Verticals Look for Value in Servers
Enterprises are seeking more value when selecting a primary server vendor, according to IDC's "Server Vendor Satisfaction Survey by Vertical." Better value for money was the dominant factor across all vertical markets, but carried even greater weight among enterprises operating in the manufacturing and healthcare industries. Better system performance ran a close second, but was particularly important to financial services and distribution industries.
While better value for money was cited as the main reason for selecting a server vendor across most verticals, respondents within financial services, distribution, and the public sector did not respond positively to this question as much as other verticals did. This, says Daniel Corsetti, senior analyst, IDC vertical industry research, could present an opportunity that vendors could exploit. "This could indicate important opportunities for vendors to compete at a higher performance level than on the grounds of price alone."
Of the four server vendors looked at, IBM and Dell received high customer satisfaction ratings from respondents overall, while HP and Sun scored particularly high in certain vertical markets, namely manufacturing, distribution, and healthcare. Respondents in financial services, infrastructure services, and the public sector all indicated higher-than-average approval of Sun as their primary server vendor. "Despite the apparent universal appeal of IBM and Dell, it appears that HP and Sun are making strides penetrating individual vertical markets," Corsetti says. "Dell scored very highly among customers that were price driven while IBM appealed more to clients more performance orientated." Corsetti says Oracle was not included in these results because the company was not cited by enough of the roughly 3,000 people surveyed as being their primary server vendor.
Interestingly, the top three differentiating factors noted by those who chose Sun as their primary vendor were system availability, followed by better system performance, and better system functionality, according to the report. IBM received the highest satisfaction ratings from the healthcare and infrastructure verticals.
Previous experience was also cited as a reason for selecting a primary server vendor, but nowhere more than in the public sector. Corsetti says the lack of IT expertise within the government and education markets as well as lucrative and lengthy government contracts suggest that it is "exceedingly difficult to displace incumbent vendors in each of these markets," he says. As a result, he says server vendors should carefully weight their opportunity to gain share in the public sector before pursuing it too heavily.
Last, respondents from the healthcare industry, public sector, and services industry all indicated with greater than average frequency the importance of customer support when choosing their primary vendor, Corsetti says. "Low availability of internal IT resources typically makes these sectors more dependent upon vendor support to ensure system performance and up time."
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