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Enterprise IT buyers shed light on server makers’ shortfalls in customer service and support

451 Research's latest Voice of the Enterprise report sees IT buyers rate server and converged infrastructure makers on their approach to customer service and support

Server manufacturers should concentrate on improving the service and support they offer enterprise IT buyers to make themselves stand out in an increasingly commoditised market, research suggests.

According to 451 Research’s latest Voice of the Enterprise: Servers and Converged Infrastructure report, when it comes to developing an understanding of their customers’ needs, server manufacturers could do better.

The report features responses from 730 IT professionals from around the world, which are then combined with feedback from the analyst house’s panel of 50,000 enterprise IT decision makers to gauge how they rate the pre- and post-purchase performance of their chosen server and converged infrastructure supplier. 

Within the x86 server supplier community, Dell and HPE scored highly with customers on multiple fronts in the pre- and post-purchase categories, including cost, but Cisco outperformed the pair in customer ratings for reputation, long-term viability, product performance and innovation.

Lenovo received below-average ratings in several categories, but secured a higher rating for long-term viability and product performance.

Christian Perry, research manager and lead analyst at 451 Research, said the report highlights an opportunity for server manufacturers to differentiate themselves and their technologies by ramping up their service and support.

“There is a clear opportunity for server suppliers to guide customers into next-generation technologies while preserving their current distribution of standard infrastructure,” said Perry.

“To seize this opportunity, suppliers must work more closely with customers and prospects to understand current and future business requirements.”

Read more about enterprise IT buying trends

And it is in the server manufacturers’ best interests to do this, particularly as CIOs have plenty of alternatives to on-premise servers to spend their IT budgets on these days, said Perry. “As compute infrastructure choices expand beyond traditional servers, customers are more critical than ever about their x86 servers because they must provide a better ROI [return on investment] than competing x86 servers, cloud services and converged infrastructure.”

From a converged infrastructure standpoint, a couple of areas that suppliers got marked down on was how well they understood their customers business and how much they charged for their technology.

“While converged infrastructure might fit more strategically within the IT plans for some organisations, it appears that the suppliers are selling primarily from a transactional basis, rather than a strategic IT basis,” said 451 Research in a statement.

“For customers that purchase converged products only to satisfy project requirements, this approach is probably adequate, but customers displacing large portions of their legacy server infrastructure tend to prefer suppliers that understand the businesses of customers in disparate verticals and regions.”

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