The single most important thing to keep in mind when using Magic Quadrants in your vendor selection process is that they are written for the Gartner client base. Gartner's 11,000 clients are the largest organizations in the world and Gartner acknowledges that 80 percent of them are late-adaptors. They are much more likely to buy from HP, IBM, or Oracle than from a start-up with the most cutting-edge solution. If your organization could also be classified as a late adaptor you are probably going to buy a product in the upper half of the MQ. If your IT decisions are more future-forward you will be looking at Visionaries and even Niche vendors.
Treat the Magic Quadrant as a valuable tool but not as a crutch. Mandates like "we only buy from MQ Leaders" will not serve you well. Perhaps Gideon Gartner's original concept has withstood the test of time. Treat the Magic Quadrant as a Stalking Horse: a starting place, not an end.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.