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Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools

22 May 2014 ID:G00260863
Analyst(s): Kevin KnoxTerrence Cosgrove


New client management tool capabilities have emerged to support evolving enterprise initiatives. These capabilities are increasingly important to end-user computing and support managers in their tool selection process.

Market Definition/Description

End-user computing and support organizations use client management tools to automate system administration and support functions that would otherwise be handled manually. Client management tools image client systems, track inventory, deploy configuration changes (such as software or patches), enforce configuration standards, and assist with troubleshooting. Windows PCs are the primary object of management, but organizations often extend these tools to manage Macs and even servers. Mobile device management (MDM) is still a separate market, but organizations are increasingly looking to use a single vendor and management platform to support PCs, Macs and mobile devices.

Magic Quadrant

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools
Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools
Source: Gartner (May 2014)

Vendor Strengths and Cautions

Absolute Software

The greatest strength of Absolute Software's Absolute Manage continues to be its breadth of device coverage, supporting Windows PCs, Mac OS X, iOS, Android and Windows Phones. During the past 12 months, Absolute made major enhancements to its mobile management capabilities, including making its MDM capabilities available via the SaaS delivery model. The vendor continues to work on more tightly integrating its mobile and client management capabilities, and enabling a more consistent look and feel to its consoles. It has also entered into strategic licensing agreements with Apptria Technologies and Lumension to enhance its software management and patching capabilities in future product releases. Absolute Software's customer base for Absolute Manage is relatively low compared to other vendors' products, but it has begun to establish a following, particularly within the Mac community. Absolute Manage is a good choice for organizations looking for consistent management capabilities across Windows and Mac at a low price point.
  • Absolute Manage provides consistent management capabilities and tight functional interoperability across Mac and Windows platforms.
  • Absolute Manage has the best Mac management capabilities among client management products that provide both Windows and Mac management.
  • Absolute Computrace, in conjunction with Absolute Manage, provides strong agent health and hardware inventory management capabilities.
  • Absolute Manage does not support any application virtualization products or provide support for nonpersistent virtual desktops.
  • Although it can manage larger environments, Absolute Manage is best-suited to small or midsize organizations with 100 to 2,500 users.
  • Relative to other vendors, Absolute Software's customer base and awareness for Absolute Manage are relatively low, particularly for Windows, and it lacks a strong online community and user groups.


In March 2014, Persistent Systems created its Accelerite business unit to take a common portfolio of products to market. Its flagship product is Radia Client Automation, the company's client management tool, which it acquired through an exclusive licensing agreement with HP in February 2013. A primary objective for Accelerite during the last year has been to preserve HP's installed base of large enterprise customers, something we believe it has had a fair amount of success in achieving. Moving forward, Accelerite will continue to target larger enterprises while shifting more of its focus toward the midmarket. Since taking over product development from HP, Accelerite added basic integrated MDM capabilities, along with enabling a Radia SaaS delivery model, both focused at midmarket buyers. The creation of Accelerite as a separate product unit should allow greater focus on client management product development; but scaling sales and marketing and developing a channel will be challenging. Radia Client Automation is a good fit for midsize organizations experienced in client management and looking for basic integrated MDM or SaaS-based delivery; it is typically not a good fit for enterprise organizations requiring high levels of service and support.
  • Radia Client Automation has a highly scalable underlying architecture with a focused set of management functionalities.
  • The SaaS-based delivery option and integrated basic MDM functionality included with Radia Client Automation are valued by the midmarket.
  • Radia Client Automation is particularly strong in allowing organizations to manage hosted virtual desktop (HVD) environments.
  • Accelerite is a new organization with limited dedicated resources that must quickly grow share in the midmarket while preserving its enterprise business.
  • Customers with few devices to manage generally do not place high value on scalability — one of the key product strengths.
  • Accelerite has weak go-to-market capabilities, limited dedicated sales capacity, inexperience in developing marketing and channel strategies, and a weak user community.

BMC Software

BMC Client Management, originating from the 2012 Numara acquisition, is BMC's tool for managing PCs (BMC BladeLogic Client Automation has been phased out). BMC Software continues to focus on the Client Management suite. The vendor will tie client management to its MyIT platform in an effort to provide a unified app store for PCs and mobile devices to acquire Windows, cloud, and mobile applications. BMC Client Management has a small market presence, but its usability makes it attractive to midmarket customers that represent most new business. BMC Client Management is a good choice for users of other BMC management products, such as the vendor's IT service desk offerings, especially those looking for tightly integrated solutions.
  • The solution uses a simple user interface, making it accessible to IT staff that lack substantial desktop administration expertise.
  • BMC Client Management has tight integration with FootPrints Service Core and BMC Remedyforce Service Desk, at a console, data and process level.
  • The Partnerpedia acquisition gives BMC a head start in developing broad enterprise app stores that support Windows and mobile OS applications.
  • BMC Client Management lacks a strong community of users to share tips and best practices.
  • BMC is a strong enterprise vendor, but its ability to service the midmarket — the segment to which its product is best-suited — is limited.
  • The vendor has made strong improvements to BMC Client Management's Mac management capabilities during the past year, but it still lacks comprehensive functionality comparable to what's available for managing Windows PCs.

CA Technologies

CA Technologies' client management focus for the past two years has largely been on two fronts: unifying physical and virtual desktop management, and extending its functionality to manage highly mobile workforces. The most recent release of CA Client Automation 12.8 focused on improvements to the core Client Automation functionality, as well as integration with the CA Mobile Device Management product. Client Automation continues to receive positive feedback for its stability and code quality. However, CA's visibility in this market continues to decline, with few Gartner clients considering Client Automation. Nevertheless, Client Automation is a good fit for organizations looking to manage virtual and physical systems together, especially users of related CA products, such as IT Asset Manager and Service Desk Manager.
  • Client Automation has strong software inventory management functionality, providing multiple ways to identify software, including a unique capability called Intellisigs, which allows administrators to identify software more accurately than with heuristics or signature-based methods.
  • Client Automation's Extended Network Connectivity (ENC) technology allows organizations to efficiently and securely manage remote locations and users, even when not directly connected to the corporate network.
  • Client Automation allows administrators to manage any device that has a supported OS, whether it is physical or virtual.
  • Client Automation does not support the ability to deploy OSs to multiple PCs simultaneously (multicast).
  • Customers report the setup and initial configuration of Client Automation can be challenging and require high levels of customization.
  • CA is currently behind the market in enabling client management functionality to be delivered to end-user organizations via a SaaS-based model.

Dell Kace

Dell Kace continues to be the only vendor in the client management tool market that offers its products exclusively as appliances. It made updates to both its OS deployment (K2000) and life cycle management (K1000) appliances during the past year, in addition to a major update to its MDM appliance (K3000). Kace appliances offer a strong set of core functionality, highlighted by ease of setup and ease of use. This positions the vendor particularly well to address the needs of midsize organizations that may not have the resources or expertise in client management to support more comprehensive and complex client management tools. In 2013, Dell went private and is now refocusing around a set of strategic initiatives, one being to grow its software business, so organizations should expect continued investment and focus on management tools. Kace is a good fit for organizations that want a product that is easy to deploy and easy to use; it is typically not a good fit for organizations that want to customize or for those that manage tens of thousands of clients, or that are highly distributed.
  • The Dell sales force, which has been actively promoting Dell software products, gives Kace a unique sales channel with broad and geographically diverse capabilities.
  • Kace appliances are easy to deploy, maintain and upgrade, which are among the major challenges of client management tools in general.
  • Dell Kace offers a broad set of capabilities across its different management appliances, which can be used independently or easily integrated, depending on specific user requirements.
  • Kace typically lags other market-leading client management tools in enabling new functionality and capabilities, particularly in addressing the requirements of larger organizations.
  • While Kace officially supports customers with up to 20,000 users with a single appliance, the K1000 is better-suited to organizations with 200 to 5,000 users, due to the product's architecture.
  • Kace appliances are more difficult to customize than competitive products.


FrontRange Heat Desktop and Server Management (DSM) is an easy-to-use client management product aimed primarily at midsize organizations. As part of a broader management approach, DSM is often sold with FrontRange Heat Service Management and the recently introduced Heat Mobile Device Management solutions. FrontRange has improved its integration between the different modules, and offers a unique set of hybrid, on-premises and cloud delivery options. Foundational to DSM is software package creation and distribution, which is the central function to its management approach. The majority of DSM's revenue is generated from European customers; Gartner has yet to see substantial adoption of the product in North America or Asia. FrontRange DSM is a good fit for European organizations with limited desktop management skills.
  • Package building has long been a differentiator for DSM. Many client management offerings require third-party products for advanced application packaging, but DSM includes strong native capabilities to help customers build packages.
  • Heat DSM provides easy-to-use, wizard-driven functionality for less experienced users, and more advanced functionality, such as scripting, for users who are more experienced with client management.
  • FrontRange is further along than most client management vendors in offering hybrid configuration options across different modules within its portfolio.
  • Heat DSM has a limited software title database to help in the identification and ongoing management of application software.
  • The product's console must be enhanced to improve startup performance and overall stability.
  • While improved in the latest release, DSM has historically had high server requirements to manage distributed environments.


IBM Endpoint Manager excels in patch management, multiplatform support and overall scalability. IBM's mobile strategy changed with the acquisition of enterprise mobility management vendor Fiberlink Communications in December 2013. Both companies offer strong products for client and mobility management, and the two already had a longstanding OEM relationship (Fiberlink used Endpoint Manager for patching). IBM will focus on improving integration between the IBM Endpoint Manager and Fiberlink MaaS360 platforms, with full integration still several years off and requiring significant changes. IBM will likely keep Endpoint Manager focused on large enterprises rather than midsize customers. Endpoint Manager is a good choice for organizations heavily focused on security configuration management (including patching), and those that require strong multiplatform server management in addition to client management or scalability to support tens of thousands of endpoints. It is not as good a choice for organizations that require simple usability or tight integration with third-party service desk or asset management tools.
  • Endpoint Manager's primary differentiator is that the tool's intelligence is on the endpoint, rather than the server. This allows the agent to actively discover a deviation from policy and execute remediation, rather than rely on a predefined schedule of system scans and subsequent server-side reporting. This enables organizations to maintain higher degrees of configuration compliance.
  • The product's endpoint-oriented control, along with its relay server architecture, results in a relatively small server footprint to support the Endpoint Manager environment, and makes it a good fit for highly distributed environments.
  • The IBM Endpoint Manager architecture was designed for speed to support frequent policy checks and status updates. This provides a very current view of the endpoint environment.
  • Uptake of OS deployment remains low. Organizations cite a lack of documentation and known best practices to use this module effectively.
  • Certain patches (e.g., Microsoft nonsecurity) often require manual configuration prior to deployment.
  • IBM's packaging, bundling options and pricing of its various management functionality are complex and can be challenging for users to understand.


Kaseya Virtual System Administrator (VSA) is a broad IT operations management platform providing a wide range of functionality, such as client management, MDM, service desk, network performance monitoring, data backup and endpoint protection, from a common console. Kaseya VSA remains a strong player among managed service providers, which continue to be their primary sales target. While Kaseya VSA does have some large customers, the product is most appropriate for midsize organizations. Kaseya VSA is a good choice for organizations that value a single solution for client and mobile management, endpoint security, and service desk through the same console.
  • Kaseya VSA is ahead of most vendors in offering SaaS-based client management, allowing for an Internet-based, accessible management console and general administrative ease of use, as well as less complex deployment compared to on-premises tools.
  • The vendor's products offer a wide range of client management functionality, including capabilities that many other client management tools do not offer, such as PC backup and system performance monitoring.
  • Kaseya VSA provides strong capabilities to track, audit and report on endpoint management tasks.
  • Kaseya VSA lacks comprehensive software title rationalization, software request workflow automation and usage monitoring.
  • The majority of Kaseya's clients are managed service providers (MSPs), and its ability to continue to grow this business, while also expanding its business with end-user organizations, will be challenging.
  • Kaseya VSA does not provide vulnerability assessment or turnkey security configuration profiling/posturing.


Landesk Management Suite (LDMS) is one of the most complete client management tools in the market. It is particularly strong at managing branch-office users through its Targeted Multicast technology's Peer Download option, software distribution and virtual desktop management. In 2013, Landesk acquired Shavlik, a third-party patching vendor with content that is being used by several other client management tools. Not only does this help Landesk strengthen its already strong native patching capabilities, it also marks the beginning of Landesk partnering with erstwhile competitors, most notably Microsoft. Landesk has also been heavily focused on its new pricing model that allows customers to license the Landesk suite of management and security products by user, rather than device. While general industry adoption to date has been mixed, we believe the shift from device- to user-centric management will continue to gain interest with organizations, and that Landesk will be well-positioned to capitalize. LDMS is a good fit for organizations that require cross-platform support, robust management across clients and servers, and flexibility to customize their management tools; it is typically not a good choice for organizations with basic requirements that place high value on simplicity.
  • Landesk offers one of the most robust sets of management functionality among all client management vendors, with strong cross-device and cross-platform support — Windows, OS X and mobile.
  • Landesk has robust self-service and process automation capabilities, supported by a strong workflow management tool.
  • The LDMS Targeted Multicast with the Peer Download option enables administrators to distribute applications using a peer-to-peer model at subnets. Landesk customers have fewer remote package servers than customers using competitive products.
  • Landesk's MDM capabilities are less mature than its PC management capabilities, and integration needs to be tighter.
  • The Landesk console is in need of an update. The Web console does not provide the same capability as the thick-client console. Disparity between on-premises and Web-based consoles must be understood and accounted for.
  • It can be difficult to understand the status and health of the Landesk infrastructure — in particular, monitoring the status of scheduled tasks, and understanding when and why tasks fail.


ManageEngine Desktop Central is an easy-to-use, cost-effective client management product aimed at midsize organizations heavily standardized on Microsoft Windows. Desktop Central's functionality is intuitive and offers a wide breadth of basic management capabilities, including a recently introduced MDM module. The product lacks depth of functionality in several areas (e.g., effectively managing non-Windows platforms), and does not effectively scale to meet the requirements of large enterprises. ManageEngine is a good fit for midsize organizations seeking basic functionality for managing Windows environments at lower price points. Desktop Central is typically not a good fit for enterprise organizations or those that require advanced management functionality.
  • Initial setup and configuration of Desktop Central is straightforward. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, and it does not require high levels of client management experience.
  • Desktop Central is one of the most aggressively priced products in the client management space.
  • Desktop Central's use of cache and distribution servers allows organizations to efficiently apply patches and distribute software to remote-office Windows clients.
  • Only select Mac OS X functionality is available in Desktop Central today, although additional functionality is planned for future versions.
  • Desktop Central offers basic management functionality, but trails the market in several key areas, including cross-platform support, self-service, enterprise scalability and OS deployment.
  • ManageEngine is still small and not as well-known as many of the leading client management tool vendors; as such, it has a limited following among users and limited online community resources.


Matrix42's focus for the past two years has been centered on end-user self-service and tying together physical, virtual and mobile management. Currently, Matrix42 is focused on extending management capabilities to SaaS-based services, such as Office365 and, as well as enabling its own SaaS-based delivery capabilities. Matrix42 has always had a strong focus on emerging and future requirements. The vendor has a strong presence across Europe, its main target market, but a minimal presence outside of Europe. In a mature client management tool market, it will be challenging for Matrix42 to grow its business outside of Europe with its limited installed base. Matrix42 is a good choice for European organizations that manage a complex endpoint environment composed of physical PCs, virtual desktops and mobile devices.
  • Matrix42's management support for server-based computing and virtualization platforms (such as Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenApp and Microsoft Windows Terminal Server [WTS]) allows administrators to create and manage physical and virtual desktops using the same process and console.
  • Matrix42 recently added a Package Cloud that offers a catalog of prepackaged apps for enterprises to deploy without the requirement to create application-specific packages.
  • The product has a comprehensive end-user self-service interface that includes approval processes and compliance checks, and is independent of the Matrix42 service desk.
  • The vendor's lack of traction outside Europe will present challenges for non-European customers — namely, a lack of regional user communities and challenges finding system administrators with Matrix42 experience.
  • Mac management capabilities are incomplete, currently lacking OS deployment and patch management.
  • Patch management (including vulnerability assessment), remote control and package creation are not included in Matrix42's core offering and must be purchased as separate add-ons.


Microsoft has the largest market share in the client management tool market and continues to grow. The vendor's licensing strategy, offering System Center Configuration Manager (Configuration Manager) as a part of the Core and Enterprise Client Access Licenses, is its driving force, although it is no longer available as a stand-alone component. The 2012 Configuration Manager (part of the System Center 2012 R2 suite) is the current version, which includes many improvements from 2007, such as simplified infrastructure, role-based access control and improved endpoint desired state (including an ability to monitor the Configuration Manager agent). Microsoft's new Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) has dominated the vendor's focus of late. EMS provides a wide range of mobility, SaaS security extensions and PC management capabilities designed to integrate with Configuration Manager. Configuration Manager is a good choice for large enterprises, but small or midsize organizations may be challenged to get full use out of the product.
  • Configuration Manager has a scalable architecture, and its scalability has been proven by many large customers.
  • Software distribution is strong in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, including strong targeting and testing features.
  • Configuration Manager has tight integration with Microsoft App-V, which has become the most widely used application virtualization product.
  • Configuration Manager is server-heavy in highly distributed environments, which adds cost and complexity for organizations with a large number of small sites.
  • Configuration Manager lacks automated patch management for most non-Microsoft desktop applications. Organizations must patch most non-Microsoft applications through traditional software distribution or third-party patch management tools.
  • Remote control is frequently supplemented by third-party products. Configuration Manager specifically lacks advanced security and auditing capabilities offered by third-party remote-control tools.


Novell ZENworks Configuration Management (ZCM) is a client management tool with inventory, OS deployment and patch management features comparable to competitive products. Its software distribution is strong, offering advanced capabilities for managing application package dependencies and deploying applications to users (rather than merely to machines). Novell's recent focus has been on providing integrated MDM, as well as integration with Novell Filr and Novell iPrint. The vendor's presence in the client management tool market continues to decline. However, ZENworks is a good product, and organizations that are experienced and satisfied with it should have no compelling reason to switch.
  • ZENworks allows desktop applications to be managed dynamically. Applications can be launched taking into account user identity and location, time and other factors, without the need to develop scripts or a separate profile management tool.
  • ZCM has comprehensive software distribution capabilities; complex software distribution jobs can be managed more easily in ZCM than in many competitive products that may require more scripting or manual effort.
  • ZCM has a solid set of core management functionality, and gets positive feedback from users for its stability and strong codebase.
  • Novell does not have a strong brand in this market, and Gartner continues to see few organizations considering ZENworks outside of legacy Novell customers upgrading from an old version of ZENworks to ZCM.
  • ZCM does not provide vulnerability assessment or out-of-the-box security configuration assessment capabilities.
  • ZCM has a dwindling user community, with a very limited online support presence and number of user forums.


The Symantec Client Management Suite (CMS) is a comprehensive client management product. CMS offers a breadth of advanced functionality and high levels of flexibility that allow it to be easily adapted to address a broad set of enterprise requirements. In October 2013, Symantec released the long anticipated CMS version 7.5 after significant delay to improve stability and performance, and enhance capabilities across management functions. The response from customers to CMS 7.5 has been more positive than its last few product releases. However, Symantec's struggles with product stability issues, support and the ability to meet promised timelines have forced it to more heavily focus on regaining trust from existing users than on targeting new account wins. Symantec's commitment to the CMS product line has long been in question, and, while we remain concerned about the short-term focus on and investments in stand-alone client management tools, we believe client management is a key component of Symantec's longer-term vision of providing robust endpoint management and security solutions. CMS is a good fit for organizations looking for advanced management functionality and flexibility to customize their management tools; it is typically not a good choice for smaller organizations without client management skills.
  • CMS offers great flexibility in managing endpoints; there are many ways to execute the various functions, allowing administrators to tailor the product to meet their processes.
  • Symantec has a large installed base of customers, with one of the largest and most active communities of user groups and online forums.
  • Within its User Protection and Productivity group, Symantec has a complete portfolio of stand-alone products for client management, mobile management and endpoint security that can be combined to create unique endpoint solution offerings.
  • While improved in the latest release, console performance may be slower than expected, and the interface may be difficult and overly complex to navigate, especially for users without strong client management experience.
  • Symantec is unlikely to make significant new enhancements in the current CMS product. Gartner expects the vendor to focus on developing next-generation capabilities and solutions.
  • During the past several years, customers have expressed concerns about general Symantec support; specific complaints range from a lack of useful documentation to slow responsiveness to inconsistent support quality.

Vendors Added and Dropped

We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor's appearance in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. It may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or of a change of focus by that vendor.


Accelerite and ManageEngine were added to the Magic Quadrant.


No vendors were dropped from the Magic Quadrant.

Other Vendors

There is another set of vendors in the market that Gartner believes provides client management capabilities, but that have an approach to management that is specific to virtualized client computing architectures. Citrix and VMware are two such vendors. Although we initially considered these vendors for possible inclusion, after further analysis, we determined it would not be a fair comparison. Both vendors' tools should be considered as complementary solutions to the vendors included in this Magic Quadrant.
Another vendor we looked at but that was unable to meet every inclusion criterion is FileWave. FileWave offers many core requisite management capabilities, and may be a good choice for small or midsize enterprises with large Mac populations.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

  • Products must include the following functions for Windows PC systems:
    • OS deployment
    • Inventory
    • Software distribution
    • Patch management
  • Other functionality often included in client management tools includes:
    • Software usage monitoring
    • Remote control
    • Security configuration management
    • Software packaging
    • Scripting
  • While not necessary for Magic Quadrant inclusion, the management of non-Windows devices is becoming increasingly important and influential in client management purchasing decisions. Organizations increasingly look to extend much of the client management functionality to iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone/RT and Mac OS X.
  • Client management product revenue must exceed $10 million per year.
  • Products must be of interest to Gartner clients by appearing on their product selection shortlists.
  • Vendors must be able to provide product and support across multiple major geographies.
  • Vendors must provide at least five references for their client management products.

Evaluation Criteria

Ability to Execute

The Ability to Execute axis measures the vendors' ability to meet the current needs of client management tool buyers, as well as their ability to succeed in this market by gaining market share and achieving revenue growth.
Product/Service: We evaluated the core features of client management:
  • Software distribution
  • Hardware and software inventory, including software usage monitoring
  • OS deployment
  • Patch management
Other client management functions, such as remote control, security configuration management and software packaging, were evaluated, but received less emphasis than the core features listed above. In addition, we also looked at cross-platform and mobile support, workflow capabilities to automate client management processes, and self-service capabilities. Product scalability, usability and administration were also evaluated as they relate to being able to meet buyers' current needs.
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization): This criterion evaluated the size of the vendors and their financial performance. We also evaluated the size and growth of the vendors' client management business.
Sales Execution/Pricing: This criterion was influenced most by the vendors' competitiveness, pricing structure and the frequency of appearance on buyers' shortlists. We also evaluated the degree to which the vendors have a presence in North America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region.
Market Responsiveness and Track Record: We looked at the vendors' execution in delivering products consistently and in a timely fashion, the ability to meet new market demands, and how well the vendors receive and utilize customer feedback.
Marketing Execution: This was a measure of the clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message in order to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This criterion also evaluated the degree to which customers and partners have positive identification with the client management product, and whether the vendors have credibility in this market.
Customer Experience: We assessed the vendors' reputation in the market based on customer feedback regarding their experiences working with the vendors, whether they were glad they chose the vendors' product and whether they planned to continue working with the vendors. User communities are increasingly important to the customer experience; thus, we looked at the presence of user groups, vibrancy of forums and overall online presence.
Operations: This criterion evaluated the ability of the vendors to meet goals and commitments. Factors included the quality of the organizational structure, such as skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable vendors to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Table 1. Ability to Execute Evaluation Criteria
Evaluation Criteria
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization)
Sales Execution/Pricing
Market Responsiveness and Track Record
Marketing Execution
Customer Experience
Source: Gartner (May 2014)

Completeness of Vision

The Completeness of Vision axis provides an aggregate measure of the vendors' likelihood of future success in the client management tool market. We evaluated vendors' statements about future product direction, the degree to which current capabilities map to future demands and the focus of the vendors on client management requirements.
Market Understanding: This criterion evaluated the vendors' capabilities against future market requirements. It describes the degree to which vendors understand current and future customer requirements, and have a timely road map to provide this functionality.
Marketing Strategy: This criterion evaluated the vendors' overall marketing vision of their client management tools, including messaging and positioning and how they are communicated throughout the organization, and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The criterion evaluated the vendors' strategy and routes to market (e.g., direct versus indirect sales, and end user versus service provider) and the strength of the additional offerings they bring to market with their client management tools (e.g., endpoint security, service desk and asset management). We also evaluated pricing models and whether they map to customer requirements.
Offering (Product) Strategy: We evaluated the vendors' vision and ability to address and deliver on current and future market requirements:
  • MDM: This considers whether the vendor has a strong capability to manage smartphones and tablets, such as iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows RT and BlackBerry. While MDM is not necessary for inclusion in this Magic Quadrant, it does influence Visionaries quadrant placement.
  • Mac management: This evaluates product capabilities, plans to manage Mac OS X and the ability to provide functionality (such as inventory, software distribution, patch management, OS deployment and remote control).
  • Virtual desktop management: This evaluates the vendor's ability to manage physical and virtual environments. Application virtualization and HVD support are particularly important capabilities.
  • Integration with IT service desk and asset management: This considers whether a vendor has service desk and asset management products, how relevant those products are in those markets, and how well the client management product integrates with those products.
  • Endpoint security: This evaluates whether the vendor has relevant endpoint security capabilities, and whether those capabilities are integrated with the client management product. Endpoint security includes security and policy-based configuration management capabilities in the client management toolset, as well as endpoint protection tools offered as adjacent products.
  • Alternative delivery models: This evaluates whether the vendor has alternative ways of delivering client management functionality, either in the form of an appliance or as SaaS, and their ability to support hybrid configurations.
  • Self-service: This looks at the ability of the vendor to provide capabilities that empower users to service and help themselves. This includes pull-based software delivery options, enterprise application stores and portals, and support for workflow functionality.
Business Model: We considered how strategic the vendors' client management tool business was and how important it was to the vendors' overall success, and whether its client management tool business is structured, staffed and funded adequately to succeed.
Geographic Strategy: This criterion evaluated the vendors' strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries, as appropriate for the geography and market. (Client management tools are heavily penetrated in the U.S. and some European markets.) We also evaluated the vendors' strategy to penetrate new markets.
Table 2. Completeness of Vision Evaluation Criteria
Evaluation Criteria
Market Understanding
Marketing Strategy
Sales Strategy
Offering (Product) Strategy
Business Model
Vertical/Industry Strategy
No Rating
No Rating
Geographic Strategy
Source: Gartner (May 2014)

Quadrant Descriptions


Positioning in the Leaders quadrant is the result of successfully addressing the Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute criteria. These vendors have succeeded in all the following areas:
  • They understand future organizational demands for client and user management.
  • They have the ability to meet a diverse set of organizational requirements, especially those of large and mature enterprises.
  • There is consistent positive feedback from clients regarding the value of their products and the overall service and support experiences.
  • They have sustainable market share and financial health.
  • They demonstrate ongoing visibility and deal success in the client management market (Gartner tracks how often vendors are being considered by organizations as a measure of visibility).
  • They have the ability to service global clients, or have demonstrated the ability to deliver and support solutions to customers in North America, Europe and Asia.
The vendors in the Leaders quadrant have unique characteristics that position them favorably for future market success.


Challengers are defined by keen capabilities related to the Ability to Execute criteria; however, when compared with competitors, their products lack complete functionality and have comparatively few visionary features, particularly around emerging requirements to manage mobile and other non-Windows devices. This, along with the ability to support new management paradigms, is viewed as necessary to shape the future of the market. Their ability to execute will be proved by solid market share and overall strong functionality. These capabilities are bolstered by overall industry-leading fiscal health and broad geographic presence. There are no Challengers in this year's Magic Quadrant.


Visionaries have scores that reflect feature-complete products, and show technology leadership in providing differentiated or unique management functions that users have begun requesting, or that will have an impact during the next few years. A Visionary has particular strengths in certain emerging areas, but may lack a fully mature life cycle management solution, global market presence, brand recognition and/or large enterprise capabilities.

Niche Players

Niche Players can be good choices. They may have strengths in particular areas, but don't have the resources to invest in all the requirements we evaluate for the Completeness of Vision criteria. Organizations looking for products with specific strengths, or looking for only a subset of capabilities, may find that Niche Players' products offer sufficient capabilities and support. Niche Players often target specific segments or geographies, are new to the market, or sell their client management tools into their own installed base, rather than consistently as stand-alone solutions.


Client management tools all perform the same set of core functions. The right tool for any organization depends on a large number of factors, including, but not limited to:
  • Scalability and architecture
  • Ease of use
  • Support for Mac
  • Integration with MDM or enterprise mobility management products
  • Skill level of IT staff
  • Remote-office or home-user management requirements
  • Endpoint security requirements
  • Integration and inclusion with other IT management tools (e.g., service desk)
  • Resources available to manage the tool
  • Cloud delivery options
Organizations should not merely choose from vendors in the Leaders quadrant; they should create a list of criteria that describes their needs, and select from vendors that best meet those requirements. Organizations should use a vendor focused on this market that can meet their specific needs for at least the next three years. Strong focus should be placed on skills, training, process and proper product implementation, because these factors will influence an organization's product experience more than the specific functional capabilities.

Market Overview

Use of client management tools is widespread in both midsize and large enterprises. They are used by many organizations as a primary means to reduce cost of ownership, improve user productivity, increase IT efficiency and help enable a secure client computing environment. Client management tools have been around for almost two decades, and the market is fairly mature. However, ongoing changes in end-user computing are forcing client management tool vendors to continually innovate and evolve their products to address new requirements. The consumerization of IT and the impact of the Nexus of Forces are driving unprecedented change in the end-user computing space. In particular, bring your own device (BYOD), mobility, form-factor fragmentation and the cloud are requiring organizations to rethink the way they manage end-user computing environments. We have also seen a renewed interest in client management tools from organizations looking to update capabilities as a result of Windows XP migrations.
Client management tool functionality continues to evolve in a number of ways. The core requirements of inventory, software distribution, OS deployment and patch management remain constant, and tool functionality continues to improve in performing these tasks:
  • Patch management is increasingly becoming a bigger focus for organizations as they place greater emphasis on ensuring the highest levels of client security. OS-level patching has historically been the primary area of concentration, but, more and more, organizations are moving beyond just OS patching and including third-party applications. There continues to be significant variability in patching capabilities among client management tools. Licensing and integration of third-party products (e.g., Landesk-Shavlik and Lumension) are not uncommon, especially for non-native application patching.
  • Self-service capabilities are quickly becoming a client management tool requirement. Organizations see self-service as a way to enhance the management experience for the user, improve the efficiency in which software is distributed and potentially help save money on software licenses. Most leading client management tools offer basic enterprise application store or portal capabilities for distribution today, but few offer out-of-the-box workflow, something enterprises want. Self-service capabilities are a differentiation feature among client management tools, and will be an area of continued investment and focus by vendors.
  • The number of client management vendors offering SaaS-based options continues to grow, as does interest from organizations of all sizes, driven by a desire to lower costs, reduce management infrastructure and simplify management, among other things. Vendors are actively working to develop SaaS-based offerings and we believe most will have basic cloud-based functionality available within the next 12 months. While adoption of SaaS-based client management tools has been somewhat limited to smaller organizations, specific functions (e.g., patching) or use cases (e.g., mobile laptop users), we believe the future state of client management will be a hybrid of on-premises and SaaS-based functionality.
  • The growth of non-Windows endpoints and the lessening dependence on Windows applications continue to be the most impactful trends in the client management tool market. Organizations are struggling to manage the growing number of smartphones and tablets connecting to their corporate networks. This includes both corporate-issued devices and BYOD. All client management tool vendors in the 2014 Magic Quadrant offer some level of MDM capabilities, but the way they are delivered varies greatly from vendor to vendor, with most offering separate products that can be loosely integrated, at best. Organizations purchasing client management tools should closely evaluate the MDM capabilities of vendors, as the convergence of client management and MDM is still immature. The vast majority of enterprises still have different client management tool and MDM vendors.
  • A subtle, but important, paradigm shift in client management has begun: movement away from device management to user management or to the management of isolated enterprise environments across multiple devices. This shift is driven by the need to manage users who are increasingly carrying multiple devices, the acceleration of BYOD, and the new user-based pricing models already pervasive in mobile management tools and introduced with other software, such as Microsoft Office 365. Some consoles allow visibility to user-level information, but management remains at the device level. We expect this to gradually shift and eventually become the preferred method of management. Some vendors offer user-based pricing today, but management remains device-focused.
Client management is a mature market. Switching client management tool vendors occurs rather infrequently, especially at large enterprises. This is because there are usually limited meaningful technical benefits in doing so, switching can be a significant effort and the migrations can be time-consuming. This is particularly true where processes have been developed around specific tools. The main reasons we find organizations moving from one vendor to another are because of dissatisfaction with the incumbent provider or to get better pricing. In the midmarket, there are still many organizations with no client management tools in place, which makes it a focus area for all vendors and a highly competitive market. As traditional client management tools and mobile management tools start to converge during the next several years, we expect a new wave of migrations to occur as organizations re-evaluate their management tool strategies.