by September 25, 2013 0 comments

When you as an IT buyer, invite quotations for a purchase order, how do you decide which vendor to choose? Do you prefer a vendor who can cater to a bulk of your requirements, or do you go for different vendors for different products?

Chances are that you’d opt for a single vendor who can cater to multiple product requirements. This avoids the hassles of identifying and choosing different vendors and then conducting separate negotiations with each one. I also helps in getting a better price, by giving you greater bargaining power. Plus, it even reduces the hassles of chasing multiple vendors for after sales service and support.

The only exception to this rule is when a vendor’s products or offerings are exceptionally strong in a particular category. So much so that you can’t imagine going with any other vendor.

This is the same logic we’ve followed while identifying the overall best brands in hardware, software, network equipment, and Internet/WAN/Support Services. If you see the results tables, you’ll notice that both types of vendors have made it to the list-those with multiple product offerings across categories, as well as those that are strong in just one area.
Presented here are the winners along with reasons.

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Overall Best IT Brand: HP

We have not one, but two brands taking the top spot for the overall best IT brand this year. These are HP and Microsoft. HP has strong presence in hardware, and moderately strong presence in networking and Internet/WAN services and support categories. HP doesn’t really need an introduction for any of the categories it’s present in, because it is a well-established brand in all of them.

Similarly, Microsoft, dominates the software segment with strong presence in 9 out of 10 categories we surveyed under software this time.
Moreover, its cloud platform, Azure helps it gain some mileage in the IWSS (Internet/WAN/Support Services) category as well, which is gradually becoming a cloud platform for buyers.

The second overall best IT brand is Oracle, while the third position is shared between Cisco and SAP, and interestingly, the fourth position is shared between Dell and IBM. Reliance sits at number 5.

How We Determined the Overall Best Winners?

To determine the winners in the umbrella categories, each of the brands should either have products and offerings in multiple categories, or, it should have extremely strong presence in a single category. Likewise, in order for a brand to score high overall, it should have presence in multiple umbrella categories, or have such strong presence in a single umbrella category that it scores very high.

So to arrive at the top brands in the umbrella categories (hardware, software, networking equipment, and IWSS), we added up the weighted scores for each brand from all the categories it was present in.Meaning, if brand “X” was present in multiple categories of hardware, let’s say MFDs, desktops, and laptops, we summed its weighted score from each of these categories. We did this for all the brands.

The brand with the highest weighted score was the winner and given 100 points, while the remaining brands were normalized relative to it.

To arrive at the overall best brand, we followed the same procedure. We summed each brand’s weighted scores from the umbrella categories. The one with the highest score was the winner and given a score of 100, while all others were given a score relative to it.

That’s why, you’ll find two tables in each of the five categories. The longer tables show the actual weighted scores for the brands, while the smaller table shows their relative ranking with highest scorer getting a score of 100.

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Best Hardware Brand: HP

It is no easy task to emerge as the top brand in the hardware category, which has ten sub-categories viz. notebooks, desktop PCs, tablets, smartphones, MFDs, laser printers, servers, tape drive, UPS, and projectors.

But HP has done just that. It has offerings in five of the ten hardware categories we surveyed this time, which is the highest of all other vendors.

These include laptops, desktops, servers, single function and multi-function devices. All other vendors have presence in 4 or lesser hardware categories.

Runner-up Dell for instance (which trails behind HP by a wide margin), has strong presence in four of the hardware categories, viz. notebooks, desktops, servers, and projectors.

Close on Dell’s heals is Samsung, which also has strong presence in 4 hardware categories, viz. smartphones, tablets, single and multi-function devices.

HCL is on the fourth spot, and also has decent presence in four of the categories, while the fifth brand in the list, Canon, has presence in single and multi-function devices.

Best Software Brand: Microsoft

Microsoft has offerings in nine out of the ten sub-categories we surveyed under software this year, and if you read the write-ups for those categories, you’ll notice that it’s the winner in many of them. So it’s only natural for the Redmond based software titan to emerge as a clear winner in this segment.

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But though Microsoft is a well-established brand across so many categories, the second brand in this segment, Oracle, is very close on its heels. Oracle has offerings in six sub-categories, i.e. RDBMS, BI, HRM, ERP, server virtualization, and CRM. Oracle’s domination in the RDBMS segment is well known. It scores well in the other categories also, and a part of the contribution in those goes to the various companies it acquired over time.

A little far at number three is SAP, which was present in 5 of the sub-categories. The software giant gives Oracle a run for its money in many of the business apps, viz. ERP and CRM, but it lags far behind in RDBMS and a little behind in some of the other areas it competes in with Oracle.

Vendors who occupy the fourth and fifth spots are interesting, because they have very strong presence in one software category each. VMware, which a name synonymous to server virtualization, and OpenCMS, which is a strong player in online CMS. This is exactly what we meant when we said that when it comes to certain product categories, some players are so strong in those that thinking of choosing another alternative is very difficult.

Sitting on the fourth spot is VMware, and there are no prizes for guessing why it’s there. It reigns supreme in the server virtualization category to a level where its name is considered synonymous to virtualization.

Best Network Equipment Brand: CiscoCisco continues to dominate the network equipment category, with everyone else trailing behind by a wide margin. It has always been a force to reckon with in network routers, switches, and security products. Now, after it acquired Tandberg some time back, the company has become a strong contender in video conferencing as well. None of the other players in this segment have presence in more than three sub-categories.

D-Link, which sits on the second spot, enjoys presence in routers, switches, and video conferencing, but not security. HP, which sits on the third spot, has excellent presence in network storage, racks and enclosures, and network routers, but falls weak in the other network equipment categories.

Dell enjoys decent mindshare in racks and enclosures, storage, and now firewalls (after acquiring SonicWALL).

Last in the list, IBM, received decent votes for storage, racks and enclosures and firewall.

Reliance: Top Internet/WAN/Services Brand

This segment is no longer about basic Internet broadband and WAN connectivity anymore. We’ve actually included six sub-categories in this segment–ISP, WAN Connectivity, Cloud Computing, Corporate 3G data cards, web hosting provider, and IT support and services (AMC). As a result, there are both telecom and non-telecom players providing their offerings in this space.The winning spot has been acquired by Reliance in this segment, thanks to its strong presence in four of the six categories, viz. corporate 3G data cards, ISP, WAN connectivity, and IT services/support.

However, the telecom giant is not sitting comfortably on the top spot in this segment. Close on its heels is Bharti Airtel, which also received decent votes in three categories, viz. ISP, 3G data cards, and WAN connectivity.

The third spot in this segment goes to Net4India, which could come as a surprise at first glance, but then, the company is a well-established name in the web hosting, WAN, and ISP space.

Tata Communictions and BSNL occupy the fourth and fifth spots in this segment.



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