Close this search box.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant matrix – dimensions characteristics for MES systems

The American corporation Gartner conducts a series of market studies, the results of which are presented in the final version in a report called Gartner Magic Quadrant. The report focuses on companies that introduce solutions worth implementing, depending on the scope or vision of your company. One of the latest reports was dedicated to companies providing MES – find out which vendors have been recognized as market leaders and learn more about the Magic Quadrant methodology.

What is the Magic Quadrant?

Gartner Inc. is a technological research company that has been in business for over 40 years. The company specializes in consulting and analysis for companies focusing on technologies. Garner Inc. is a company present in several dozen countries around the world, which conducts cyclic research, including the Gartner Hype Cycle, i.e., the theory of company development. Gartner offers various tools, including the Magic Quadrant.

Magic Quadrant provides a summary of companies that compete in the market. The research conducted by Gartner is performed periodically, every 1-2 years. One of the sectors that the Magic Quadrant focuses on are companies offering Manufacturing Execution Systems. Gartner places vendors of these systems on the matrix on the basis of multiple factors, including completeness of vision as well as ability to execute future projects. The way the classification is done is not publicly disclosed, and the results are presented as the surveyed company’s position in one of the four fields of the matrix.

Axes of the Magic Quadrant

As you already know, the Gartner report of the Magic Quadrant describes a matrix based on two main criteria, which are represented as an axis. The vertical axis is Ability to Execute, which consists of customer service, global reach, and manufacturing operations. The Ability to Execute is an indicator of an organization’s capability to implement innovative ideas and solutions. This is particularly valued by customers, since the right choice of MES system will shape the production (the lifeblood of the manufacturer) and determine the future of the entire company. 

The horizontal axis represents the Completeness of Vision that emphasizes adapting to changes in the MES systems market. It is an area that, although mature, is still going through a number of significant changes – these include technology, usability, system scope, and functionality, among other factors. The changes, which are driven by factors such as IIoT, digital twin, or governmental vision (e.g., Industry 4.0), force the system vendor to be significantly competent and able to navigate the ever-changing market. As such, the Gartner Magic Quadrant places great emphasis on a manufacturer’s adaptation to a rapidly changing market and adjusting its product strategy. Gartner’s report and Completeness of Vision is to view the MES manufacturer as a visionary who will present its offering as a forward-thinking solution that is valuable to potential customers.

With these dimensions, it is possible to divide the matrix area into four fields, among which Gartner can place surveyed manufacturers on selected positions.

Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems – Quadrant descriptions

The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a compilation that distinguishes four basic categories among which manufacturers are placed. These categories are: Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries and Niche Players. Each group has its own special qualities. 

Leaders combine the most exceptional traits, ranking them high on both the Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision axes. These businesses are recognized for:

  • reasonably broad and deep MES offerings,
  • proven success in moderate to high-complicity manufacturing environments,
  • participation in a high percentage of new deals,
  • a strong and consistent track record,
  • consistent performance and vigorous client growth and retention,
  • enduring visibility in the marketplace from both sales and marketing perspectives,
  • a proven ecosystem of partners,
  • global scale. 

Leaders understand the importance of customer satisfaction and approach problems as trusted partners. Because Leaders are often well grounded in their position, they can benefit from a community of MES users that helps them stay ahead of the competition. One of the leaders of the 2021 report was Critical Manufacturing for its innovation in the area of data management and exceptionally high customer satisfaction, among other reasons. 

Challengers, despite shortcomings on the innovation side, are still significant players in the MES market due to their established ability to execute. The key attributes for Challengers are: 

  • a capable, proven, and mature MES, with numerous live customers,
  • a consistent track record of successful implementation,
  • often running some large and complex facilities, 
  • offerings that are not as broad or deep as MES Leaders’ offerings,
  • a clear vision of the future of MES, although, relatively speaking, it is not as clear or complete as the Leaders’ vision.

Solutions from this group of vendors are usually utilized by numerous businesses and support operations locally and around the globe. They are chosen by buyers who prefer the Ability to Execute over Completeness of Vision. Challengers included Rockwell Automation, a company whose product is focused on high-volume manufacturing with individually tailored elements of product for the customer. Their operations are geographically diversified. Customers rate the backward and forward compatibility of Rockwell Automation’s product as one of the best, especially for regulated industries.

Visionaries are in the quadrant dedicated to companies that are not yet established in the international market and still need to sustain their long-term stability. Visionaries key features:

  • a coherent, compelling and innovative strategy that seeks to deliver a robust and vibrant offering to the market,
  • a thought leader in one or more MES solution dimensions that tends to be on the leading edge of emerging concepts,
  • an undemonstrated ability to handle a broad range of complex user requirements,
  • execution gaps or deficiencies,
  • innovation in MES products and services, and in go-to-market, vertical, or deployment strategies. 

Visionaries include iTAC Software, a company whose software is focused on high-volume repetitive flow discrete manufacturing, mainly in the automotive and electronic industries. It offers the workbench, which will allow customers and partners to extend the solutions and share extensions via a marketplace. 

The final category of the Gartner report consists of Niche players – those targeting a specific segment of the market who can achieve success in their chosen area of business. Such organizations are highly specialized and choosing these vendors, although it may seem uninviting, often works well for new buyers. Niche players are characterized by:

  • focuses primarily on geography or vertical market (although this is not a sole determining factor),
  • is not a generally differentiated offering, although it can have some unique capabilities,
  • is not a board MES capability,
  • has market momentum and product or company viability that may be in question,
  • has growth strategies, either geographic or in other markets, that may be lacking.

You can find more detailed data and descriptions of the other companies featured in the entire Gartner Magic Quadrant report, which include: the characteristics of the vendors operating in the market, market context, information about the functionality of MES systems, evaluation criteria, strengths, and weaknesses of individual solutions.

Products in this Article


OEE Performance monitoring

Performance Monitoring (OEE) Connect and gather data from your machines. Schedule a Demo They Trusted Us: Key Benefits OEEincrease ✔️ shorter downtimes ✔️ faster production

Read More »

Sign up to our newsletter to get more insights

Check Our AI Helper!
Click The Button ➞

See a MES demo and get pilot in 3 weeks

industrial software expert

Łukasz Iskra

Industrial Software Expert


[email protected]

Why to get a demo?

  • 60-minute online meeting with a dedicated specialist presenting a top system from an industry similar to yours
  • Live modeling of your production process
  • budget quotation after the meeting

Leave your email or phone number

We Will Contact You Immidietly​

Get more insights about MES with our case study

Download for free

Welcome back!


Download Return of Investment (ROI) Document in Molding Injection Machine Industry

Hey there, seems like you are interested in software for production...

Sign up to a newsletter and get a catalogue to share with coworkers