Gartner Cool Vendors

Gartner Research regularly publishes Cool Vendor reports. Here’s an overview of one published during summer 2020.

For most industries, business as usual has become irrelevant. Continuous adaptation and reinvention of processes, customer experiences, digital products and business models have become the new business survival imperative.

Many “Cool Vendors” are leveraging unique dataset combinations with new AI techniques to reimagine established processes and business models to provide intelligence, automation and augmentation of the human workforce. Many of these vendors will enable resources to be automatically reconfigured and redeployed to maximize opportunities and enhance the higher-level human decision making needed to navigate to success on the other side.

What the hell is a “Cool Vendor”?

Gartner’s definition of a Cool Vendor is a small company offering a technology or service that is innovative, impactful or intriguing.

  • Innovative — Enables users to do things they could not do before
  • Impactful — Has or will have a business impact, not just technology for its own sake
  • Intriguing — Has caught Gartner’s interest during the past six months

The N2D Method conforms to all of these criteria, especially as it enhances “the higher-level human decision making needed to navigate to success on the other side” [of the pandemic].

The one box the N2D Method doesn’t tick is having “caught Gartner’s interest during the past six months”. Hello, Gartner, we’re over here!

Now, personally, I’m ambivalent about catching Gartner’s eye in the first place. Having the N2D Method included in one of their reports would undoubtedly help our business. However, being called “cool” by Gartner, perhaps one of the least cool organisations in the world, might be a bit embarrassing.

It summons up cringe-worthy moments, like your Dad trying to breakdance at Christmas and ending up in Accident & Emergency. Or the Windows 95 launch event

But maybe that’s being too harsh. Of course, “cool” means different things to different people and it’s shallow to take issue with a single word. The Garter Cool Vendor reports are insightful and contain useful direction for the leadership of larger organisations.

Here’s the exec summary of a recent report “Cool Vendors Enable Radical Rethinking After the Reset

CIOs should consider Cool Vendors that can help them to respond, recover and reinvent in the post-pandemic reset. Early adopters should look for offerings that help accelerate their reaction to changing customers’ needs and wants, and market realities with new business processes and models.

Psst, the N2D Method does this.

The cringe threshold?

Maybe there’s just a cringe threshold that needs to be crossed here. Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” video was, initially, very much not cool. However, it became more so as the meme spread. Similarly, remember the Dover Police Department guy, caught by his vehicle’s dashcam, miming along to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Up? That was initially cringe-worthy but, by the end of the video, became cool as hell.

Maybe Gartner’s Cool Vendor reports will become the Dover Police DashCam Confessionals of business research. Now there’s a sentence you don’t get to write every day. Come on over, Gartner, we’ll pop the kettle on.