they ARE the future of buy side analysis. The vendors may find them inconvenient but isn't that always the way when you move away from the vendor marketing? Or as one ex-analyst told me this week in regard to Oracle: "They don't like to see people messing with the message." I'll bet they don't. Back to Gartner's MQ. My 2 cents worth:

  1. Gartner talked loosely about the saas vendors, even mentioning a few. But no concrete reason was given for exclusion. Why? It doesn't make sense given the fact Netsuite for example is a $100 million business vying for business in a number of manufacturing categories.
  2. Vinnie mentions Axapta AX in Europe. He is right though I would have liked to see some understanding of how Navision fits into this landscape. The reality is that Microsoft's acquired products: Solomon, Navision, Great Plains and Damgaard don't travel well. When they do, they travel inconsistently.
  3. JD Edwards a niche challenger? After all these years? What does that say about Oracle's investment in this company?
  4. Gartner says: "Challengers have broad and mature ERP systems" - it's the mature bit that gets me. SaaS players are constantly innovating. You can argue...and yes from an immature base offering. But I am finding that 'good enough' even if it is lacking, is often acceptable as the trade off for costly implementations that may deliver dubious value. I am surprised Gartner did not seem to pick up on this but then they are bound by a certain methodology. For Visionaries, it says: Visionaries might have compelling product strategies, but they lack the market momentum or have limited market presence to move higher in their ability to execute." The speed and pace of innovation is such that there is a blurring of the lines between visionaries and challengers. Again, Gartner methodology has not 'grown up' to reflect the new market reality.
  5. The inclusion of SAP Business All In One is an odd choice. This was in the crapper a few years ago and while there have been significant improvements, I would hardly say it has reached the point of nudging the coveted top right section of Gartners MQ. After all, it is almost an after thought at SAP customer conferences. And it's eye wateringly expensive.

It's certainly worth mentioning Frank's:

As a buyer, is "completeness of vision" really one of the two primary criteria in evaluation? How about fit to my functional requirements and industry? On this note alone, IFS and Lawson, with their industry-specific focus are being shortchanged in this version of the MQ.

Frank's comment fits well with my thinking about the saas players. 'Fit for business' is one of their key advantages, even when they market under a more generic banner. This section of the industry has understood vertical market value far more quickly than the incumbents.

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Topics: Enterprise Software, CXO, IT Priorities

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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  • SAP Business All-in-One

    I take serious exception to your comments about SAP Business All-in-One. While you?re obviously entitled to your opinion, these comments are misleading and factually inaccurate. On what do you base your comment about where Business All-in-One was a few years ago? Our partners and customers certainly disagree and we?d be more than happy to introduce you to some of them to set the record straight. More concerning is your comment about cost. I invite you to take another look at the Business All-in-One fast-start program, and specifically to the solution configurator: You?ll see that not only is the solution priced very competitively, this associated quote includes hardware and deployment costs. Add to that typical deployment times we?re seeing of 8-16 weeks ? SAP Business All-in-One customers enjoy a very cost-effective solution with robust, industry-specific capabilities tailored to their needs -- with very fast time to value and very competitive TCO.

    And in terms of visibility at SAP conferences, it?s too bad you weren?t able to join us at SAPPHIRE this year ? you would have seen SAP Business All-in-One prominently featured throughout the show, including customers openly sharing their experiences. I encourage you to take a look at SAPPHIRE online:, and especially the customer sessions. If you?ll invest the time, I believe you?ll be far better educated about what SAP Business All-in-One has to offer.
    Jeff Stiles
    • how is that inexpensive?

      Jeff, I think Dennis is commenting on why Gartner chose to include All-in-one but not Business One or BusinessByDesign in its MQ.

      In terms of your configurator, I commended it last year below as taking some of the mystery out of ERP pricing, but compared to SaaS the pricing is still uncompetitive
  • RE: Gartner's conservative mid-tier ERP Magic Quadrant

    Be sure to check out some of the great <a
    target="_blank">ERP Solutions</a> over at Compare Tech
  • RE: Gartner's conservative mid-tier ERP Magic Quadrant


    I think Gartner still has plenty of analysts who are
    fiercely independent and critical of vendor
    shortcomings. That has not changed in my view. We
    will have to agree to disagree on that point. There
    are a lot of smart people out there and customers will
    always seek out those who have knowledge and
    perspective. The internet makes them easier to find.

    A MQ is a view of a specific market. The results of a
    Global MQ would be different from US or a Euro-
    specific MQ. That is why I made the point in my post
    about the importance of analyst inquiry. That is what
    our clients use to get advice tailored to their
    specific needs.

    One thing that I did not address in my post is
    inclusion criteria. Each MQ has a specific set of
    inclusion criteria. So, sometimes interesting,
    emerging vendors do not get evaluated because they do
    not meet the criteria. This specific MQ does have a
    discussion of the impact of SaaS (there is also a link
    to other research specifically on SaaS and ERP).
  • RE: Gartner's conservative mid-tier ERP Magic Quadrant

    Gartner?s Magic Quadrant is lacking in variety and doesn?t present a complete picture of the ERP options available to business enterprises. Its selective criteria effectively eliminates many of the ERP solutions that provide competitive alternatives to Microsoft?s Dynamic AX and others mentioned by Gartner such as NetSuite or Plex Systems.