Enterprise IT ranks the software vendors on ROI, licensing and customer relations

Big software vendors offer their clients hugely varying levels of customer satisfaction, according to a survey studying transparency of usage, licensing and pricing plus how easy they are to work with.

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Enterprises have hugely varying levels of customer satisfaction with the big software firms, according to a new report by IDC.

Citrix, VMWare and HP all managed to come top in more than one category across the eight surveyed, such as price and ROI, how easy they are to work with, clarity of licensing rules and transparency of usage and spend.

EMC was voted the easiest to work with, according to the IDC study, which surveyed 583 companies across a range of sectors on behalf of Flexera Software, the software licensing and compliance vendor.  

Other factors assessed were how easy the vendors’ applications are to manage, if they support cloud migration, how often they conduct compliance audits and whether they ask clients to pay true-up fees.

The report studied the 12 biggest software companies, which represent about half of the global software market: Citrix, HP, Symantec, VMWare, EMC, Salesforce, CA, Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Adobe and Oracle (by order of how they were ranked on value for money).

Doing well in one criterion did not guarantee success across the board. For example, although Microsoft applications were deemed to be easy to manage, respondents said their licensing rules are hard to understand.

The one consistent finding in the report was that Oracle came at the bottom of every category. When asked for a response, the company said "we don’t comment on things like this".

The Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL) recently published an open letter to Oracle’s board urging them to “improve trust and communication” with their customers over licensing and auditing practices, warning the firm will struggle to keep clients if it does not.

IBM, Adobe, SAP and Microsoft found themselves in the bottom three for a number of categories. The CCL has recently also asked for IBM and SAP customers’ views on licensing and auditing practices, as the “next most prolific [software] auditors after Oracle”.

Commenting on its survey findings, IDC and Flexera noted that relationships between software vendors and cstomers were complex and often subjective. "Software is such an integral part of any organisation's operation that its impacts are felt across the enterprise. Likewise impressions of the vendros are foremed as a result of these individual experiences." With the vendor landscape changing rapidly, strong customer relationships are increasingly important.

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