Price tops government buyers' concerns

Price remains the main concern for federal government IT purchasers, according to a research firm's survey of 148 departments and agencies.

The survey, which InterData conducted for its publication, The Canberra Report, found that while price tops the government IT managers' issues list in terms of importance - at 77.6 out of a possible 100, it is also the issue public sector users are least satisfied with-scoring 53.6 out of 100. General satisfaction with vendors also appears to have generally improved, albeit marginally, over the last six months. None of the 25 issues canvassed by the report descended into negative responses (below 50).

Even so, federal users are hardly over the moon. The five worst performing areas in terms of satisfaction continued to falter near breaking point. Price scored 53.6, account management practices 54.6, added value in a relationship 55.4, value for money 55.6 and being proactive in dealings 56.0.

The best performing vendors on price (of the 25 listed) were, in order: Dell, IPEX, SAP, Nortel and EDS with scores ranging from a spooky 66.6 down to 57. NEC, Computer Associates, Com Tech/Dimension Data, Telstra, Compaq and Microsoft all scored below the satisfaction line of 50, although all improved from previous levels excluding the now defunct Compaq.

In the account management stakes, NEC remained top dog on 70.4, followed by AAPT who moved from 64 to 68, then Sun on 62.8, EDS on 60.8 and PeopleSoft slipping to 60.4. Three companies-Telstra, Aspect, and Protech Australasia made it into dissatisfaction territory, with Telstra leading the pack on 49.2.

The best five overall performing vendors according to federal government users (in order) were NEC, Computer Associates, AAPT, Sun Microsystems and PeopleSoft, scoring within a convergent range from 64.8 to 60.6.

Responses for the report were drawn from CIOs and senior IT managers during November 2002. Since then, the Canberra Report, its stablemate The Corporate Report, and IC&T directory listing service InterData have been sold by banking research firm East and Partners to the Axiom Group, which recently acquired rural services portal Both surveys are understood to have reduced sampling frequency from quarterly to half-yearly, with neither seasonally adjusted. Neither East & Partners or Axiom would comment on the price of the deal.

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