An Objective Review of yet another Abstruse Gartner Report

by Alyssa Brennan

On July 24, 2018, Gartner released a Magic Quadrant report for Cloud Financial Planning and Analysis Solutions, which included an analysis across vendors with cloud only solutions and legacy on-premise solution vendors with new cloud solution offerings.

Gartner conducted a survey across organisations of various sizes and industries around the globe asking the organisations to evaluate the vendors on the 11 categories below.

Figure 1 - The 11 Ranking Categories

Gartner Categories

In addition to the data collected from the surveys, Gartner, Inc. also gathered information from “interactions with cloud FP&A customers, Gartner Peer Insights feedback, and other sources” (Christiopher Iervolino (Research Director) & John E. Van Decker (Research VP), 2018). This information was used to rank the top 16 vendors across ‘Ability to Execute’ and ‘Completeness of Vision’. The results are then used to develop the magic quadrant.

Also included in Gartner’s report is commentary around each vendor that provides an overview of the vendor and elaborates on strengths and cautions. It is within the commentary where information is provided on the scores for each of the 11 categories as vendors are stated to have been rated ‘above average’ or ‘below average’ in a specified number of categories; however, this is also where things get a little ambiguous in the report.

I ran an analysis on the commentary from Gartner’s report applicable to the metrics outlined in their report. The following assumptions have been made in creating the diagram based on these 11 metrics:

  • It is assumed any number of rankings not listed as ‘above average’ or ‘below average’ are ‘average’
  • Gartner’s ranking for Prophix is the only unclear rating stating, ‘above average or average in 9 of the 11 categories,’ and is it assumed that 5 categories are ‘above average’. It is unclear if this assumption is favourable or unfavourable.

A net score has been calculated by applying a +1 for each ‘above average’ rating, a -1 has been awarded for each ‘below average’ rating and a 0 is given for average ratings to compute a total rank across the 11 categories for each vendor, and the totals are shown below.

Gartner review

What the report doesn’t explain in clear terms are:

  1. Why is it that 2 vendors with below average ratings in 11 or 10 categories remain as leaders in the top right of the Magic Quadrant?
  2. Why is it that none of the 4 vendors which scored above average in 11 or 10 of the categories are not in the leader quadrant?

It is important to note that Gartner’s method for ranking is not necessarily in line with priorities of every business (Gartner does recognise this). Unfortunately for those organisations currently evaluating cloud FP&A Solutions, this report raises more questions than it answers due to the contradicting commentary on the 11 metrics.  Gartner does not provide the data used for their analysis nor the algorithm applied to derive their rankings, which means prospective customers would struggle to draw accurate conclusions from the information provided. 

I believe a research company ought to be more transparent. Some folks within the tech industry speculate that Gartner has favourites or operates on a “Pay to Play” basis. It’s not my place to make accusations; however, I will call upon Gartner to #DiscloseTheData to really help organisations interpret the recommendations outlined within their report. 

Your Performance Management journey involves more than just technology. Although technology is a key ingredient to success, your data, processes and people are all equally as important. Finance needs to take ownership of the process integrity rather than just focusing on the intended  outcome.  The journey to business engagement can be confronting with many challenges. Accountability for managing the internal change and moments of resistance mean due diligence in selecting your business partner is as vital as selecting the technology itself.

To get a more transparent view on a vendor’s capabilities,  prospective organisations should consider objective and balanced advice from trusted advisors who demonstrate the desire and investment to “understanding your business”. The most common risks causing project failure are often not due to (or solved by) technology, its often about the corporate culture and users adopting the new solution. 

About Tridant: Tridant choses to work with leading technology vendors in our chosen technology segments. Six of our current nine vendors are recognised as leaders by Gartner covering various forms of Analytics.  We blend these relationships to help solve analytical challenges for our customers.  Our business is structured to help you “Prepare”, “Implement” and “Adopt” data driven solutions to driver better performance.

If you’re looking to take the first step in your Performance Management journey click:

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Alyssa Brennan

Alyssa Brennan

Alyssa is a Practice Lead for Performance Management at Tridant. She has 6+ years experience with leading Corporate Performance Management tools and insights on how those tools are leveraged within various industries. She serves as an unbiassed advisor for financial performance management.

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