As the enterprise mobile app market continues to expand, so does the choice of mobile application development platforms (MADP). Since 2012, Gartner includes MADP in its Magic Quadrant research – a culmination of market analysis aiming to provide an overall view of the key competitors in each solution market. And while The Magic Quadrant may sound like a really cool movie title, it is not. Rather, it is a riddle that marketers, technology vendors, and solution buyers struggle with constantly as they compete for business and make strategic purchasing decisions.
A Useful Tool or a Marketing Gimmick?
Dividing the solution landscape into four types of players (leaders, visionaries, niche players, and challengers), Gartner MADP Magic Quadrant is aimed at mapping the key strengths of major mobile app development platforms. IT managers use the Quadrant to short-list vendors. Vendors, on the other hand, compete for the desirable place on the Quadrant in order to promote their brand. However, many criticize Gartner’s method, claiming that the Quadrant is only “magic” for Gartner itself.
- Vendors invest in “face time” with Gartner in exchange for advice on how to adjust their marketing and documentation in order to appear higher on the Quadrant.
- Buyers pay to gain access to the reports.
- Vendors pay to be able to distribute the reports.
- MBA programs teach from the Magic Quadrant and build an army of people who then pay to use and recommend the research to other companies.
Whether Gartner’s construct is objective or not, it should be used with caution. Being on the coveted upper-right side of the Quadrant does not automatically make a solution the best choice for the customer. As Richard Stiennon of CIO.com warns,
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 adopters. They are much more likely to buy from HP, IBM, or Oracle than from a start-up with the most cutting-edge solution.
Making Sense of the Gartner MADP Magic Quadrant
Judging from this year’s magic quadrant, Gartner’s obvious premise is that MADP products are inherently developer tools. For enterprise late adopters, such an approach may appear reasonable as they traditionally see mobile app development as an IT job.
However, more and more organizations are realizing that bringing mobile app development closer to the stakeholder might be a better and more efficient solution. Marketers and other line-of-business managers know their mobile needs – and their end-users’ needs – best. Empowering them to deliver customized mobile applications quickly bypassing the IT is a new paradigm that could transform enterprise mobility.
MobileSmith is a disruptive technology that provides just such a capability. On the Magic Quadrant, it would be way outside the current paradigm.
Mobile App Development – Without the “Development”
We believe that having your IT develop mobile apps for the general marketplace isn’t necessarily the best solution, whatever platform they may be using. The scenario of handing your great ideas over to an IT resource or a hired development team may result in the loss of time, money, and competitive advantage in your market. Moreover, the brilliance of your original idea is often “lost in translation” during implementation, and you end up with an inefficient, inflexible app.
Instead, empowering your creative and line-of-business teams with flexible tools is where you can truly meet the demands of your customers and workforce. MobileSmith brings the power to quickly prototype, polish, and build full-featured native applications for major platforms directly into the hands of the stakeholder.
The time for line-of-business and marketers to take control over application development is here. We hope, eventually, Gartner will catch on.