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How to Use Gartner’s Cloud Computing Magic Quadrant and Critical Capabilities Reports

Gartner-Critical-CapabilitiesGartner is one of the biggest voices in enterprise technology— they’re generally the first source consulted when it comes to evaluating enterprise IT solutions, and enterprise cloud apps, platforms, and infrastructure are no exception. But while the Gartner’s Cloud-related Magic Quadrants are a great way to find out who the top enterprise cloud contenders are, they don’t give particularly in-depth analyses behind what each cloud solution offers and how they perform across different industries.

There are a few other Gartner resources out there that act as companions to the Magic Quadrant, one of them being Gartner’s Critical Capabilities reports. The Gartner Critical Capabilities reports are relatively new, but they offer a more nuanced look at where these solutions excel and where some fall out of contention.

While the Magic quadrant is great for identifying which vendor is on top in terms of market share and generalized capabilities, the Critical Capabilities Report give a more definitive take on who’s on top consistently and why they are there.

Gartner defines Critical capabilities as “attributes that differentiate products/services in a class in terms of their quality and performance.” For public cloud infrastructure, that means VM availability, architecture flexibility, security and compliance, user management, enterprise integration, automation and DevOps enablement, scalability, and big data enablement. Critical capabilities are  judged across four use cases: application development, batch computing, cloud-native applications, and general business applications.

Gartner rates each vendor’s product or service on a five-point (five points being best) scale in terms of how well it delivers each capability.

Critical Capabilities reports include comparison graphs for each use case, along with in-depth descriptions of each solution based on the various points of comparison.

Additionally, buyers looking for a straight forward, side-by-side look at what each solution provides should check out the new 2016 Solutions Review Cloud Platforms Buyer’s Guide to get a little more background information on today’s top 24 cloud service providers (CSPs).

I advise starting with the Magic Quadrant to make a shortlist of the top-ranked solutions in mind, then using  the Solutions Review Buyer’s Guide to figure out what cloud capabilities each CSP provides and what key features they offer. From there, decide which capabilities are important to you and consult the Critical Capabilities Report to eliminate solutions that don’t have the capabilities you need.

Together, these three documents can cut a lot of time and effort out of the decision-making process, letting buyers skip tedious internet searches and research on cloud platforms and solutions that will never meet their needs.

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