Compaq takes a hit and miss

Compaq Australia has dismissed a damning survey of 208 IT managers which rated its hardware lowest of the major vendors in key areas such as scalability and quality.

Compaq's low scores were among the most dramatic findings of a Computerworld US online survey which covered hardware platforms from Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM and Compaq.

The survey showed Compaq trailed its competitors in several server categories. In scalability, 95.8 per cent of Sun users said they were "completely satisfied" or "very satisfied", compared with 60.5 per cent of Compaq users. In quality, again Sun ranked highest with 95.8 per cent "completely satisfied" or "very satisfied"; Compaq scored lowest, with 71.1 per cent.

However, local officials rejected the report, claiming 208 IT managers was not a proper representation of how Australian IT managers perceive the company's hardware.

"According to IDC Australia, Compaq continues to lead the server market in Australia. We see this as confirmation of Australian customers' preference for Compaq Servers," said Compaq Australia's, Stephen Kendrick, marketing manager - high performance servers.

He added: "If a similar survey was conducted in Australia, we believe Compaq would rate highly for total solutions, including products, services and support."

An IDC Australia survey of 700 IT managers, conducted earlier this year, showed how Compaq compared to the average ranking for all hardware vendors -- Poor: Compaq 6% Average 2.8 per cent Dissatisfied: Compaq 4% Average 5.4% Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied: Compaq 24% Average 11% Satisfied: Compaq 46% Average 33.6%Very satisfied: Compaq 16% Average 22.4% Don't know: Compaq 4% Average 24.8%But when Computerworld spoke to some Compaq users in Australia, the responses were mixed.

"I stopped buying Compaq servers because of the unreliability. Two years ago we had Compaq servers throughout the company but they were extremely difficult to get parts for. It was escalated to a senior level within Compaq and still wasn't resolved," said Patrick Tey, CIO, Hoyts.

Tey added: "This has blurred my image of Compaq and I've moved onto IBM.

"Don't get me wrong, they are the best boxes in the marketplace but are let down by service and support, and their inability to deliver parts and hardware in time."

And Patrick McNamara, manager IT services for Argyle Diamond Mines, said: "Service has dropped off because Compaq has taken [its] eye off the ball."

However, on a positive note, Des DeCean, general manager engineering & IT for Austereo, said: "Our servers are new this week, and the scalability is one of the reasons we chose them."

The Computerworld US survey showed that Dell and Sun users were the most satisfied with IBM and Hewlett-Packard consistently faring well. Compaq trailed the other major vendors in most categories. Most respondents said they used Compaq servers, but the company scored lowest in 16 of the 21 categories.

Part of users' uneasiness with Compaq involves the company's efforts to integrate technologies purchased from Digital Equipment and Tandem Computers.

"This is typical when a company goes through a reorganisation," says Jonathan Eunice, an analyst at Illuminata in the US.

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More about Austereo GroupCompaqHewlett-Packard AustraliaHoyts CorporationIBM AustraliaIDC AustraliaIlluminataSun MicrosystemsTandem

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