Breaking Down Gartner’s Magic Quadrants

by | Sep 19, 2019 | Business Intelligence, Financial Planning & Analysis, Reporting | 0 comments

You’ve caught up on the cheat sheet for Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Cloud Financial Planning and Analysis Solutions” report but still have questions. Namely, what are the four quadrants anyway? Here, we break down each definition in terms of ability to execute and completeness of vision, as well as provide a list of business intelligence tools that fall under each category. From there, you can decide which route to go.


With a strong ability to execute, Challengers tend to be large vendors in mature markets that choose to minimize risk or avoid disruption. Challengers may have the size and financial resources, their vision, innovation or an overall understanding of market needs may not be proportionate. The products offered by Challengers tend to dominate a large yet shrinking segment of the market. “Challengers can become Leaders if their vision develops,” according to Gartner. “Over time, large companies may move between the Challengers and Leaders quadrants as their product cycles and market needs shift.”

Challenger vendors: Workiva, Kaufman Hall (Axiom Software)


The aptly named Leaders are often the frontrunners when it comes to meeting market demand and demonstrating a level of sustainability as the market evolves. Most importantly, they are the ones paving the way for the industry by focusing on and investing in their offerings, so these vendors are the ones to keep an eye on. With financial strength, Leaders typically have a higher number of customers and a proportionate number of satisfied customers relative to the size of the market while enjoying high visibility within the market. “Leaders typically respond to a wide market audience by supporting broad market requirements,” the report states. “However, they may fail to meet the specific needs of vertical markets or other, more specialized segments.”

Leader vendors: Oracle, Workday (Adaptive Insights), Anaplan, Host Analytics

Niche Players

Niche Players aim their focus on a specific segment within a market in terms of functionality or region for new entrants. In addition to limited implementation and support capabilities and relatively limited customer bases, remaining relevant can be an issue; however, Niche Players typically have reasonably broad functionality. For better or worse, Niche Players vary in terms of execution and vision. According to the report, “A Niche Player may be perfect for your requirements. However, even if you like what a Niche Player offers, if it runs contrary to the direction of the market, it may be a risky choice, as its long-term viability will be threatened.” 

Niche Player vendors: Jedox, Kepion


While Visionaries have their pulses on market evolution, their ability to execute can be called into question, especially in growing markets. However, in more mature markets, Visionaries can be competitive and have the ability to stand out, depending on the size of the vendor. Because Visionaries tend to introduce new technology, services or business models, they can be considered high risk/high reward. “Whether Visionaries become Challengers or Leaders may depend on whether customers accept new technologies or whether the vendors can develop partnerships that complement their strengths. Visionaries are sometimes attractive acquisition targets for Leaders and Challengers,” Gartner reports.

Visionary vendors: CCH Tagetik, IBM, OneStream Software, Board International, Vena Solutions, SAP, Prophix 

More Articles from G7

4 Tips for Making Your Month-End Reports Easier

These days, companies are under more pressure than ever to finish their month-end...

How Can Employee User Interfaces Increase Morale and Profits?

Employees rely on various tools and applications as part of their everyday life at work....

Measuring the ROI of a Data Analysis Project? Read this FIRST!

When you invest in a piece of machinery, like a heating system, calculating your ROI is...

David or Goliath? How to Pick a Data Systems Partner

If you’re looking for a new data analysis solution, you probably have prestigious names on your...

Acquiring BOARD International – What We Want Nordic Capital to Know

A few high-profile acquisitions in the business intelligence software space have made the news...

Women in Tech – Hear Us Roar

A leader in the BI industry recently dismissed my opinion on BI software almost entirely because I...

One Version of the Truth: Does Your Financial Process Cause Confusion or Clarity?

Bad data has become the "fake news" of the financial world. The accuracy of your data isn't solely...

Look at Your Project Management before You Build Your BI Tool

When talking about data, it's easy to forget that time is money. An often-overlooked question that...

What Systems Do We Need to Invest in to Stay Competitive in the Data Game?

Analyzing and cleaning data is not a linear process. Even with all the different stages that data...

5 Signs It’s Time to Break Up with Your Current Data Analytics

Not all data analytics systems are created equal. But sometimes it's not easy to find the time or...

Which quadrant is the best fit for your company?

Which quadrant is the best fit for your company? Contact us to find out.

Share This