Wax Digital gives a participant view of the Gartner Magic Quadrant

I caught up with Daniel Ball, one of the founders and directors of Wax Digital (a firm we've featrued regularly) the other day. They were one of the few UK based software providers to be featured on the recent Gartner “Magic Quadrant” for Strategic Sourcing Application Suites. (See our initial coverage here).

They were placed very near the centre of the matrix, so sitting in the “niche players” sector, but very near the middle on both the "completness of vision" and "ability to execute" dimensions as defined by Gartner.

This is a pretty good performance, but arguably not stellar in terms of some of the other participants, so I was interested to hear how Ball felt about the positioning. And the headline is that he is pretty content with this – he perceives that the benefit to Wax Digital largely comes from being included in the analysis, as they are one of only three UK based firms covered, and they are rated "better" than the other two.

Their inclusion gives credibility, in his view, and the firm have an additional strength (not covered by Gartner in this analysis) that they also offer P2P capability as well as sourcing. There is a greater barrier to entry for P2P compared to sourcing, so Wax are quite unusual in the breadth of their offering, particularly for a firm who target mainly mid-market clients.

I asked Ball how he’d found the Gartner process.

“It seemed pretty rigorous – we provided very detailed responses, and there were multiple customer references”. Gartner allowed participants to use partners to cover some of the capability that defined the quadrant – so Wax use a partner for spend analysis, although “we had to show their capability was fully integrated into the product suite“ says Ball.

Ball doesn't agree with all the Gartner analysis however. Gartner marked the firm down on “Limited support capabilities for companies headquartered outside the U.K.support capabilities”. “It’s a fair point, in that we don’t have offices all over the place, but we have clients with many users overseas, and we have a good history there in servicing them. So we did have some debate with Gartner on that point”.

He also points out that there is no distinction in terms of vertical industry focus “so we feel some firms who only work in a narrow market sector – perhaps transportation for example - get an exaggerated position on the quadrant”.

And in terms of capability, for example at the most complex end of advanced / market informed sourcing, Ball says, “clients really need to understand whether they need that and will use that capability. Some will, many won’t. Gartner don’t give any weighting to what is really useful and what might be ‘bells and whistles’ for many customers”.

But, all in all, he is happy with the process and the outcome.

“We do think it is positive for us, as one of the few UK firms included, and highlights the breadth of our product range”.

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