Every company that wants to continue doing business has a vested interest in determining its quality. Metrics can often be used here like reliability, volume, and perceived value of the product or service offered. Scorecards—particularly those conducted independently—can do a great job of bringing several such metrics together, and one new such scorecard from Infonetics Research has proven to be a sound offering indeed, and good news for both Ericsson and Oracle, who scored high on said scorecard and showed the rest of the market what the top of the heap in service delivery platforms looks like. However, the competition is rapidly closing in, and this may make the service delivery platform market a volatile one indeed.
The scorecard in question, dubbed the Service Delivery Platform Vendor Scorecard, examines the top five vendors of service delivery platform software around, specifically Oracle, OpenCloud, HP, Huawei and Ericsson. Using feedback from service providers, market share data, financial data made available for public consumption, and similar tools, Infonetics Research was then able to establish an accurate ratings system for the companies and helps ensure that the measures are completely objective rather than having subjective coloring to distort the field.
Ericsson actually landed the top slot on the list, ranking high in terms of service and support, as well as overall product reliability. It placed in the top three results for every single criterion on the Infonetics Research study except for one: pricing. Oracle had a similar failing in pricing, but got such high ratings in two other areas—financial stability and solution breadth—that it made up for the loss, keeping up with Ericsson in many senses.
Along with these scores came some critical insights as well. The Infonetics scorecard noted that, for Oracle to maintain its number two position, and potentially reach number one, it would have to focus on growing demand for enterprise applications and solutions, particularly paying attention to the machine to machine (M2M) market that's been rapidly growing for some time now. Both companies, however, would have cause for concern as much smaller OpenCloud represented one of the biggest competitors in both innovation and pricing. Huawei, meanwhile, did especially well on the pricing front, so there could be some of that aforementioned volatility in this mix not too far from now.
It's a delicate balancing act these companies are engaged in; lean too hard on pricing and the other categories may suffer, but keep up the service, support and reliability and there may be lower-cost competitors waiting in the wings to land some of the business that can't continue to justify higher costs. Still, it looks like there's a clear advantage for Oracle and Ericsson here, and if it can maintain its level of service for any length of time it's likely to continue to hold the business it currently has if nothing else. Additionally, those who find the lower-cost vendors too unreliable might likewise make a jump to one of the other firms, making for further volatility within the sector, let alone what new firms entering the market might do.
Only time will tell just what kind of impact this new scorecard has on business, but it's a pretty safe bet that that impact will be felt somewhere in the top five—or potentially, below the top five—fairly soon.
Edited by Maurice Nagle