Gartner and the Magic Quadrants – Crowning the Leaders of Enterprise Search

For years Gartner, the research and advisory company, has been publishing their magic quadrants – and their verdict of everything from ECM-systems to Data Warehouse and E-commerce plays a big role in many company’s decision to choose the right tools.
Simply put, the vendors are presented in a matrix measuring the different players by ability to execute (product, overall viability, customer experience etc.) and the completeness of their vision (offering strategy, innovation etc.). The vendors are then positioned as niche players (a rather crowded spot), visionaries, challengers and leaders.

At the end of last year Gartner decided to retire their old “Information Access Quadrant” (Enterprise Search Quadrant) and introduce “Enterprise Search MarketScope” due to a more mature market. A number of vendors (such as Vivisimo and Recommind) were removed, in order to exclude those whose businesses were not entirely search driven.

The evaluation criteria’s for MarketScope cover: offering (product) strategy, Innovation, Overall viability (business unit, financial, strategy, and organization), Customer experience, Market understanding and business model.

To summarize: the criteria’s are to a large extent the same, but the two areas “overall viability” and “customer experience” are weighted higher than the rest. This is most likely a result of the last years discussion around user friendly interfaces, easier administration and the fact that some customers have suffered quite bad when vendors do not survive (one example in Northen Europe is the Danish vendor that went bankrupted for some time)

The yearly fight between the three leaders; Microsoft, Endeca and Autonomy has been somewhat disrupted and Microsoft, Endeca and Google are now seen as the leaders.
Microsoft has got a very broad product line, which stretches from low-price and less functionality to Enterprise Search built on the former FAST technology. Endeca follow the same trend, as Gartner puts it their “products (are) intended to serve organizations seeking to develop general search installations..(..) broadly applicable for a variety of different search challenges”.

In the old quadrant, Google remained a “challenger” for quite some time – but never made it to the “leaders” corner. Ease of administration and “user friendly” are two words that keeps being repeated. That, in combination with a profit of $ 7290000000 during the last quarter of 2010 makes Google a player that easily can continue to develop their Enterprise business.

Gartner’s MarketScope for Enterprise Search

Autonomy should still not be disregarded, the main reason for it falling a bit behind the three others seem to be conquerable problems with support and pricing transparency. It will be interesting to see how Autonomy chooses to handle these issues during 2011.

To put it short: the new MarketScope is good reading with quite few surprises. If you wish to get a better understanding of the development going on at the different vendors, start with Gartner and continue to search among our blog posts.

3 thoughts on “Gartner and the Magic Quadrants – Crowning the Leaders of Enterprise Search

  1. It seems that one of the most obvious search engines is missing. Solr is the most downloaded open source search engine, and it powers some pretty well-known sites such as Zappos and the United States Library of Congress.

    To ignore Solr is to turn a blind eye to the trend of adoption, much like ignoring Linux or Apache. I notice that Gartner includes only pay-for-license search providers; could this be because of a pay-to-play model at Gartner?

    I daresay that users of the major search engines listed above (Microsoft nee FAST, Endeca, GSE, etc.) will point to weaknesses of Solr and users of Solr will point of weaknesses of the other engines. That is not the point of my comment. The point, though, is to note how a widely adopted, extremely powerful search engine, Solr, is inexplicably missing from the evaluation and reflects a gaping blind spot in the analytical prowess of Gartner. Simply making a hand wave over Solr and Lucene for unspecified reasons beyond “did not meet at least one criterion” is fallacious and pretending that the elephant is not in the room.

  2. Hello Jason!
    I do agree with you! I hope you did not misunderstand the blog, I was merely summarizing the Gartner report. We are working quite a lot with Solr and have even made contributions to the Apache project.
    So far, Findwise, has implemented more than 20 Solr projects and have many more in the pipeline.
    ..and as you say, it is quite obvious that Gartner chooses to somewhat diminish the open source community, which is really sad. It will be interesting to see if the next years Enterprise Search MarketScope chooses to comment this.

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