Is Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Really Magic? Part 2

… The history of NAC put into perspective
Here’s a quick chart of Cisco’s magic quadrant “leaders” for NAC since it was first conceived.

Year Leaders (in order)
2008 Cisco (Clean Access), Bradford
2009 Cisco (NAC), Juniper
20010 Cisco (NAC), Juniper
2011 Cisco (ISE), Juniper, Forescout
2012 Cisco (ISE), Forescout
2013 Cisco (ISE), Forescout

What’s interesting to me is that two components of Gartner’s evaluation of vendors are what they call “Ability to Execute” and “Completeness of Vision”. The criteria for “Completeness of Vision” includes:

Ability of the vendor to understand buyers’ needs and translate these needs into NAC products.
An evaluation of the vendor’s strategic product direction and its road map for NAC.
As we observe above, Cisco has changed its product offering in the NAC space every two years or so. And if vendors have a completeness of vision, how is it that they move around in the quadrants so rapidly? I wonder how Gartner, in retrospect, grades their own ability to accurately assess vendors’ “abilities” & “vision”.

I know that lots of time & effort goes into Gartner’s research, and by no means am I finding fault in everything in the report referenced here. Nor am I not insinuating that Gartner’s magic quadrants are “available to the highest bidder” as I’ve heard bantered about on more than one occasion. I simply want to raise the questions that help us put Gartner’s research reports into a bigger perspective that doesn’t get portrayed in the press releases that the recommended vendors publish after Gartner’s issues their reports.

Leave a Comment