These 12 companies account for $200bn in software spending: But what do customers think of them?

Enterprise customers rank the biggest software companies by which are easiest to work with.

Sometimes an industry survey, even if small in scale, can reveal telling data.

Analyst house IDC and software licensing company Flexera have just completed their annual survey on the state of the software market. This year instead of the usual focus on the cost of licensing software, Flexera decided it to ask users how they found it to work with these software companies.

The researchers asked for enterprise software users' opinions on a dozen companies: Adobe, CA, Citrix, EMC, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com, Symantec, and VMware. Collectively these companies represent almost 50 percent market share - or more than $200bn in software spending.

I want to point out upfront that the survey had only 147 enterprise respondents so it's hard to draw firm conclusions, but it remains an interesting snapshot of customers' attitudes towards vendors.

While the software company rated top by enterprise customers in each of several categories varied, Oracle came bottom in each category. I contacted Oracle to ask for their comment on the findings, but have not yet received a response.

The organisations being surveyed were given a series of statements and asked if they agreed, disagreed, strongly agreed, or strongly disagreed.

When asked if a particular vendor was easy to work with, 69 percent agreed that EMC was, while a further 22 percent strongly agreed.

In contrast, when Oracle users were asked the same question, slightly less than half - 49 percent agreed - and only eight percent strongly agreed. Nearly half - 43 percent - disagreed.

When presented with the statement, "This vendor's licensing rules around mobile, virtualisation and the cloud will better facilitate our organisations migration to those environments," Citrix did extremely well. Some 66 percent agreed while 22 percent strongly agreed. VMware, Salesforce, and Symantec likewise got good marks in this category.

Only 47 percent of Oracle users agreed the company would better facilitate those moves, while 8 percent strongly agreed, and 45 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement.

Other highlights from the survey:

  • 91 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that VMware's applications are easy to manage, apply patches, maintain, and upgrade. Oracle scored lowest in this category, with 35 percent of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.
  • 89.8 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that HP's licensing rules are easy to understand, making it easy to maintain compliance. Just behind HP in this area was Citrix with 89.6 percent agreeing or strongly agreeing. Oracle scored lowest in this category, with 42.9 percent of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.
  • 93 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that it is easy for them to understand and manage usage of and spend for VMware's applications. Meanwhile for this statement, Oracle had the least favourable view, with 31 percent of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.
  • 94 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they rarely face software license compliance audits from Citrix. This compares to Oracle which had the lowest rating, with 35 percent of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

Further Reading:

Verizon sets software defined networking course

AWS lands more enterprise software vendors building on its cloud

Consumers fall out of love with tablets, but now businesses are smitten instead

Oracle CEO Safra Catz shoots down Salesforce.com buyout rumor

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