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What it Takes to be a Challenger in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant - Our Opinion

By
Yegor Kuznetsov
August 11, 2020
*This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document

Recently, Gartner released the 2020 version of their Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks Report. In the report, TrueCommerce was recognized as a Challenger. For us, it’s a huge accomplishment and we would like to share our experience, explaining what it takes to become a challenger.  

Multienteprise Supply Chain Business Networks

First things first: what is a multienterprise supply chain business network (MSCBN)? This industry term has been around for more than a decade but has come to the forefront of the supply chain industry in the last few years.  

MSCBN’s evolved out of the concept of Integration Brokerages. Integration brokers traditionally manage point-to-point interactions between applications, such as EDI software and ERP/accounting systems. However, as supply chains became increasingly large and complex, businesses needed a more connected, more supported solution, which could bring together disparate systems, channels and partners via one platform. 

The result was the creation of MSCBNs. According to Gartner, “Multienterprise supply chain business networks support a community of trading partners that need to work and communicate/collaborate on business processes that extend across multiple enterprises, with an end-to-end / shared focus.” 

To put it in simpler terms, MSCBNs use integration technology to connect demand channels such as eCommerce, retailers, and online marketplaces, with internal systems, and then again with trading partners such as suppliers and 3PLs. By automating and facilitating data communication across a network of businesses, MSCBNs enable users to gain visibility and control across a wide array of supply chain processes. 

The Gartner Magic Quadrant

Gartner releases hundreds of Magic Quadrant reports per year, across a wide range of technology types and customer markets. The quadrant is graphically represented by a literal quadrant, where the vertical axis refers to a company’s “ability to execute”, and the horizontal axis refers to their “completeness of vision.” The four resultant quadrants represent the different recognition Gartner offers: Niche Players, Visionaries, Challengers, and Leaders. 

In our opinion, it’s important to note that Magic Quadrant classifications aren’t linear. For example, while a Leader may have a broad market appeal and large financial backing, a smaller Visionary company might offer more innovative technology such as machine learning software. Companies looking more closely at a vendor’s ability to execute may prefer a Challenger, while those in smaller industries might be more interested in Niche Players who’ve specialized in their area.  

Inclusion and Evaluation

Gartner Magic Quadrants are generally limited to 20 companies at most. The firm states, “Gartner uses, by default, an upper limit of 20 vendors to support the identification of the most relevant providers in a market.” Each vendor must meet multiple inclusion criteria for consideration. For example, the report writes, “To qualify for inclusion, vendors must have a holistic multienterprise software offering including capabilities in all of the following six categories.” The six categories are: 

  • Network Representation
  • Information Hub
  • Cross-Functions 
  • Business Process Categories (Core Supply Chain Apps) 
  • Collaboration 
  • Intelligence

Other inclusion criteria categories include the vendor’s offering platform, revenue and presence, scope, delivery model, deployments, new business growth and industry coverage. 

Vendors that qualify for inclusion are then assessed against a stringent set of evaluation criteria. The criteria fall under two broad categories: Ability to Execute, and Completeness of Vision; each criteria and sub criteria are specified and weighted in the report. 

For example, one of the Ability to Execute criteria with a “high” weighting is “Customer Experience.” Gartner writes, “An MESCBN vendor’s ability to use and exploit functionality to drive business value and provide a suitable customer experience is a critical element of a provider’s Ability to Execute.” Evaluation sub criteria for Customer Experience are: 

  • Overall customer satisfaction level of vendor references 
  • Likelihood of vendor references selecting the same vendor again 
  • Level of business benefit achieved by vendor references 
  • Growth of vendor’s client base 

Once all the vendors have been evaluated, they are placed on the Quadrant together, along with a full report that delves into the strengths and weaknesses of each company. Businesses can use this highly detailed report to get an unbiased view of prospective vendors, and better understand how they work. 

Becoming a Challenger

According to Gartner, “The critical characteristic of Challengers is that they have capable, proven and mature products, with numerous live customers, with an overall solid and well-recognized position in the marketplace.” So, what does it take to be a Challenger in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant? Let's look at four key areas where we believe TrueCommerce excelled to better understand why this classification is such a great accomplishment to us. 

Supply Chain Convergence Issue Resolution

For many businesses, the orchestration and synchronization of end-to-end business processes still poses a major barrier to meeting supply chain goals. TrueCommerce is addressing this issue with TrueCommerce Foundry, its flagship product. In its core sits the Integration Gateway with several spokes attached to it – Platform Services, Pillar Apps, Master Data, Platform Services, Platform Apps and Components. Foundry also offers modern architecture and a scalable deployment model. 

OmniChannel Connectivity

Another point is connectivity. At TrueCommerce, we understand that to compete in today’s markets, businesses need to manage multiple demand and supply channels. TrueCommerce challenges the conventional, rigid approach by being able to connect to EDI trading partners and networks, business systems, storefronts, marketplaces and services via a single, unified commerce network

Global Trading Network

In their report, Gartner notes that “Challengers’ offerings often support large and complex supply chains within global, cross-industry business networks.” For our part, TrueComerce’s global trading network connects more than 13,000 customers to more than 92,000 trading partners across various industries, plus more than 60 global carriers and 100 online marketplaces. Our offering is network-agnostic and provides interoperability with third-party networks as well as industry-specific networks. By creating this wide-reaching network, we empower our customers to truly do business in every direction. 

Excellent Customer Service

As we mentioned, the Customer Experience is a highly weighted component under Gartner’s Ability to Execute criteria category. At TrueCommerce, we believe we provide a sales, onboarding and service model few in the industry can match. We’re proud to say that our reviews on Gartner’s Peer Insights platform reflect this view: as of July 27, 2020, we’ve received 4.6/5 stars for service and support, specifically (based on 34 reviews). 

Final Thoughts

We think that being named a Challenger in the Gartner Magic Quadrant reflects the solution and service values we strive to provide for our customers. It also fuels our desire to keep pushing and growing along with our ever-changing market. That's why we focus on continuous innovation, user-friendly interfaces and stellar service: so our customers are more connected, more supported, and more prepared for what’s next. 

Want to read the report for yourself? Download a copy now!

About the Author: Yegor Kuznetsov is a former international news agency editor and a marketing communications veteran who loves telling customer success stories. Over the last 20 years, he has been working for an array of dynamic technology companies, most recently with TrueCommerce, a global provider of trading partner connectivity, integration and unified commerce solutions.

*This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. 

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.