Did Vendors Learn Anything at All from the Great Recession?
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There's a major trend worth noting in this year's study: the return to vendor value score levels of years past after a recession-fueled shift upward last year. In 2009, scores were up for two reasons: With budgets reduced, organizations jettisoned some vendors, keeping their favorites. At the same time, vendors worked harder than ever to please customers in order to keep them (CIO Insight, October 2009). As we put it then, "The only sure way for a seller of technology to keep pace on our list was to raise its scores."
This year, enterprises continue to use fewer vendors, but they also have lowered opinions about the ones they're keeping. In 2009, those we surveyed worked with an average of 11 major vendors. This year, it's only about nine and a half. The average overall vendor value score in 2009 was 73 percent; this year, it's 67 percent, a reversion to the 2008 average score of 66 percent.
That leads us to the following question: Did vendors learn anything at all from the Great Recession? Rather than capitalizing on the ways they found to retain customers during hard times, it appears that they are effectively taking for granted the core customers who stuck with them. Google could be an example of this: The firm has been so focused on rolling out new products that it has squandered the value gains it made with customers last year. After rising 4 percentage points from 2008 to 2009, this year Google's overall score dropped by 14.