February 22, 2011

Unica, Aprimo, and Assetlink well positioned in the 2011 MRM Gartner Magic Quadrant Review

Gartner, Inc., a leading information technology research and advisory company, recently published its annual “state of the business” address on the technological advancements and software availability and capabilities within the Marketing Resource Management (MRM) world. This report from the well-known and highly-respected technology analyst group included the ever-famous classification of niche players and industry leaders in the boxes of the “magic quadrant.”

Gartner Quad 2011

In all, the magic quadrant includes 18 leading MRM solution-providing vendors all sharing a piece of the marketplace. In order to even get a mention into the annual magic quadrant update, you have to meet the minimum criteria which were updated slightly this year to reflect market growth and trends. This includes annual revenue generated, number of net-new clients, and a capability to provide prepackaged software as buyers shift their preference to software solutions as opposed to custom-made solutions.

It was interesting, although not surprising, to see that there were only three vendors who were worthy of being deemed “Leaders” in the MRM space. Those vendors are:

After I reviewed this year’s edition of the Gartner magic quadrant, I looked back at last year’s and noticed that no vendors were dropped from 2010 and no new vendors were added. Apparently, the MRM marketplace has shown some flashes of consistency, especially as the economy continues to rebuild out of the recent recession. However, for those familiar with the space, it’s hard to miss the big name additions of IBM and Teradata showing up after their recent acquisitions.

Gartner believes, and I do agree, that there will be some more consolidation in the MRM marketplace as more large vendors enter the market to gain a significant share. Someone else will want to compete as the demand for MRM applications expand. There is a surplus of Niche Players currently and even a few others who nearly qualified for a mention. So with that quantity of successful tools out there, either some will falter because there’s not nearly the revenue amassed to-date, or there could be another acquisition or two in the forthcoming years.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I began composing this blog post shortly after the 2011 Gartner Magic Quadrant was released in early February. As I wrote this piece, I had the thought in mind that Assetlink is a prime target for an acquisition, especially if they wanted to make yet another jump amongst the industry leaders. As of the morning of Feb. 22, 2011 it did. SAS Institute will buy Assetlink, combining its customer intelligence software with Assetlink’s marketing operations management system which are two puzzle pieces that fit nicely together.

Assetlink, who in recent years, moved from the Visionaries quadrant to the Leaders quadrant had developed strong ties with Teradata. Back in 2007, Teradata announced a business partnership with Assetlink when it was adding MRM capabilities to its Teradata Customer Management Solutions portfolio. Then in 2009, SAS and Assetlink began forming a strong relationship when they joined forces to integrate its marketing operations management suite with enterprise marketing solutions within SAS Customer Intelligence. These moves strengthened Assetlink’s software capabilities and better positioned the company to become a leader in MRM customer solutions. Additionally it helped them make the jump to the top Gartner quadrant in 2010.

Aprimo should continue its success and I’m looking for great things out of them with their new parent company (Teradata) who is a leader in analytics.

Unica has made great stride with their MRM integrating it within their EMM suite, but they will need to continue to innovate to stay a leader in the MRM platform. However, like Unica, they have a parent company with even more assets to help make that possible.

With those three industry leaders at the top, I’m intrigued to see what the future holds for the other Challengers, Visionaries, and Niche Players mentioned in the 2011 MRM Magic Quadrant. Within the next couple of years, I believe several vendors will merge technologies to try to make that push in the MRM marketplace and several others will also be acquired. It’s just a matter of time.

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