Excelling in Spots: Customer Evaluations by Category

Enterprise Applications

SAP retains the top ranking for the third year. SAP is a company that inspires strong feelings among its customers—it’s on the top-ten list for most often receiving excellent grades as well as poor ones. Still, it consistently scores five to seven points higher than its main rival, Oracle.

While SAP’s scores have improved by several points from 2004, Oracle’s have dropped following the acquisition of last year’s enterprise application cellar dweller, PeopleSoft.

At 51.1 percent, Oracle’s score for meeting ROI expectations is the lowest of any vendor in our survey; it also comes in next to last among all vendors in three other categories, including flexibility, meeting commitments on time and on budget, and lowering costs.


Security vendors keep delivering value and reliability. McAfee is the vendor with the most-improved scores since 2003, and has overtaken Symantec for first place in the category. Symantec is no longer a pure-play security vendor; its acquisition of Veritas is the likely reason its ratings have declined. But at 91.9 percent, Symantec is still the security company with the highest customer loyalty. VeriSign, this year’s new addition to the category, fared very well in its first survey. Given the severity of today’s IT security threats, CIOs are fortunate to have found vendors that have earned so much trust.

Business Intelligence

BI vendor performance varies widely. The headline from our October 2004 survey on business intelligence holds here too: These tools still have unmet potential, especially when it comes to delivering value. SAS Institute, the only BI vendor surveyed in previous years, is the clear leader, although Business Objects runs neck and neck for customer loyalty, and SAS is the eighth-ranked company overall for solving business problems. Hyperion and Cognos fall between 55 percent and 60 percent in every rating category, while Cognos ranks in the bottom quartile in every category.


An improved Cisco Systems dominates the field. Cisco improved its ratings after dipping two points last year, thanks in large part to its higher reliability scores. Motorola remains No. 2, but it’s no longer close: Its overall rating trails by nearly 15 points. Other vendors, including survey newcomer Nortel Networks, follow even farther behind. Lucent may have been a top performer at the old AT&T, but it’s a distant laggard today. Lucent’s poor score for quality—just 59 percent—is especially troubling when Cisco beats all vendors at 89.7 percent.

Want to see how your vendors did in last year’s survey? Click here: Are Your Vendors Providing More Value?

Sprint Nextel leaps to the top in a vendor value shake-up. Last year, SBC and AT&T came in first and second in the category; this year, the combined company not only dropped to the bottom of the telecom list, but earned the lowest scores of any vendor in the survey. AT&T bottomed out with a 43.5 percent rating for lowering costs. Meanwhile, Sprint Nextel and BellSouth improved their ratings by 8 points this year, enough to leap to the top of the telecom heap. In Sprint’s case, it’s the first time that a telecom vendor made it to the top half of our overall rankings. Overall, this sector’s scores improved—but it will need to improve even more to fend off competition from VoIP service vendors.


Indian offshore firms prove their mettle. Respondents were asked to rank four Indian offshore outsourcing companies—Infosys Technologies, Satyam Computer Services, Tata Group and Wipro. And while not enough replied to list the results individually, in aggregate the scores compare favorably to their U.S. competitors. While these results must be regarded as tentative, they suggest that India’s Big 4 are competitive in both value and reliability.

*Indian firms include Infosys Technologies, Satyam Computer Services, Tata Group and Wipro. †U.S. outsourcers/consultants include Accenture, BearingPoint, Computer Sciences Corp., Deloitte and EDS. BearingPoint, CSC and EDS did not receive enough respones to be listed separately in this year’s survey.

NOTE: Unless noted, numbers represent the percentage of IT executives rating vendor as excellent or good.

To see how a vendor scored on individual ratings such as “meeting expectations for lowering costs” or “meeting ROI expectations,” download “The Big Picture” chart.

Survey Guide:

Are Your Vendors Fighting to Keep You Happy?

  • CIOs Describe Like-Hate Relationships With Vendors
  • Winners and Losers: Survey Shows Shifts in Customer Esteem
  • Excelling in Spots: Customer Evaluations by Category
  • How The Survey Was Done

    Want to see how your vendors did in last year’s survey? Click here: 2004: Are Your Vendors Providing More Value?

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