Buh-bye DCIM Magic Quadrant!

This is old news already, but you may have read that Gartner “retired” the DCIM magic quadrant. It’s easy to bash Gartner for this on as it was such a mediocre effort one wouldn’t know where to begin. Let me try with the obvious one: they put CA on the “best quadrant” — in other words, they listed a vendor that appeared out of the blue and bought its way to the DCIM via an acquisition, only to exit the field abruptly the year after.

That quadrant rewards completeness of vision and ability to execute…some vision you have when just a year after acquiring a company to enter the DCIM sandbox, you decide to exit it. And, as I worked for CA in the past, I have seen their “ability to execute” on the integration of newly acquired software firsthand. Acquiring companies was always one of their favorite sports.

Why am I writing about this? Sour grapes that we weren’t included in the MQ and now I have a boo-boo in my heart? If you want to think so, that’s ok. We are employee-owned, profitable, have zero debt, grew 20% in 2017 and are on pace to grow 40% this year. We are doing just fine and we love to fly under the radar. 95% of our 200-odd organizations using our product would recommend it to others — so we really believe in the product doing the talking. Not some analyst that has never actually seen the tool.

To Gartner’s benefit, I wouldn’t have expected them to feature us in a million years. We are small and there are a lot of DCIM vendors. Gartner doesn’t have to look at every single one. I don’t hold some grudge against them for not placing us higher or in some specific quadrant or such. We were never there to begin with, so I can’t complain. Again, we see these things as marketing gimmicks and if we tried hard (and dug deeper into our pockets) I know we could be more visible in the analysts’ minds.

It is out of intellectual honesty that I am writing about this (and a bit of Schadenfreude), and I say: good riddance!

Gartner works like most analysts (and yes, we were approached by virtually all of them): they call you first, schmooze you into how interesting you are, then offer something that costs some serious dough. In every case, we said no to the various commercial offers they proposed.

Here’s what DCIM analysts do not do:

  • Real technical hands-on analysis of the tools with actual, neutral, side-by-side comparison of problem-solving features. Zero. In fact, I don’t think they have ever logged into anything.
  • Disclose the money received from the vendors they are rating.

What do they do? They analyze the DCIM vendors’ ability to execute in the marketplace over the tools themselves. I was told this, point blank, by a Gartner executive trying to lure me into one of their packages and I had to laugh. No technical analysis is done (and I am not talking about somebody from their staff installing the software and doing some testing). I am saying that we weren’t so much as asked about the most basic technical questions. You can parse our blogs for half an hour and end up with far more knowledge about our functionality. They never asked if we had done a survey. They never asked if any of our customers had returned our product. I mean, c’mon, isn’t this ‘quadrant’ (or any of these analysts reports) supposed to give some opinion or recommendation on which DCIM products are good?

Dear IT purchaser, do you really care how well-oiled the biz dev department of some IT vendor is…or do you want to know if the product performs and does what it says?

This whole thing may not be a pay-to-play scam, but I do have a serious problem that this quadrant and other analyst tools are used by IT decision makers to purchase.

Now, to be fair, the demise of DCIM MQ is not all on Gartner. They didn’t really know what DCIM was in part because us vendors muddied the water (after all, us vendors have defined DCIM 10 different ways , even modified the acronym to suit our narrative). When DCIM became this new thing in the world of enterprise IT management, analysts jumped on the bandwagon and created a lot of hype around it. A host of vendors followed suit and started popping up like mushrooms. Many late DCIM entrants, usually big players, modified something they had and offered some mammoth software, the result of a hodge-podge of acquisitions. All of the ‘rah-rah DCIM’ hype was, of course, followed by unclear and unrealistic expectations of what a DCIM software should do. This created a lot of confusion in the marketplace.

Conveniently enough, the same analysts that create this hype can supposedly offer you the magic pill to help you, poor customer, decide which vendor to choose, from the myriad of options out there.

Where does this all lead? I don’t know. Maybe the MQ for DCIM comes back, in some improved form, although I am not sure how that is possible if they don’t at least start analyzing the DCIM software packages themselves a little bit.

And to you, dear prospect: if you are on the hunt for a DCIM software the last place you want to look for advice is analysts. If you want to learn of a better way, read this.

Jan Durnhofer
Jan Durnhofer
As CEO / Product and Engineering Manager, Jan joined Graphical Networks with the purpose of creating the most advanced DCIM and IT visualization company in the market.

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