5 Tips to Make Sense of the Gartner IAM MQ and Cool Vendor

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In a sea of great vendors (and maybe one or two bad ones!), how do you choose the solution that will help you achieve secure, visible, and efficient IAM? As a leading voice in technology research and advisory, Gartner’s insights help you navigate these complex decisions.

What is the Gartner Cool Vendor in Identity First Security?

The Gartner Cool Vendor in Identity First Security is a distinctive recognition given by Gartner to small, innovative companies in the technology or services sector. This recognition is part of Gartner’s broader Cool Vendors research, which identifies emerging companies that offer novel and intriguing products or services. Cool Vendors are not just transforming the technology landscape but are also impacting how businesses like yours operate.

A Gartner Cool Vendor must fulfill three key criteria:

  1. Innovative: The vendor should provide a technology or service that enables users to do things they couldn’t do before. This innovation often introduces new capabilities or significantly improves existing ones.
  2. Impactful: The vendor’s offerings should provide a significant business impact. The technology or service isn’t just technologically advanced but also delivers tangible business benefits.
  3. Intriguing: The vendor has garnered Gartner’s interest over the past six months. This could be due to the uniqueness of their solution, the potential to fill a gap in the market, or their approach to addressing existing challenges in new ways.

In Identity-First Security, Cool Vendors are recognized for their innovative approaches to managing identity-related challenges, such as identifying real-time security risks, mitigating threats, and adopting new approaches to identity without disrupting existing IAM processes. 

Achieving Cool Vendor status means the vendor is at the forefront of its field, offering cutting-edge and impactful solutions. It’s a recognition that shines a spotlight on the best in a crowded market.

Why is the Cool Vendor List an Essential Resource for Businesses?

The Gartner Cool Vendor List significantly reduces the complexity and risk involved in vendor selection, making it a vital tool for any business in choosing an IAM solution. Here is why:

1. Choosing the Right Vendor

A poor choice of vendor can have significant cost repercussions. The Cool Vendor List helps mitigate this risk by highlighting vendors that are not only technologically advanced but also have a proven track record of delivering results. This guidance is invaluable in making informed decisions and avoiding costly mistakes.

2. Trust in Vendor Capabilities

The Cool Vendor report showcases vendors that offer improved service delivery and operational gains, enabling new ways of working. These attributes help you trust IAM vendors and feel confident in their competence.

3. Innovation and User Insight

Innovation is a big driver in the IAM space, and the Cool Vendor List focuses on vendors that innovate by extracting new user insights and creating immersive experiences through accelerated development. With this knowledge, you can choose a vendor that keeps up with current trends and is at the forefront of technological advancements.

4. Ethical and Secure Solutions

The Cool Vendor List chooses vendors that make new technologies more ethical, secure, and safe. It’s essential for businesses to partner with vendors that prioritize ethical practices and robust security measures to ensure compliance with standards like DORA

5. Additional Scrutiny

To secure a spot on the Cool Vendor list, vendors face additional scrutiny from Gartner, such as demonstrating tangible and substantiated business value. Cool Vendors must prove they have greater competence than other established competitors in their field – so you know that Cool Vendors really are the best of the best. 

5 Tips to Make Sense of the Gartner Cool Vendor List

Here is how to make sense of the Gartner Cool Vendor List:

1. Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

The Cool Vendor List has specific criteria for inclusion:

  • The vendor should be less than ten years old.
  • The vendor must not be featured in a Vendor Rating or a Magic Quadrant.
  • The vendor must not be previously featured in a Cool Vendors report.
  • The vendor must be an independent business or a discrete subsidiary/spinoff of another vendor.
  • The vendor’s annual revenue must be less than $100 million.
  • The product must be available at the point of submission.
  • The vendor must be considered innovative or transformative for IT products, services, or initiatives.

These criteria ensure that the listed vendors are emerging, independent, and innovative, which is vital for businesses searching for fresh and impactful solutions in IAM.

2. Gartner Hype Cycle


Understanding where technologies sit on the Hype Cycle is crucial for businesses and vendors alike. The Gartner Hype Cycle is a methodology outlining the maturity and adoption of emerging technologies like identity-first security, generative AI, and cloud computing. It helps assess the potential risks and rewards of adopting new technologies. 

Vendors in the earlier stages of the Hype Cycle are often at the forefront of innovation, offering cutting-edge solutions that can provide businesses with a competitive edge.

Engaging with Cool Vendors is your chance to be an early adopter of potentially transformative technologies featured earlier in the Hype Cycle. Therefore, you can explore new ways of operating, possibly gaining significant advantages in efficiency, security, or market positioning.

3. Understanding the IAM Magic Quadrant 

The IAM Magic Quadrant is an analytical tool developed by Gartner to comprehensively evaluate the Identity and Access Management (IAM) market. The Cool Vendor in Identity First security is a sister list to the IAM MQ. The Quadrant provides insights into the capabilities and vision of various IAM vendors, helping you make informed decisions about choosing the right solutions in line with IAM best practices. The Gartner IAM Magic Quadrant categorizes vendors into four distinct quadrants, each representing a different type of vendor in the market

  • Leaders: Well-established vendors that execute their vision well and lead market trends.
  • Challengers: Stable vendors with strong operational capabilities but not a visionary market view. 
  • Visionaries: Vendors with a unique market vision but are not executing as well as leaders. 
  • Niche players: Specialized vendors that take a targeted approach to success. 

4. Goals of Cool Vendors

Cool Vendors aim to:

  • Improve delivery of service and operational gains.
  • Expand and facilitate new ways of working.
  • Innovate by extracting new user insights and immersive experiences through accelerated development.
  • Make the use of new technologies more ethical, secure, and safe.

These goals align with the needs of businesses looking for IAM solutions that are not only technologically advanced but also efficient, user-friendly, and secure. Cool Vendor attributes are split into three distinct categories:

  • Ethics: Vendors must prove the ethical use of AI, be transparent in their security practices, and actively improve customer relations. 
  • Competence: Vendors must demonstrate improved delivery and ways of working for their clients, plus enable new ways of working. 
  • Innovation: Vendors must create immersive experiences for clients and help them accelerate development and extract new insights from existing processes. 

5. Challenges of Cool Vendors

Gartner’s Cool Vendors face several challenges in their journey towards innovation. First, they must shift from merely reacting to digital innovations to actively creating novel products and services. This proactive approach is essential in transforming digital disruptions into practical, value-creating solutions.

Additionally, transitioning proofs of concept into successful, scalable production remains a significant hurdle. Integrating ethical, secure, and effective use of technology is crucial, ensuring their solutions are innovative and responsibly address business and societal needs.

Navigating the Future of Identity Management with Confidence

The Gartner IAM Magic Quadrant and Cool Vendor List are worth their weight in gold for businesses navigating the IAM market – the Cool Vendor List is the number one go-to resource for understanding leading and innovative vendors. 

Rezonate is proud to be recognized as a Cool Vendor in the 2023 Gartner Report, which highlights our commitment to advancing identity-first security and affirms the value our identity-centric approach brings to the market. 
Request a demo to see how Rezonate can enhance your IAM strategy.


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Sr. Director Cyber Security, Fubo

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