Analyst Corner

Which Vendors Are Best Positioned To Increase Business In 2017

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Which vendors are either seeing revenue increasing or decreasing with their customer base this year? That’s probably the number one question we get at IHL.  To answer that question we recently asked retailers their investment plans with a list of technology providers for 2017.  That question provided a treasure trove of insights included in the recently published study, “2017 Retail IT Market Leaders Competitive Profiles.”  Highlights from the top 5 providers that retailers are increasing business with are provided below with some specific insights specific to each vendor.

Which Vendors are Retailers Increasing Business with in 2017


Table 1: Percent of Vendor Customers/Increasing/Decreasing Business in 2017 (Source: IHL Group)

Cisco – Cisco is very well positioned along with the top IT priorities that retailers told us about in our report “Amazon has a TIGIR by the Tail”. In every single category, Cisco customers rate the top priorities at a much higher rate than those they don’t work with. In most cases many points higher showing that upgrading the network is a major component of their customer’s technology strategy for 2017. Cisco customers are investing in Emerging Technologies at considerably higher rates than non-customers as well. With budget growth rates for Beacons at 16x higher, Predictive Analytics at 2.6x and IoT 5.4 higher than the overall core segment that don’t work with Cisco.

Microsoft – Microsoft customers are far more likely to be prioritizing a single customer data system (30%) verses the industry as an average ( 19%). They have similar emphasis on single transaction systems (26% vs 19%) and inventory visibility (30% vs. 19%). Those increasing business with Microsoft are investing in Predictive Analytics 18% faster and IoT at a growth rate 67% faster than those not increasing or decreasing their business with Microsoft.

SalesForce/Demandware – As a point of clarification this survey, when it went out, looked at Demandware and not Salesforce. As Demandware is now combined with Salesforce we share the results as Salesforce/Demandware. We would expect different results next year as the industry will have time to absorb the impact of the acquisition. Salesforce/Demandware customers have prioritized Upgrading CRM(77% higher) and Single Customer Data Systems (59% higher) than the industry as a whole. The emerging technology their customers are investing in more than others is RFID which their customers are growing spend 71% higher than non-customers. Salesforce customers are far more likely to view Amazon as a Supplier (41% higher) and Partner (31% higher) than the market overall. There are no major differences in how Salesforce/Demandware customers are viewing innovation from the industry as a whole.

Verizon – Verizon customers are very aligned with top priorities with a 126% higher priority on upgrading CRM, 187% higher for single customer system and 120% higher on single transaction system than the market. Verizon customers view innovation similar to that of the overall market. There are no significant differences in how they look to drive Innovation.

Amazon – Their customers prioritize single customer data system 85% higher than noncustomers and upgrading CRM 54% higher. Mobile and BI/Analytics is far less a priority. Not surprisingly, these retailers see AMZ as a sales channel 35% more, supplier 41% more, and partner 62% more than non-customers. What’s interesting as well is they also see AMZ as a competitor 15% more often. Amazon customers are 32% less likely than non-customers to use an external innovation lab. They are also 36% more likely to partner with a university and 26% more likely to rely only on established technologies. What is clear is Amazon customers are trying to ride the Amazon wave and are more concerned with the growth of their E-Commerce business than investing in emerging technologies in their stores.

Perhaps the most interesting data point is the rate as which retailers will increase development their own software (30% increasing vs 17% decreasing). This was the source for some interesting conversations at NRF. What is clear is that the software providers have to view retailers own IT shop as one of their bigger competitors.

These are the views of the top 5 vendors, ranked by the number of their customers saying they were increasing business with them in 2017. The “2017 Retail IT Market Leaders Competitive Profiles” reviews 30 top software, hardware and services vendors selling into retail. For more information on this study, see here.