Working for a large IT or Telco vendor brings many perks but it’s not all plain-sailing. Having worked for the likes of HP and IBM, we know a thing or two about life in the megavendor fast lane: long hours, multiple internal stakeholders to please, ever-increasing targets to meet, ever-decreasing resources at your disposal, and of course even larger numbers of analysts with more varied coverages to service.
We also know that AR programs can vary widely from one large vendor to another, which is why we wanted to provide a ranking of these firms. We initially wanted to have a ranking of the ‘top 10’ megavendors, but we soon discovered that there are not that many companies which fit the criteria. In order to keep things serious, we established a cut-off point of revenues over US$20 billion, and in order to bring as wide a bearing as possible to the term ‘megavendor’, we decided to stipulate that those vendors should sell a mix of at least three of the following: IT hardware, networking equipment, telecommunication services, enterprise software, IT services and outsourcing, Business consulting.
The line-up of vendors included (in alphabetical order): Accenture , Cisco, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.
So what were the analysts’ views of the megavendors’ AR teams?
First of all, it’s worth pointing out that no single vendor stood out as providing a service recognised as being head and shoulders above the others. Second, it seems the analysts are pretty critical about the large vendors – all of which could improve their scores. It’s always worth to remind at this point that AR is providing analysts with a free information, granted in return for coverage (hopefully at least). In some cases, agendas may not be aligned and therefore their views on the service they get might be tainted by the fact AR might have prioritised other analysts. However, we believe that for successful long term relationships, interests have to be aligned or there should be at least clarity about the objectives leading to lack of engagement.
Bottom of the class is Oracle, with an average score of 2.1 out of 5, while IBM is top of the class with 2.8 out of 5. After IBM, Cisco and EMC share second place with 2.7, Dell and HP share third place with 2.6, Accenture stands in fourth place with 2.4, while Fujitsu and Microsoft share fifth place with 2.3 out of 5.
Things change only slightly when we look at the 3 Rs separately: EMC gets top marks for Responsiveness along with IBM, voted by the analysts as being the most important aspect of AR, but moves down a notch to third place for Relationships, incidentally seen by the analysts as being least important. Dell manages a slightly better score than HP for Responsiveness but the tables are turned when it comes to Results.
Overall, the results could be better: no firm managed to score even a middle of the road 3 out of 5. One explanation could be in the demographics. As pointed out in the previous post [link], two of the large firms did not collaborate with us so the numbers of their participating analysts are low”. Given the megavendors often prioritise the larger analyst firms due to the perceived level of influence these analysts have in the market, the missing votes could indeed have an impact. Likewise, a significant number of boutique analysts firms participated in the study – many of these firms are seen as having less influence and are therefore not prioritized by the megavendors who already have to attend to larger numbers of analysts. The low scores could well be symptomatic of the lack of attention these analysts receive.
We’re not excusing anybody here – in the freeform field where analysts were invited to provide feedback on what AR does not do well, many analysts decried the lack of responsiveness of AR pros, not to mention various other practices which make us blush from shame. On the other hand, we know only too well that often we just don’t have resources to answer all requests and this is probably the biggest problem of all that AR has to face.
AR professionals can sign up for the webinar on April 11th to get more detail on how the megavendors line up and complete rankings of the top AR professionals as chosen by the analysts themselves. See details below.
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WEBINAR DETAILS – IIAR members can register now for the announcement IIAR Webinar on the 11th April at 1600 BST. IIAR Webinars are free to attend for all IIAR Members, a good reason for joining the IIAR. For non-members there is a fee of $25/£15 (pay here) that is redeemable against IIAR Membership over the next 12 months. Join the IIAR via the form on this page, new members are always welcome !