In such tight finishes it is usually a few parameters that tilt the scales in favor of one over the other. In Microsoft’s case this year, these parameters included the diversity of its product range, its price vs performance ratio as well as the richness of online resources it offered. In fact, on most product quality and online support parameters, Microsoft has bagged higher scores over its close competitors.In a complete turnaround in fortunes from the year before, Microsoft bagged the #1 slot, up from #4 the year before. Last year’s winner SAP was relegated to third position, though enterprise business applications remain a close race with very little gap between Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and IBM.
Microsoft’s aggressive marketing campaigns over the last 12-18 months seem to have paid off with the system integrators and channel partners. Most feel Microsoft is innovative over its market development programs, is flexible in conducting localized promotions and is properly allocating funds for marketing (co-op funding). However, most of the after sales parameters proved to be the bane for Microsoft where it lost grounds to the likes of Oracle and SAP.
In fact, on product quality and online support, Oracle too scored highly missing out on a whisker to Microsoft. However, it was on the marketing parameters like allocation of funds for marketing (co-op funding) and flexibility in conducting localized promotions that Oracle slipped up a bit. Even channel relationship management is something Oracle needs to emphasize in the future especially on the consistency and effectiveness of its communication with channel partners
Both pre and post sales parameters emerged clearly as strong areas for SAP. For instance, SAP’s turn around capability in case of disaster/crisis and wide geographical reach have no match with its competitors. Throughout the year it conducts key events including SAP World Tour and many others with a focus of local priorities and roadshows for customers and partners.
IBM, on the other hand, emerged strongly on parameters on overall relationship Management in which it topped the charts. As the competition in enterprise business application is getting hotter it means partners expectations will be more demanding and vendors need to gear up offering more satisfaction in the days ahead. And it also implies similarly closer competition in future with prediction of a winner near to impossible.
Business Applications: Place of Pride
|Difference in Rank|
- Diversity of the product range
- Price vs. performance ratio
- Richness of online resources offered
- Less availability and competence of Account Managers
- Less presence of vendor’s service centre in locality/city/region
- Less consistency in honoring commitments made by the Vendor’s personnel to the partners
- Technological leadership of the product
- User-friendliness of the product
- Presence of Online Partner Portal & its effectiveness
- Less allocation of funds for marketing (co-op funding)
- Not enough flexibility in conducting localized promotions
- Less consistency and effectiveness of communication with channel partners
- Transparency in commercial terms and policies
- Promptness with which the schemes/incentive programs are communicated
- Interactive site for resolving queries
- Lack of innovativeness of market development programs
- Insufficient vendor’s advertising
- Less dedicated personnel for maintaining relationship