Becoming a Gartner Cool Vendor — What It Means and Why It’s Cool

My employer, Kentik Technologies, was recently recognized as a 2016 Gartner “Cool Vendor” for Availability and Performance. From the perspective of a startup tech marketer, this is a notable distinction to achieve. However, I realize that there are a good number of folks who may be fuzzy on what it means and what’s so “cool” about it.

What is Cool Vendor?

Every year, Gartner analysts within various practice areas come up with a list of candidate startups that they think are offering something innovative and valuable. Gartner analysts can’t just go on the merits of the marketing pitch, though. They have to validate the value of the offering by talking to multiple deployed users of the technology. Then they vote on their internal nominees to select up to a maximum of five vendors for a category.

The purpose of the Cool Vendor designation is to bring selected companies to the attention of the community of Gartner research clients, who rely on Gartner to advise them as they formulate strategic and tactical solutions to their IT challenges.

Why is this so cool? A few reasons.

Coolness #1. For a startup like ours, a beautiful thing about Cool Vendor is that highlights what our customers have been telling us. In our case, they’ve been telling us that we’re bringing them something new and extraordinary in network traffic analysis that gives them a lot of value:

Our service stores 90 days of raw data details generated by a network. For an average customer, that adds up to some tens of billions of rows of data that they can instantly access online.

The big data engine we built can perform ad-hoc analyses on combinations of dozens of data fields that express varying layers of end-to-end network communications, from ports and protocols to devices and interfaces, to sites, cities, and regions, to routing paths and individual or network addresses. Our users can select any combination of any of those elements, filter them interactively, run an analysis against billions of rows of data and get answers in a couple of seconds. We offer our service as a SaaS, which means that a user can go from registration to production use in fifteen minutes with no hardware required.

So, our customers think that this is very cool, and I believe that Gartner does too.

Coolness #2. However, as a marketer, it’s important to note that no matter how cool a solution is, the independent validation with customers is paramount. So a second the cool thing is that we’re blessed with generous-minded clients who were more than happy to talk with the Gartner analysts and share their experiences. I can’t name names, but obviously, we’re super grateful for them!

Coolness #3. It’s interesting because Gartner keeps its content firmly within a paid, walled garden. So, while its cool that we can announce it, the real content value mainly comes to Gartner research clients. That might seem like a negative, but the reality is that for a startup like Kentik that has a breakthrough tech, it’s not hard to get techies excited about our merits. The real challenge is helping people in management capacities to understand the value. That is part of a marketer’s challenge in any startup. Gartner Cool Vendor recognition is helpful because many executives at large companies utilize Gartner research services to get a third party take on vendors, technology developments, etc. If you are a Gartner client, you can not only read the report, but you can also request an inquiry with the analysts who wrote the report and drill down on their take on Kentik in person. That’s cool for us, and very useful to potential customers.

Great Things Come from Great Teams

The Gartner Cool Vendor designation is a sweet recognition for a tech startup. Recognition like this tends to be put under the marketing column, but it’s important to note that a great team and culture are the essential elements for getting there. If you’re looking for a great team to develop cutting edge technologies, you should look at Kentik.

Okay, so in writing about this, I need to comply with some requirements, so here are…

the details:

Report name: Cool Vendors in Availability and Performance, 2016

Authors: Cameron Haight , Vivek Bhalla , Colin Fletcher , Sanjit Ganguli

and the Gartner disclaimer:

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

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