SAP, PeopleSoft top customer loyalty survey

SAP and PeopleSoft, Inc. took top honors in a recent customer satisfaction survey -- but also took some heat for overall customer satisfaction.

SAP grabbed first place in a recent customer satisfaction survey, with PeopleSoft Inc. bringing up a close second.

Despite those rankings, the survey also showed that customers continue to crave better product performance from both companies.

The InterUnity Group, a Concord, Mass.-based analyst firm, came up with its customer loyalty ranking by asking 1,188

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customers of the biggest enterprise IT companies if they planned to evaluate replacement vendors within the next three years.

SAP scored the highest marks in that category. Less than a third of SAP customers will consider changing vendors through 2006, according to the report.

"Less SAP customers are planning to consider switching than anyone else," said Richard M. Sneider, director of

Survey results

The InterUnity Group ranked the top 10 enterprise IT vendors on customer loyalty, assigning each one a score.

The score is strictly quantitative and based on the average number of customers who plan to evaluate replacements in each of the next three years.

Higher scores mean more loyal customers, and 100 is the average. Here's how the vendors ranked:
 
1. SAP -- 128
2. Peoplesoft -- 121
3. EMC -- 116
4. Oracle -- 110
5. IBM -- 106
6. Sun -- 106
7. Microsoft -- 84
8. Dell -- 78
9. Computer Associates -- 75
10. Hewlett Packard -- 75

the InterUnity Group.

PeopleSoft was followed by EMC Corp., and Oracle Corp. ranked fourth in the survey. Hewlett-Packard Co. and Computer Associates International Inc. tied for last place.

However, HP had the highest overall customer satisfaction ratings. Sneider said those results could be attributed to HP's focus on commodity products such as computer hardware. Still, there is much competition for HP since its customers, while satisfied, have many opportunities to evaluate new vendors, Sneider said.

The evaluation ranked leading IT vendors in several areas, including product quality, product reliability, licensing policies and contribution to customers' profitability.

Even though SAP and PeopleSoft scored highest in customer loyalty, Sneider said both companies were insufficient in almost all the other categories.

There were many reasons why customers are loyal even though they aren't completely satisfied, Sneider said. Some of the reasons, he said included unfinished product depreciation cycles and the high costs associated with switching software providers.

"What we did find is that the more sophisticated users tend to be less satisfied (with vendors) than unsophisticated users," Sneider said.

Brian Witchger, vice president of sales operations for SkillSoft Inc., an e-learning company in Nashua, N.H., said his company has been a customer of PeopleSoft since 1999. The company uses PeopleSoft's customer relationship management (CRM) products to support its sales organization.

After completing an evaluation of all the CRM products available to them, Witchger said that SkillSoft opted to go with PeopleSoft's CRM product because of its integration capabilities.

"They will work to make sure that (the CRM system is) customizable to your needs or work with you to make sure that your needs are met in future releases," Witchger said.

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