Gartner published its most recent Magic Quadrant for Access Management, Worldwide earlier this month, with ForgeRock leading the way - for the first time - in the Visionaries quadrant. While perhaps not quite as impressive a result as our standing in the KuppingerCole CIAM Leadership Compass report (we were named an Overall Leader, and also named leader in the Product and Innovation categories, and a Technology Leader in the Product and Innovation Matrix) it’s important to note that the Gartner Access Management Quadrant and the KuppingerCole CIAM report measure very different things. Customer Identity and Access Management as a category is relatively new - in fact, this most recent report is only the second Leadership Compass KuppingerCole has published on CIAM as a standalone category. Gartner, which doesn’t focus on the identity space as intently as KuppingerCole does, takes a broader, more conventional approach in reporting on the long established access management (AM) category.
Execution & Vision
Before we go further, let’s take a look at what exactly is getting measured in Gartner Magic Quadrant reports, and why they’re useful. Gartner lays it out quite clearly with a simple question and answer for its intended audience:
How do I use a Gartner Magic Quadrant?
Use a Gartner Magic Quadrant as a first step to understanding the technology providers you might consider for a specific investment opportunity.
In other words, if you’re a C-level exec looking to spend money on a new access management platform, this quadrant is a great place to start your buyer’s journey. And, Gartner Quadrants track entrants on two seemingly simple axes: 1) Ability to Execute and 2) Completeness of Vision.
The factors that play into each of these axes, however, are diverse and numerous. This diversity is what shines through in the Strengths notes Gartner provided on ForgeRock’s AM offerings. Not surprisingly for the leading Visionary in the space, the report notes that ForgeRock's products scale and perform well. That’s very much a measurement of Ability to Execute, and got us close to but not over the dividing line that would have pushed us into the Leaders category. The Ability to Execute measurement (vertical axis) places a lot of weight on factors such as sales and revenue, market capitalization, partner and distribution networks, geographic reach and other factors characteristic of very large organizations. Here is why we see publicly traded tech giants such as IBM, Oracle and Microsoft in the Leaders category, along with veteran identity-centric companies Ping Identity and the publicly traded Okta, both of which were founded before ForgeRock.
When measured on Completeness of Vision (the horizontal axis) it’s a different story. Here, you’re measured on how well your company is prepared for the immediate and long-term future, with consideration given to products, go-to-market strategy, and strength of financial standing. Here, ForgeRock was in good company, shining brightest of all along with Microsoft. Given where we stand in our growth path (seven years since founding, a fast-growth venture-backed company that’s completed three full funding rounds) we were delighted with our standing in the Gartner Access Management Quadrant. Especially so, since Gartner called out specific aspects of our product and growth strategies - into which we’ve devoted a lot of thought and resources:
- ForgeRock is one of the few vendors in the AM market that provides user-managed access (UMA) support and API target protection with authentication, authorization and traffic throttling functions.
- ForgeRock's capabilities and strategy for supporting IoT are advanced relative to most vendors in this market.
- ForgeRock has had particular success in selling to consumer IAM use cases.
Notice that last point? “Consumer IAM use cases” is another way of saying “CIAM.” And the point before that, saying ForgeRock’s IoT support is ahead of the market? We fully believe that the key growth opportunities for digital identity management in the years ahead will be in a) the fast-expanding IoT marketplace - a completely greenfield opening; and b) with organizations that need to provide secure, seamless user experiences: retailers, financial services providers, consumer packaged goods companies, etc. To have this vision validated by the tech sector’s premier analyst firm is a good feeling indeed. We’re not exactly where we’d like to be yet in the Gartner Access Management Quadrant, but we’re very close, and moving in the right direction.
Jessica Morrison is Senior Director, Global Product Marketing at ForgeRock.