If Google, Microsoft and Oracle are the only three vendors that made it into the Leaders Quadrant of this year’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search, Gartner has identified many other vendors in the Challengers quadrant that are jostling for position next time round.

Enterprise Search Magic Quadrant

In fact, of all of the MQs that have been published over the year, this one describes a market that appears more balanced than others in terms of the functionality, and is well populated across all the four quadrants which include: Leaders, Challengers, Niche, Visionaries.

By this we mean that each of the Qandrants has a number of vendors that have been placed there for specific functionality reasons, while a large number of large and small vendors have been excluded because they failed to meet one or more of the inclusion criteria -- something that is also quite rare.

It should also be kept in mind that while this is the first Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search, it is not a new field and has been covered previously by Gartner through Marketscope reports. In fact, enterprise search is one of the more mature markets in IT and the fact that there is such a spread of companies reflects that.

Also keep in mind, that Gartner has specifically excluded consusmer search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing from this report and sticks to tools that relate to users’ enterprise requests for relevant information, offering results and some light analysis of those results.


Quadrant Criteria

To be included in this Quadrant, vendors must be able to meet the following criteria:

  • Must offer a product marketed as "a search engine" or an "enterprise search" product
  • They must be available separately from all other products
  • Must have earned over US$ 5 million in revenue from enterprise search products in 2011
  • Must have identified at least three reference customers who acquired the product in 2011.

To get into the Leader’s Quadrant is even more difficult again. Vendors must demonstrate exceptional technological flexibaility and need to be aware of what significant segements of the market require to achieve their business goals.


Enterprise Search Market

So what is happening across the enterprise search market? According to this research the entire market is being re-shaped as the demand for better consumer experiences is forcing vendors to respond with new strategies and products.

Indicative of this is Microsoft’s decision to tie-up its search technology more closely with SharePoint -- although Microsoft has tied a lot of things into SharePoint, so no surprises here.

In all, Gartner has included 15 different vendors and compared their products to help IT professionals choose the best engine for their enterprise.

There are wide variations in the way the products are delivered and the way they are marketed with outside influences like social, mobile, cloud computing and information management impacting heavily on the market.

Since 2007, the market has grown at a compound rate of 11.7% annually and was worth in the region of US$ 1.7 billion last year,  with this year’s figure expected to be around US$ 1.9 billion despite economic conditions.

The products are sold as on-premises, as software-as-a-service or as installations on the infrascuture of cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, while vendors are also being forced to provide connectors to traditional and unconventional data sources in order for their product to work effecitively.

Google, Microsoft

Again, as in previous Quadrants, Gartner recommends that potential customers look at all the different companies in every quadrants to see what is a good fit for their company, as they may find products more suitable for their needs outside the Leader's quadrant.