ZL Technologies Fails to Get 'Enterprise Software Seal of Approval'

Dennis Byron

I bought my wife a subscription to Good Housekeeping for Christmas last year. This was not a comment on her housekeeping skills, which are massive. She asked me to give her the magazine for Christmas.

 

I am telling you this because into my inbox today, within an hour of each other, came two e-mails.

  • One e-mail asked if I wanted to renew my wife's subscription this Christmastime so that she could continue to get the benefits of knowing which housekeeping products and services deserve the "Good Housekeeping seal of approval."
  • The other e-mail informed me that an e-mail-archive-management software company called ZL Technologies of San Jose had sued Gartner because Gartner dissed ZL in its e-mail-archive-management-software Magic Quadrant (MQ), the "Good Housekeeping seal of approval" of the enterprise software market.

 

The second e-mail actually came from IT Business Edge editor and blogger Kachina Shaw, not directly from ZL. Kachina asked me if I had ever heard of anyone doing that to Gartner before. Based on my 20 years of industry-analyst experience with McGraw-Hill and IDC, I answered her with some straight background information I was aware of.

 

If you follow my blog regularly, you know what I think of Magic Quadrants. This July 2009 blog post (seeWhere Does Your Enterprise Software Fit in the Magic Quadrant? spells it out and there are also feature articles such as IT Research Firms' Focus, Resources Vary Widely . Based on almost 40 years of statistically significant research - which Gartner specifically says the MQs are not - I know that IT users like you buy software for its functionality, not because it scored as a visionary instead of a niche player on some PowerPoint slide.

 

But ZL's complaint appears to be a little different than the usual pay-to-play complaint I wrote about last July. The legal paperwork implies that ZL paid (although that is not clear), got to play, and didn't like the way the game turned out. ZL supposedly got marked down because of poor sales and marketing, according to ZL.


 

I would say Gartner got that right. My answer to Kachina should have been:

 

"Does anyone sue Good Housekeeping because it did not get the magazine's seal of approval?"

 

On the other hand, if the purpose of the lawsuit was simply publicity, ZL's a winner, at least on this Web site. Ann All also blogged on the subject (see Credibility of Gartner's Magic Quadrant Questioned in Lawsuit.



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