Study: IT users lack loyalty to vendors

A nationwide US study has found that less than half of IT users are truly loyal customers who want to continue doing business...

A nationwide US study has found that less than half of IT users are truly loyal customers who want to continue doing business with their IT suppliers.

Walker Information surveyed 2,259 decision makers, influencers and IT staff and asked them to evaluate enterprise and infrastructure software, network equipment, servers and storage systems.

Less than half of the respondents (47%) indicated a desire to continue doing business with their existing suppliers, while 29% said they felt trapped in that business relationship, and 21% said they planned to dump their vendor for someone else.

The results show that corporate users have fairly high levels of satisfaction with vendors, with about 80% saying they were generally satisfied. However, just 61% rated product quality positively and only 54% were positive about the value offered by the products.

The companies evaluated most often were Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Cisco, Sun, Dell Computer, Oracle, 3Com, Adobe and Seagate Technology. Walker vice-president Marc Drizen declined to disclose how customer satisfaction and loyalty levels scored for specific vendors.

However, Walker did note some differences among the IT product sectors. Software vendors may have a real challenge improving relationships with their customers: Their products are seen as having erected more barriers that keep users from switching vendors, and software costs were rated most burdensome. Networking equipment suppliers won the highest ratings for quality and value.

When the survey results are evaluated by type of respondent, they indicate that the people responsible for implementing and managing the technology are more keenly sensitive to lock-in issues than those who made the buying decision. While 26% of IT decision makers felt trapped, 30% of IT staff said they were unable to walk away from their existing systems.

Drizen noted that the decision makers are also slightly more loyal than the overall survey group, with half of them indicating loyalty. This may be because they were the ones to choose the vendor in the first place, according to Walker.

IT staff were also least sanguine about the quality of service and support. Only 45% rated non-technical customer service positively, while 17% rated it negatively and the remainder were neutral. Technical support received less than stellar marks from this group as well, with 49% positive and 19% negative.

Finally, in what may be a sign of a time when corporate malfeasance is splashed across the newspapers, just 36% believed their IT suppliers were highly ethical.

Walker Information can be found at www.walkerinfo.com

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