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(Nikkei BP Group)



(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)


New Year Special Features '99
















  • Dell Ranks Top in PC Servers in Survey on Corporate User Satisfaction
  • January 11, 1999 (TOKYO) — Dell Computer Corp. of Japan ranks top in Nikkei Computer’s annual survey on corporate customer satisfaction among major users of computers.
    A remarkable shift is seen in the top places of the PC server category and the UNIX server category as compared with last year’s survey results.

    Dell Computer Corp. of Japan earned first place in the PC server category, even though the company entered the Japanese PC server market just a year ago. (See table.) Dell Computer is notable for its hardware pricing strategy.

    Nihon Sun Microsystems K.K. succeeded in taking the No. 1 ranking in the UNIX server category. Although its support work has been poorly rated, Nihon Sun’s products have a reputation for excellence.

    Nikkei Computer conducts the survey each year (See Survey Methods.), targeting midsize and large businesses to ascertain user satisfaction. In the recent survey (the fourth such survey), questionnaires were sent to information system divisions of 7,786 companies, with effective answers received from 1,903 companies.

    The questionnaires specify “comprehensive satisfaction” and “satisfaction by each item.” The former is for evaluating products and services, and the latter is for judging the degree of satisfaction with performance and prices, independent of the evaluation of comprehensive satisfaction.

    The survey covers the three fields of hardware, software and application services. However, Asia BizTech will focus on the hardware results.

    PC Servers: Dell Earns Top Place in its First Entry

    Although it had relatively few survey respondents (just 68), Dell Computer achieved the highest score of 66 points, for “comprehensive satisfaction” in the PC server sector.

    Following Dell Computer, other computer makers are in a head-to-head competition for “comprehensive satisfaction.” Nihon Unisys Ltd. and Hitachi Ltd. shared the second place (with 64 points).

    Next, comes NEC Corp. and Compaq Computer K.K. in fourth place (with 63 points). IBM Japan Ltd. ranked sixth, and Fujitsu Ltd. ranked seventh.

    Thus, three companies with lower market shares are in the upper ranks, while four enterprises with larger market shares are in the lower rankings.

    As for “satisfaction by each item,” Dell Computer and Nihon Unisys were appraised highly. Dell Computer is seen as leading others in terms of hardware prices.

    Dell Computer got its top marks based on a high score of satisfaction (75 points), or 21 points higher than the average satisfaction level.

    According to the analysis done by Nikkei Computer, the “Dell Model” has contributed to increasing satisfaction levels among users in terms of price. The Dell Model aims at reducing inventory and distribution costs by producing on orders and taking a direct sales approach.

    The second place in the ranking of hardware price satisfaction is occupied by Compaq Computer, with a score of 62 points. Compaq made the best use of its advantage as the top-ranking corporation in market share in the global market (source: IDC survey in 1998). IBM Japan was the only maker with a score below 50 points. The remaining four companies had average scores.

    Nihon Unisys and Hitachi gained remarkably high marks in satisfaction with product-related services, such as responses to inquiries when trouble occurs.

    According to Nikkei Computer’s analysis, the most important factor that contributed to the high satisfaction rate is that all users of Nihon Unisys and Hitachi computers are provided with services directly by vendors offering services for mainframes. By contrast, Dell has a low mark in this area.

    In terms of “comprehensive satisfaction” of PC servers by type of operating system, the highest points were gained by machines using the Intel version of UNIX. Although the number of responses with this type of UNIX machine was not large (at 104), the degree of satisfaction expressed (64 points) is a point higher than that of the No. 2 ranked machine running Windows NT (the number of responses for which was 1,714).

    In the survey, no questions were asked on product names of the Intel version of UNIX. However, it seems reasonable to assume that many of the responses should refer to free UNIX such as Linux and FreeBSD, because there have been few deliveries of Intel versions of UNIX for commercial use in Japan.

    UNIX Servers: Nihon Sun Makes a Strong Comeback

    As for “comprehensive satisfaction” of UNIX servers, Nihon Sun made a comeback to the top position (with 65 points) after an interval of two years.

    Ranking second are IBM Japan and Hewlett-Packard Japan Ltd. (HP Japan) both with a score of 64 points. HP Japan advanced greatly from last year’s ranking by gaining 10 points in a single year.

    Fujitsu ranks fourth with 63 points, and Hitachi ranks fifth, with 62 points. Hitachi had earned the top position last year. Next, Digital Equipment Corp. Japan (DEC Japan) and Nihon Unisys gained scores of 61 points.

    And, following them, NEC ranks eighth (with 59 points). NCR Japan Ltd. is in the lowest rank with 49 points.

    As for the evaluation of “satisfaction by each item,” there are no significant gaps among target enterprises, except for NCR Japan.

    Nihon Sun should be noted for its high scores in various items concerning products. Nihon Sun ranks top in the following four items: hardware price, operating system price, productivity of application development, and variety of software product lines.

    Also, HP Japan scored high points, and the company’s popularity gained ground since last year. This was on the basis of HP Japan’s public notification of the PA-RISC development road map as well as its business plan to enhance the availability factor of UNIX servers to the level of mainframes (or 99.999 percent by 2000).

    On the other hand, NCR Japan is working hard to enhance its customer satisfaction. NCR Japan has provided a remote maintenance service, called Customer Care Link, since the spring of 1998.

    As for the evaluation of product-related services, Hitachi got high marks. The company won high marks for its support on introducing products and changing types of machine or operating systems as well as responses to problems. By contrast, in terms of quality of service, Nihon Sun got fairly low points.

    Mainframes: Hitachi Ranks No. 1

    As for “comprehensive satisfaction” in the mainframe category, Hitachi ranks in the top position for the first time without a tie, with 72 points.

    In the 1996 survey, Hitachi shared the top place with IBM Japan. And in 1997, it shared the top position with Nihon Unisys. In the most recent survey, Nihon Unisys is ranked second with 71 points, a point lower than Hitachi.

    As for the evaluation of “satisfaction by each item,” Nihon Unisys surpassed Hitachi in many items. However, Hitachi holds the lead over Nihon Unisys in “hardware reliability,” which users regard as most important. Thus the score in this item seems to push up the degree of “comprehensive satisfaction” for Hitachi.

    The second group, following Hitachi and Nihon Unisys, comprises Fujitsu (68 points) and IBM Japan (67 points). In the fifth-rank, namely, the lowest position, is NEC (with 64 points). That is two points higher than its score last year. Fujitsu grabbed a lead over NEC, although they shared the lowest position with the same score last year.

    Hitachi and Nihon Unisys are strong in terms of “satisfaction by each item.” Thus, there are two strong players and three weak players. Hitachi has not lost the top place in hardware reliability in the last three surveys.

    IBM Japan has scored high points regarding a variety of software product lines. This is reasonable when taking into consideration the large global market share of products occupied by IBM. Its business performance in providing UNIX service bundled with OS/390 apparently contributed to the high overall appraisal.

    As for “satisfaction with product-related services,” Hitachi and Nihon Unisys showed significant strength.

    Nihon Unisys got high evaluations for support on operating system upgrades as well as smooth responses to inquiries from clients. Hitachi got top honors along with IBM Japan in the area of product information service.

    Office Computers: IBM Japan Proves Strong

    Office computers are a type of general purpose machine running on unique operating systems. In Japan, this type of computer is widely used by midsize businesses. In this category, IBM Japan got the top ranking for the second straight year for “comprehensive satisfaction” (with a score of 70 points).

    Following IBM Japan are Nihon Unisys, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Toshiba Corp., Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and NEC. Each of those six companies has between 60 and 65 points.

    IBM Japan won the highest points for all items concerning evaluation of products, except for hardware prices and operating system prices.

    Nikkei Computer assumes that those high appraisals were attributed to the PowerPC AS using 64-bit processors and the OS/400 operating system. IBM Japan also is highly regarded in terms of productivity of application development. The company has been provided with various development support tools by independent software vendors (ISVs).

    As for their shares in the office computer market, Fujitsu and NEC are outstanding. Fujitsu has been evaluated with an average degree of satisfaction in each item. However, NEC was given severe appraisals in many items.

    *Survey Methods

    The survey was conducted by sending questionnaires and related forms to information system divisions of 7,786 midsize and large businesses in early October 1998. Effective answers were received from 1,903 companies (and the response rate is about 24.4 percent).

    The questions mainly deal with “comprehensive satisfaction” in evaluating products and services in each category and “satisfaction by each item” in judging the degree of satisfaction with performance and prices, independent of the evaluation of comprehensive satisfaction.

    Respondents were asked to provide their level of satisfaction on a scale of four: 4 as satisfactory, 3 as somewhat satisfactory, 2 as somewhat dissatisfactory, and 1 as not satisfactory. Those scores are converted to points between 0 and 100, by allocating 100 to the level of 4, 66.7 to the level of 3, 33.3 to the level of 2, and 0 to the level of 1.

    Target companies to be ranked are manufacturers that got 30 or more responses for “comprehensive satisfaction” and also gained at least 3 percent of all responses.

    In addition, Compaq Computer and DEC Japan were handled as separate companies because the survey was conducted just after Compaq Computer had acquired DEC.

    (return to news)

    Table: Satisfaction with PC Servers
    Target companies to be ranked are manufacturers that got 30 or more responses for “comprehensive satisfaction”
    and also gained at least 3 percent of all the responses.


    Vendor

    Dell Computer

    Nihon Unisys

    Hitachi

    NEC

    Compaq Computer

    IBM Japan

    Fujitsu

    Total/ Average

    Comprehensive Satisfaction

    66

    64

    64

    63

    63

    62

    61

    63

    Number of Responses

    68

    90

    212

    428

    236

    340

    585

    2,239

    Satisfaction with Products

    Degree of total satisfaction

    70

    66

    66

    65

    67

    64

    63

    65

    Performance

    72

    66

    63

    66

    66

    66

    63

    65

    Hardware reliability

    68

    70

    67

    64

    63

    64

    58

    63

    Hardware prices

    75

    56

    51

    54

    62

    49

    54

    54

    Ease-of-use of OS

    66

    69

    62

    61

    62

    61

    61

    62

    Load in OS operation

    58

    66

    58

    58

    60

    58

    54

    57

    OS reliability

    55

    66

    54

    55

    56

    54

    53

    55

    OS Prices

    57

    61

    57

    57

    58

    53

    56

    56

    Productivity of application development

    61

    58

    54

    56

    57

    55

    56

    56

    Ease of management of operation

    55

    59

    54

    54

    54

    54

    53

    54

    Variety of software product lines

    66

    65

    64

    64

    63

    61

    63

    63

    Satisfaction with Product Related Services

    Degree of total satisfaction

    56

    64

    62

    59

    56

    58

    57

    58

    Support on introduction

    48

    66

    64

    59

    54

    56

    58

    58

    Support on changing types of machine

    35

    63

    56

    51

    47

    51

    53

    51

    Support on changing OS

    35

    62

    55

    48

    46

    48

    50

    49

    Response to troubles

    51

    57

    58

    51

    49

    49

    49

    50

    Response to inquiries

    50

    56

    53

    49

    46

    49

    47

    49

    Information service of products

    50

    46

    48

    44

    43

    49

    42

    45

    Customer training

    31

    48

    41

    37

    31

    41

    39

    38

    Service charge

    47

    49

    43

    44

    43

    41

    43

    43



    Note
    Below table shows the names of major makers that didn’t meet the designated number of responses.



    Toshiba

    DEC Japan

    HP Japan

    Comprehensive Satisfaction

    64

    65

    69

    Number of Responses

    61

    64

    59

    Satisfaction with Products

    Degree of total satisfaction

    62

    69

    72

    Performance

    65

    70

    72

    Hardware reliability

    65

    68

    71

    Hardware prices

    54

    54

    62

    Ease-of-use of OS

    64

    68

    66

    Load in OS operation

    58

    58

    59

    OS reliability

    53

    55

    52

    OS Prices

    56

    58

    59

    Productivity of application development

    56

    59

    60

    Ease of management of operation

    54

    55

    54

    Variety of software product lines

    62

    68

    71

    Satisfaction with Product Related Services

    Degree of total satisfaction

    59

    62

    61

    Support on introduction

    61

    60

    52

    Support on changing types of machine

    51

    49

    41

    Support on changing OS

    46

    45

    40

    Response to troubles

    48

    55

    44

    Response to inquiries

    46

    55

    46

    Information service of products

    45

    48

    50

    Customer training

    36

    42

    37

    Service charge

    41

    43

    45


    (return to news)

    (Eisuke Mori and Mie Satake, Staff Editors, Nikkei Computer)



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