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HP On top Again

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DQC Bureau
New Update

The winners of the sixth Channel Satisfaction Survey were largely the same

vendors who had walked away with the trophies the previous year as well. In a

sense of deja vu, this year too, the channel voted for quality as the most

important attribute for being satisfied with vendors

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In a year which was abound by shocks more than surprises due to the global

economy slowdown, many well-established institutions started shutting down their

shops. Also not too many changes were visible in the expectations and

experiences of the Indian channel community, and this fraternity seemed to be

more or less satisfied with the efforts of the key vendors to ensure smooth

business.

This is evident from the fact that the companies which topped in the Channel

Satis­faction Survey this time were largely the same who were featured as

winners last year as well.

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Channel Satisfaction Survey was started by DQ Channels six years ago, with

the objective of finding out who are the vendors that partners are most

comfor­table doing business with, based on their business practices and who do

they perceive are the leaders in various product categories. Satisfaction for a

vendor can be termed as the vendor's performance on a list of important

parameters, where both performance and impor­tance are perceived by the

partners.

At a time when vendors are trying their hardest to gather their partners

closer to them in a bid to weather the slowdown, it becomes very critical for

them to know just how satisfied are partners with their business policies and

practices, making this survey all the more crucial while planning their business

strategies.

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Objective/Methodology



The other objective of the survey is to identify attributes that the channel

community reckons as the most important determi­nants of satisfaction. To

determine this, IDC India used the IT-Reseller Satisfaction Measurement Model to

under­stand the importance that respondents attach to each criterion used for

evaluation. These criteria were product quality, brand image, after sales

support, marketing support, commercial terms, relationship management and online

support.

A total of 700 channel partners were polled for the survey across 19 cities,

of which 33 percent each were from West and South, followed by 23 percent in the

North and the remainder were from the East. The respondent profile included

sub-distributors, retailers, corporate resellers, traditional dealers, solution

providers and value-added resellers.

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When it came to identifying the leading vendors across different categories,

respondents were asked to name the vendor, who in their opinion is the best.

Further, the respondents were asked to substantiate their opinion by choosing

one strongest reason from a list of five generic reasons. Given the broad

spectrum of products and services covered under the survey, the choice of

reasons was kept generic deliberately so as not to make them product-specific.

ATTRIBUTES THAT MATTER

Quality Comes First



The sixth Channel Satisfaction Survey clearly indicates that the most

important criterion for a partner to be satisfied with his vendor is the

'Product Quality' of that brand, which is the same result that came forth in

last year's survey as well. This year, the key attributes that the partners

voted for in descending order of importance are Product Quality, Brand Image,

Relationship Management, After Sales Support, Marketing Support, Commercial

Terms and Online Support.

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While last year's survey showed that emphasis on 'Brand Image' was higher as

compared to 'After Sales Support', this year partners were more inclined towards

better 'Relationship Management' vis-a-vis 'After Sales Support'. While 87.65

percent respondents termed Relationship Management as a critical area of their

satisfaction with vendors last year, this time around that figure has gone up to

92.93 percent, which shows that vendors who manage their relationships better

with their partners will have better buy in from them.

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As the world goes digital, partners are also expecting better online support

from their principals and 86.69 percent voted that this can help them become

more comfortable doing business with vendors. Surprisingly, the satisfaction

that partners have with 'Commercial Terms' offered by vendors has taken a dip

with 87.68 percent mentioning that as a critical area while transacting business

with vendors this year, as compared 88.97 percent of the respondents polled last

year.

The micro attributes that the channel feel are important to their

satisfaction index with vendors, in descending order are technology leadership

of the product, brand loyalty, strong brand positioning by the vendor, diversity

of the product range present with the vendor, price vs performance ratio, user

friendliness of the product, and finally product pricing. So all you vendors out

there, trying to play the price game, pay attention to what the channel say.

Product Quality



The Product Quality of a vendor was chosen as the macro attribute for

gauging the partner's satisfaction level with vendor and its sub parameters were

diversity of the product range, the price performance ratio besides taking into

account the product's technology leadership and user friendliness.

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The channel's satisfaction with the Product Quality offered by vendors

hovered at 85.3 percent in 2008, which was marginally higher than 84.4 percent

that was posted in the survey last year. Like the year before, this time too HP

India scored over competition largely because of the diversity of its product

range and its price performance ratio. D-Link India and Lenovo registered 88.08

and 87 percent, respectively, followed by Intel at 86.58 percent and HCL at

85.94 percent.

For all these vendors, their well spread product portfolio was the reason

partners posted their satisfaction, spread on a bandwidth of 37 percent to 39

percent of the overall satisfaction scores for product quality. The lowest

points were for their technology leadership, in the range of 10 percent to 11

percent for all these five vendors, as a sub-parameter for their product quality

total score.

After Sales Support



To understand the happiness with After Sales Support, partners rated vendors

based on the widespread presence of the vendor's service centers, turnaround

time and ability to offer repairs and replacements and the availability and

competence of account manager and helpdesk services. Besides this, a new

criterion was added in this year's survey, which was about the stock

availability for replacement at the vendor's service centers.

Needless to say, this is also one of the most critical areas which can make

or break a channel-vendor alliance. The average satisfaction level was at 62.6

percent, and surprisingly HP managed to top this to post 66.1 percent success

with the channel when it came to offering quality after sales support. Its

nearest competitor D-Link India stood at 64.5 percent followed by Samsung

Electronics at 64.1 percent, which was closely chased by Lenovo at 64 percent.

On an overall score, partners registered the lowest satisfaction for

turnaround time in after sales support, and availability and competence of

account managers and helpdesk services at eight percent, each.

Brand Image



Understanding the value that a brand carries means understanding the

respectability and favorable image that the vendor has in a specific target

market. Besides this, the other two micro attributes that comprise gauging Brand

Image in this survey, included the prestige the channel partner feels being

associated with that brand as well as the efforts the vendor undertakes to

position the brand strongly. This year, another attribute was added to get

better results-that of loyalty that the partner has for a particular brand.

Partners put a lot of onus on the prestige of being associated to a brand,

giving almost 41 percent to this attribute, followed by their brand loyalty,

which factored 25 percent to their perception of the brand image of a vendor.

Overall, partners were happy with the branding activities undertaken by

vendors and this reflected in their rating of 84.5 percent satisfaction levels.

Interestingly, the top five vendors in this macro attribute posted over the

average satisfaction percentages in this aspect.

Marketing Support



There are several components that make up a successful marketing support

initiative of any vendor. These include allocation of funds for marketing,

availability of point of sale material, vendor's spend on advertising as well as

innovative market development programs.

In recent times, however, partners also look at the vendor's flexibility in

organizing localized promotions as well as the manpower they have at their

disposal to ensure its success. These factors made up the micro attributes for

gauging the satisfaction partners had with the marketing support offered by

vendors.

And the survey results are indicative that vendors are not up to beat with

the expectations that partners have when it comes to drawing up marketing plans,

which reflects in the average satisfaction level of 54.7 percent. Once more, the

five vendors managed to rise above this average with HP India in the forefront

at 57.25 percent. Lenovo India and Intel India were close at 56.36 and 56.23

percent, followed by IBM and LG Electronics at 55.5 and 55 percent,

respectively.

Vendors Of Choice

Commercial Terms



Traditionally, while putting their finger on how vendors fare when it comes

to commercial terms, partners keep in mind the product pricing, profit margin

they can earn on it, transparency in commercial terms and policies defined by

the vendor as well as back-end incentives and its quick settlement.

This time around, DQ Channels also added other attributes like promptness

with which vendors communicate schemes and incentive programs to their partners.

For most partners, the pricing of the product was most important commercial

aspect under this macro attribute followed by transparency in communication of

the terms and policies.

On an average, most partners were 67 percent satisfied with the marketing

support they received from their principal companies. This is one category where

D-Link India surged ahead of competition to have an above industry satisfaction

level of 69.26 percent, followed by Lenovo India at 68.74 percent. HP India and

Intel India shared the same levels of 68.3 percent, while IBM India stood at

67.94 percent.

Relationship Management



It is clear that vendors need to really buck up on their relationship

management policies if they want to keep their partners better satisfied. This

attribute had the lowest satisfaction ranking average at 45.4 percent, which

shows that it has nosedived from the previous year's average of 70.7 percent.

Till last year, while deducing the relationship management driven by a

vendor, the survey took into account micro attributes like reward systems,

training and certification programs for partners, consistency and effectiveness

of communication with partners. This year, it also factored how well the vendor

is able to manage disruption in the relationship management due to change in its

personnel and whether it has dedicated people for managing channel alliances.

Another significant attribute added was consistency in honoring commitments made

by vendors' personnel to partners.

Samsung was ahead of competition in this aspect with partners registering

47.4 percent satisfaction with its relationship management, while HP India and

D-Link India found themselves at 47.34 and 47.26 percent respectively. Intel

India and IBM India stood at 46.69 percent and 46.17 percent, respectively.

Online Support



Last year, the channel voiced their satisfaction on the online support

offered by vendors going by the richness of online resources offered, overall

effectiveness of this mode of support, especially the turnaround time. This

year, they were also asked to rate vendors on the basis of presence of an online

partner portal and its effectiveness as well as presence or absence of an

interactive site for resolving queries.

A lot more partners were happier with the online initiatives of vendors a

year ago, posting satisfaction levels of 71.4 percent in 2007, as compared to an

average of 59.1 percent this year. This is strange, given that most vendors have

been trying to align their online support strategies to beat the challenges of

time and geography in reaching out to the channel. HP again managed to regain

its ground by posting 61.15 percent success with the channel in this aspect,

while Lenovo, Dell and Samsung found partners posting satisfaction rates of

60.77, 60.53 and 60.43 percent.

In this segment, partners gave very little onus on the richness of online

resources offered. What they wanted more from vendors was a more effective

online support system and the existence of a well balanced partner portal.

HP India seemed to have its fingers firmly on the pulse of the channel

community as determined by the results of the Channel Satisfaction Survey,

commissioned by DQ Channels and conducted by IDC India. Of the 16 product

categories, HP India was the top brand in six of them.

During the survey, respondents were asked to name a vendor, who in their

opinion is the best in each of the 16 product categories. Further, the

respondents were asked to substantiate their opinion by choosing one strongest

reason from a list of five generic reasons. Given the broad spectrum of products

and services covered under the survey, the choice of reasons was kept generic

deliberately so as not to make them product-specific.

Here's a look at who were the leaders in the different product categories.

Desktops



A desktop was defined as a personal computer in a form intended for regular

use at a single location, as opposed to a mobile laptop or portable computer.

Desktop computers come in a variety of styles ranging from large vertical tower

cases to small form factor models that can be tucked behind an LCD monitor.

This year too, HP was the winner in this category, followed by Lenovo at

second spot. Of the 455 respondents who voted for the best vendors in desktops,

323 voted in favor of HP. It garnered 60 percent of these votes for its product

quality, 47 percent for its brand image and 26 percent for its after sales

service.

34 respondents voted for Lenovo, while 30 voted for Dell. Amongst these

respondents, Lenovo bagged 43 percent votes for its product quality, 23 percent

for its brand image and 15 percent for its after sales service. Dell's product

quality got it the highest votes amongst partners who voted for it, at 41

percent, followed by its brand image at 39 percent.

Notebooks



In this category too, HP India was in the lead, while Dell India managed to

edge its way into the second position, ousting Lenovo, which occupied this spot

the last year. Of the 480 respondents in this category, 305 respondents voted

for HP and gave it 64 percent satisfaction marks for its product quality,

followed by 39 percent for its after sales support and another 37 percent for

its brand image.

Dell got 71 respondents opting for it, of which 41 percent were for its

product quality, 25 percent for its brand image and another 11 percent for its

after sales service. Lenovo's product quality found 63 percent satisfaction of

its 47 voters, followed by 24 percent for its after sales service and 22 percent

for its brand image.

X86 Servers

HP

India managed to gain on last year's winner-IBM India, to become the leader in

the x86 server product category. 288 partners gave their feedback on who was the

best vendor in this category of which 161 voted for HP, with the majority voting

for its product quality registering a satisfaction of 58 percent, brand image at

41 percent and after sales service at 33 percent.

IBM moved to second position this year, getting 104 responses, with 38

percent partners registering their satisfaction for its product quality, 22

percent for its brand image and 19 percent for its after sales support.

Inkjet Printers

The

order of the winners remained unchanged in this product category. Like last

year, HP India was at the fore front followed by Canon India and Epson India.

492 partners chose the leading vendors for inkjet printers, of which 451 went

for HP and 26 for Canon.

All three brands had good satisfaction scores when it came to product quality

with HP scoring 40 percent, while Canon and Epson scored 38 percent each. But

their after sales support needed to be spruced. Instead in this category, the

one attribute that was important was 'Most demanded product' where HP, Canon and

Epson scored 16, 23 and 20 percent, respectively.

Laser Printers

No

surprises in this category as well. Like the year before, HP India again emerged

as the leader, while Canon came second. Of the 474 partners polled, 408 opted

for HP, with them showing 43 percent satisfaction with its product quality, 31

percent for its brand image, 17 percent for its after sales support and 16

percent for its being a much demanded product. Canon got 37 votes, and these

respondents posted 37 percent satisfaction levels for its product quality, 19

percent for its brand image and value for money, each.

Monitors





Samsung continued to hold its own in this category as the leader and LG held

on to its second position as well. 358 partners gave their feedback in this

product category of which 177 voted for Samsung and 148 for LG. Samsung got the

maximum satisfaction votes for its product quality and brand image at 45 and 40

percent, respectively.

Motherboards

Intel

continued its stronghold in this product category this year as well, followed by

Asus, just like last year. 381 partners responded to chose the leading vendors

in this category with a whopping 323 opting for Intel.

Majority of them were satisfied the brand's product quality giving 42 percent

satisfaction scores, 19 percent for its brand image, 16 percent for its end

customer demand. But Asus posted a higher after sales satisfaction quotient of

22 percent, comparatively, though it scored lower than Intel in product quality

at 24 percent and brand image at 15 percent.

Processors

In

this battle of two, Intel again won first place with 378 of 391 respondents

voting for it, while AMD came second place. Intel's product quality kept 46

percent partners satisfied, while 25 percent were happy with its brand image and

15 percent were happy with its after sales support. Another 14 percent were

satisfied with it being a product demanded by end customers.

While 40 percent partners were satisfied with AMD's product quality and 15

percent were happy for its brand image and value for money, only seven percent

were satisfied about it being a most demanded product.

Hard Disk Drives

Seagate

retained its position as the leader in the hard disk drive category, followed by

Samsung-the same as last year. 329 partners responded for this category's

survey, of which 261 opted for Seagate, which found its partners happy about its

product quality (31 percent) and its demand amongst customers (19 percent).

Samsung's partners were more satisfied with its brand image and posted 21

percent satisfaction figures as well as its after sales support (27 percent).

Tape Drives

In

the secondary storage category, HP stayed on top again, while Sony was a close

second. 89 of the 147 partners polled voted in HP's favor, giving it very high

marks for its product quality (76 percent) and brand image (44 percent), placing

it above Sony whose scores in this aspects were 29 and five percent. Sony also

needs to work on its after sales strategies to get better satisfaction scores

from partners.

Wired Networking



While D-Link India continued to govern this space, Cisco managed to reclaim

its position by ousting Netgear from the number two position this year. Of the

404 partners responding to questions about this category, 295 opted for D-Link,

which reflected 51 percent satisfaction for its product quality, 23 percent for

its brand image, 19 percent for its after sales and 13 percent for being in

demand. Though its satisfaction scores were lower than D-Link in these aspects,

Cisco scored higher (19 percent) for offering value for money to partners.

Wireless Networking

D-Link India held its own in this category as well, though Netgear lost its

second position to Cisco this year. Of the 392 respondents for this category,

288 opted for D-Link, which scored satis­faction levels of 46 percent for its

product quality, 23 percent for its brand image, 16 percent for its after sales

support and 12 percent for its demand amongst customers. Cisco scored 47 percent

for its product quality, 23 percent for being the most demanded product and 19

percent for its brand image.

Structured Cabling

D-Link

India was the winner in this category this year, while Tyco Electronics moved to

second place from its erstwhile top spot. D-Link got the channel's fancy for its

product quality (50 percent), brand image (16 percent), and demand amongst

customers (12 percent), while the same scores for Tyco were 48, 7 and 22

percent. 214 partners responded to this category, of which 187 voted for D-Link.

UPS





This is one category where the winners were the same as last year. APC India

held the top slot, followed by Microtek as a distant second. 293 partners

responded in this category of which an overwhelming 217 opted for APC. Of this,

42 percent were satisfied with its product quality, 17 percent with its brand

image, 14 percent with its demand amongst customers and 13 percent for its after

sales support. In the case of Microtek, respondents were 38 percent satisfied

with its product quality, 19 percent happy with its after sales support and gave

16 percent satisfaction votes for its brand image and demand amongst customers.

Security Software



Quick Heal, which was at number two last year in this category, stole a

march over Symantec to emerge the leader in this category. 277 partners

responded on this category of which 96 voted for Quick Heal, with their

satisfaction levels being 30 percent for the product's demand amongst end

customers, 21 percent for its after sales support and 29 percent for its product

quality.



73 partners opted for Kaspersky, which got 34 percent satisfaction from partners
for its product quality, 22 percent for its demand amongst customers and 21

percent for its value for money proposition.

Enterprise Application Software



While Microsoft still retained its first slot in this category, Oracle had

to step down and make way for IBM in the second position. The enterprise

application software category encompassed applications around enterprise

resource management, customer relationship management, supply chain management,

relational database management system and business intelli­gence. While

Microsoft scored 52 percent satisfaction levels from 31 respondents for its

product quality, IBM scored a whopping 100 percent in the same attribute.

Vinita Bhatia



vinitavs@cybermedia.co.in

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