Magic Quadrant for Global Network Service Providers
As more enterprises require network services in emerging markets, global providers are turning to partnerships for coverage, rather than building their own networks. This makes it more important for enterprises to focus on service outcomes, especially SLAs, when sourcing their global networks.
This document was revised on 15 May 2012. The document you are viewing is the corrected version. For more information, see the Corrections page on gartner.com.
This Magic Quadrant assesses suppliers that can deliver fixed corporate networking services worldwide. Services to be provided include:
- WAN services, predominantly managed, including Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and IPsec virtual private networks (VPNs), and Ethernet services
- Voice services, including switched and dedicated voice, SIP trunks and IP telephony
- Dedicated Internet services, including managed VPN offers
In addition to traditional voice services, it is highly desirable for providers to offer value-added networking services, including, but not limited to, application-fluent networking, managed LANs, hosted or managed IP telephony, unified communications and managed security services. Integrators, virtual operators and carriers are included, but only if they provide and manage offerings that include data networking and converged services.
Source: Gartner (April 2012)
A strong financial position has allowed AT&T to continue to invest in global capacity and maintain a competitive position in the global network services market. While AT&T continues to aggressively pursue network service opportunities for U.S. multinationals, it remains selective about engaging in wireline opportunities with limited U.S. content. Its global portfolio of optical, Ethernet and MPLS services is less dependent on partners than many of its peers, and AT&T continues to add capacity in growth geographies. In global deals reviewed by Gartner in 2011, AT&T has priced wireline services more competitively than many of its largest competitors. Multinationals with a presence that includes U.S. locations should strongly consider AT&T for global voice and VPN services.
- AT&T has a significant attachment of managed services like voice over IP (VoIP), video and managed on-site equipment that allows enterprise customers to extend their global presence without a high requirement for in-region expertise.
- AT&T has an established track record with some of the largest multinational enterprises, which creates leverage for regional network investment and service innovation.
- AT&T's extensive portfolio of managed security and Internet services is increasingly strategic, as enterprises continue to build hybrid networks for a combination of cost and availability.
- AT&T continued to make progress with postimplementation issues in 2011, but still generates more Gartner client inquiries around billing issues than its peers.
- The global availability of AT&T's AVPN service offering is still a gating item for Gartner customers desiring VPN migration, with a number of locations still not available.
- AT&T puts most of its efforts into pursuing the very top end of the multinational market and U.S.-centric organizations, putting less emphasis on serving smaller, non-U.S.-based multinationals.
- While competitive in most deals requiring coverage in emerging markets, AT&T is less competitive than other leaders in this Magic Quadrant in opportunities involving coverage in South Africa and Brazil.
BT Global Services has now completed a major reorganization that saw it move from a country-centric to a more vertically focused approach to the market. While the process proved disruptive, the new organizational approach positions BT much better to deliver globally consistent networks. BT now has some catching up to do to regain its position as an innovator in network services, and to achieve stronger coverage in other emerging markets comparable to the strong position it enjoys in Latin America. Announcements of investments into Asia/Pacific and the Middle East and Africa are positive steps in this direction. BT is able to respond to a broad range of global networking opportunities, but is strongest when bidding on larger managed service deals, especially in its selected vertical industries of financial services, consumer packaged goods, global brands, and government and health, although government and health tend to have fewer global networking needs than BT's other sectors.
- BT is now well-advanced with its projects to integrate its multiple networks worldwide, and has made incremental investments in key regions, creating a much stronger, unified global network footprint, with especially strong coverage in Western Europe and Latin America.
- BT has an extensive portfolio of managed and professional services that has been renamed and reorganized to improve clarity and better align service components.
- BT has made positive efforts to catch up with leading competitors in Ethernet services, although its coverage is currently heavily weighted toward Europe.
- Service quality, which had dipped during BT's reorganization, has been restored to a high level.
- BT has historically been very innovative in network services; however, it has recently been less innovative, losing its leadership position in application performance management (APM), and lagging behind other providers in areas such as utility LAN services.
- BT's new customer portal is a significant step forward from its previous offering, but the company still has a long way to go to catch up with class-leading competitors.
- BT has made great strides to eliminate fragmentation and complexity in its network service offerings, but could undermine this if it returns to aggressively bidding on "your mess for less" outsourcing deals.
Cable&Wireless Worldwide has had a challenging time in the last 12 months, with two changes of CEOs, and a series of profit warnings and potential takeover bids. The Asia/Pacific region remains the least affected by Cable&Wireless' recent turmoil. Cable&Wireless has seen an increase in service quality issues, and lost its previous position as an innovator in technical and commercial approaches to enterprise networking. Financial services and technology companies are key industry sectors for Cable&Wireless. Cable&Wireless is increasingly focusing on delivering WAN solution complements by a broad portfolio of managed services. Enterprises with significant coverage needs in the U.K. and/or India should consider Cable&Wireless. On 23 April 2012, Vodafone announced an offer to buy Cable&Wireless Worldwide.
- Cable&Wireless has continued to roll out additional nodes on its Multi-Service Platform (MSP), globally delivering MPLS and Ethernet services, allowing it to offer high-speed services in the major global markets.
- Cable&Wireless has extended many of its U.K.-based managed service offerings to its global clients.
- Cable&Wireless network covers most of the largest markets globally, and is especially strong in the U.K. and India.
- Gartner clients report a high level of dissatisfaction with Cable&Wireless' service quality, although this seems to be less pronounced in Asia/Pacific, where quality seems to be acceptable.
- Cable&Wireless lost its former position as an innovator in the technical and commercial aspects of network services.
- The Cable&Wireless network has good coverage in India, but only limited coverage in Russia and China, and no coverage in Africa and Latin America, relying on partners to cover these markets.
Level 3 acquired Global Crossing in 4Q11. Integration of the two companies and their networks is beginning, starting with the customer-facing aspects such as sales and support; however, there is a long way to go in this process. Level 3 added additional capacity in North America, and improved coverage in Europe to Global Crossing's footprint, which was especially strong in the U.K. and Latin America, but did little to address the limited coverage in Asia/Pacific and Africa. Level 3 has a more basic portfolio of managed services than leading providers in this Magic Quadrant, but has strength in capabilities such as low-latency networking for the financial services sector, and content delivery network (CDN) for the media sector. Level 3 is developing its own managed security service offerings to replace the services from partners it currently employs, although they remain dependent on Presidio for a range of managed service offerings. Level 3 should be considered by enterprises whose networks require strong coverage of North and/or South America.
- Level 3's network coverage is extremely strong in the U.S., Latin America and the U.K.
- Level 3's pricing for services, especially high-speed services, is very attractive in markets where it has good network coverage.
- Level 3's wholesale voice capabilities should allow it to offer cost-effective enterprise voice solutions, although the necessary service packages are still under development.
- Level 3's network lacks strength in Asia/Pacific, Eastern Europe and Africa relative to Leaders in this Magic Quadrant.
- Level 3's managed service portfolio is more basic than that of the Leaders in this Magic Quadrant in areas such as managed LAN.
- The integration of Level 3 and Global Crossing is not yet complete, with differences in the services available in different regions, such as a separate portal for Latin America.
NTT Communications' (NTTC's) global network service capability is beginning to realize benefits from its parent company, NTT Group's, acquisition of Dimension Data. These benefits include increased coverage of Africa by interconnecting its global network with the African network of Dimension Data's Internet Solutions subsidiary and Dimension Data raising the awareness of NTT as an international network provider. There is scope for considerable further synergy as the companies pursue their integration plans. NTTC has also modestly grown its own network and signed additional network-to-network interface (NNI) deals to strengthen its international coverage. NTTC is strongest for enterprises whose networks have a major focus on Asia/Pacific and/or Africa.
- NTTC's global network covers the major markets either directly or via NNI partnerships, with special strength in Asia/Pacific and Africa.
- Clients report a high level of satisfaction with NTTC's service quality.
- NTTC's network service portfolio has been realigned around service quality, making its offerings very easy to match to enterprise needs.
- NTTC's new portal provides very rich functionality.
- NTT Group has a complex organizational structure, with NTTC a separate entity from businesses such as Dimension Data and security service provider Integralis, both of which provide service in support of global networks. While these organizations collaborate on specific deals, their portfolios and other structures are not aligned.
- NTTC's voice offerings, such as SIP trunks, and managed LAN offerings are improving, but still lag behind the Leaders in this report.
- NTTC's' sales coverage outside Asia/Pacific is less than that of its leading competitors, although sales partnerships and collaboration with its sister company, Dimension Data, somewhat offset this shortcoming.
Although its network covers more countries than any other global provider, Orange Business Services, in an effort to deliver cost-effective, deep, in-country coverage, especially in larger markets, is also making increasing use of NNIs. Orange has a corporate-level commitment to grow its business in emerging markets, especially Africa, and is investing in incremental infrastructure and staff in pursuit of this goal. Orange's Ethernet service coverage has been significantly expanded, addressing a previously weak area of its portfolio. Orange is strongest for managed service deals of all sizes, especially where connectivity to smaller or emerging markets is required.
- Orange's network has the broadest geographic reach of any provider, with good coverage in most markets, and particular strength in Russia and Africa.
- Orange has a very broad portfolio of managed and network services, including WAN optimization, APM and managed LANs.
- The quality of Orange's customer service and support is high, according to feedback from Gartner clients.
- Orange has a mature approach to identifying customer needs for different services and for renegotiating with existing clients, for example, proactively proposing benchmarking existing deals in place of RFPs.
- Orange still struggles to capture mind share for important new network services, despite having good offerings in most emerging service areas.
- Orange has positioned managed LANs as part of its unified communications portfolio, not its networking portfolio, leading to it miss opportunities to offer managed LANs as a complement to its WAN services, although the recent reorganization should improve this situation.
- Gartner clients report that Orange can be slow to respond to requests for changes, especially requests for quotation and provisioning of new locations.
- While Orange has deep in-country networks in some markets such as France and Russia, in other major markets, such as the U.S., the U.K. and Germany, it lacks such infrastructure, forcing it to rely on NNI connections when deep or extensive coverage of these markets is required, which can make it less price competitive.
Reliance positions itself as a network service integrator, combining its own assets, principally undersea cables, U.S. Ethernet and its domestic Indian network, with third-party services. Reliance has a longer track record of integrating third-party services and using NNIs than any other provider, and combines more services and providers than any other provider. However, as other providers make increasing use of NNIs, in addition to expanding their own infrastructures, this model is becoming less differentiated. Reliance also relies on partners for parts of its managed service portfolio, including security services, an approach other providers are moving away from. As an Indian-based provider, Reliance has access to cost-effective labor, without needing to offshore or outsource, and has accordingly centralized many functions to India, although this may have been a contributory factor to service quality issues that have been reported by some Gartner clients. Reliance Globalcom is strongest for managed services, especially networks with large numbers of highly dispersed sites, such as in the retail and engineering sectors, and has also demonstrated traction in global virtual private LAN service (VPLS) deployments.
- Reliance combines broad geographic coverage, through its integrator approach, with its own extensive coverage of India, U.S. Ethernet services and undersea cable assets.
- Reliance has a good portfolio of managed network services, including WAN optimization, APM and managed LANs, although it relies on third parties for some areas, such as security services.
- Reliance is leveraging services developed for its Indian domestic business to its global clients, such as SIP trunks.
- Reported quality is improving, especially in Asia/Pacific, but is still lower than leading providers in this market.
- Reliance is not innovating either technically or commercially in the network service market, possibly as a result of its heavy reliance on third-party services to construct its offerings.
- Reliance Globalcom's voice portfolio is centered around unified communications, with no discrete SIP trunk offer.
- Reliance Globalcom's portal is not as advanced as those of leading providers in this market, and although a new portal is promised, extending information from multiple partner networks to the portal will be challenging.
Sprint is a long-established provider in the U.S. domestic market, but makes a return to the global network service provider Magic Quadrant after a gap of several years, during which it tended to fulfill the international needs of its U.S. clients by means of a strong NNI agreement with Orange Business Services. Now Sprint is making greater use of its own global backbone, and has established additional NNI partnerships. However, Sprint is still focusing on servicing clients whose networks include a substantial proportion of U.S. locations.
- Sprint has strong coverage of the U.S. market.
- Sprint's sales organization is not tied to geographies, making support of multinationals with multiple buying centers much easier.
- Sprint has as a good customer portal for managing services delivered from its own network.
- Sprint's own Global network, while high-capacity, has significantly fewer points of presence and covers fewer countries than those of the leading providers in this Magic Quadrant, and it has only a limited number of NNI partnerships to offset this limitation.
- Sprint's managed service portfolio is basic, compared with leading providers in this report in areas such as managed LANs and WAN optimization.
- Sprint has limited sales coverage and marketing visibility outside the U.S.
T-Systems has continued to develop its managed service portfolio, especially in areas such as networking for cloud services and utility managed LAN services where it has some class-leading capabilities. WAN service execution has received positive feedback from Gartner clients, especially regarding proactive SLA management. For the last 12 months, T-Systems has focused on expanding its NNI partnerships, and has not added additional nodes to its broad global network. Automotive, utilities, media and health are the vertical segments T-Systems is focusing on globally, although of these sectors automotive and media have the most global networking needs. T-Systems is strongest for enterprises seeking managed services, especially when its footprint is weighted toward Europe.
- Gartner clients report a high level of satisfaction with the quality of T-Systems' services.
- T-Systems has a strong portfolio of managed service, including some class-leading utility pricing approaches.
- T-Systems has a mature and flexible approach to engaging with clients in areas such as contracting and solution design.
- T-Systems' network and sales coverage are not as strong outside Europe as some of its leading competitors.
- T-Systems' voice portfolio is weaker than those of leading providers in this market, with a more limited coverage and feature set.
- T-Systems' market recognition as a network, as opposed to an IT service provider, is lower than that of its competitors, resulting in it not being considered for as many opportunities.
- T-Systems' capabilities in emerging markets is predominantly based on partnering, which limits its ability to be cost competitive or offer differentiated network services.
Tata Communications continues a success-based build out of its global WAN portfolio, with differentiation based on its depth of coverage in Africa, the Middle East and India, where its coverage includes 220 cities. Tata Communications has aligned its sales structure around targeted vertical markets including system integrators, financial services, manufacturing and media. Its early focus on video carriage and telepresence exchange services has continued to pull through capacity, with larger providers now interconnecting with Tata Communications for added reach. Tata Communications is dependent on partners in growth geographies like Latin America and Central/Eastern Europe. This, combined with limited network density in the U.S. market, makes it difficult for Tata Communications to compete effectively for broadly global VPN opportunities. Tata Communications should be considered by organizations whose global networks require strong coverage of Asia/Pacific, especially India, African and the Middle East.
- Service delivery and service quality were differentiators for Tata Communications in 2011, which garnered positive feedback from Gartner enterprise customers, especially in the financial vertical market.
- Targeted network coverage in difficult geographies and competitive pricing allow Tata Communications to compete effectively as a second vendor in large enterprise accounts.
- Tata Communications has a strong portfolio of managed services for high-bandwidth applications such as video.
- Tata Communications has introduced innovative service offerings such as its Network as a Service offering of WAN services packaged on a per-seat basis.
- A lack of its own infrastructure in North and South America makes it difficult for Tata Communications to compete as a primary supplier for broadly distributed global networks.
- In a market crowded with very large and visible incumbents, Tata needs to drive additional mind share and brand awareness among multinational prospects, especially in the U.S. market. However, its recent deal with Formula 1 Management should help improve its brand awareness.
- Tata Communications' global portfolio of managed services is not as extensive as many of its larger competitors in areas such as managed LANs.
Telefonica has expanded the coverage of its own global network by continuing to add new nodes, and with NNIs to third parties such as China Unicom and to the various Telefonica national networks, predominantly located in Europe and Latin America. However, local fixed networking offerings and sales approaches at the various Telefonica operating companies vary considerably, with only a defined list of 250 large enterprises being directly served by the Multinational Solutions group. Telefonica should be considered by enterprises whose networks require strong coverage of Europe and Latin America.
- Telefonica's equity investment in China Unicom and corresponding NNI, has the potential to allow Telefonica to offer differentiated services in this important, but challenging market, as well as giving access to China Unicom's other Asia/Pacific points of presence. However, a product offering incorporating these benefits still needs to be created.
- Telefonica has been raising brand awareness by strongly marketing its global capabilities, and growing the number of accounts served by its multinational solutions unit.
- Telefonica has a class-leading global SIP trunk capability with a broad range of enterprise features and coverage in Europe, the U.S., Latin America, China and Australia.
- Only a defined list of 250 large enterprises is directly served by the Multinational Solutions group, with smaller multinational companies handled by country-level businesses that have differing approaches to fixed networking.
- Telefonica's network and sales coverage is weaker in markets such as Africa, much of Asia/Pacific (apart from China) and Eastern Europe.
- Telefonica's managed service portfolio is weaker than that of leading providers in this market, in areas such as managed WAN optimization and managed LANs.
Verizon has continued to invest in network capacity in growth geographies, and continues to leverage Ethernet NNIs to more rapidly interconnect with global partners. Continued investment in NNI and owned node infrastructures has allowed Verizon to compete more effectively in growth geographies in Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe. Verizon is also in the middle of a major program to transform its customer support capabilities that will continue throughout 2012. This program includes the centralization of support functions such as order management. This seems to be one of the causes contributing to a recent dip in Verizon's service quality. In the U.S., Verizon is reorganizing around vertical industries, something several of its competitors are also doing, but this is not yet being extended to other geographies in contrast to its competition. Global enterprises of all sizes should consider Verizon for managed and unmanaged voice and data services.
- Verizon continues to expand its own, already extensive network footprint, and is developing more NNI relationships at the national (e.g., Swisscom) and regional (e.g., Gateway in Africa) level to provide more cost-effective access.
- Verizon has been proactive, with improved global SLAs for chronic service conditions.
- Verizon has a comprehensive portfolio of managed services, including security, LAN and voice services.
- Gartner has seen a significant increase in complaints about Verizon's service quality, especially its ability to deliver new locations in a timely manner.
- Verizon is less mature than its leading competitors in terms of the contractual approaches it will offer, for example, being reluctant to accept benchmarking clauses.
- Verizon is now delivering far more of its WAN services via NNIs, so enterprises need to ensure that the customer experience and SLAs of these services are sufficient to meet their needs.
We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor appearing in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. This may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or a change of focus by a vendor.
Sprint now meets our inclusion criteria.
Level 3 Communications acquired Global Crossing.
Global Crossing was acquired by Level 3 Communications.
To be considered for inclusion in this Magic Quadrant, providers must meet all the following criteria:
- They must offer data (enterprise WAN), voice and managed network services to enterprise customers, delivering service and/or having points of presence in at least the top 25 markets (countries) in the world.
- They must actively sell enterprise networking services to organizations, at a minimum, in all the following regions of North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific, and not just sell services in other regions for delivery in those markets.
- They must generate at least $200 million in direct global enterprise network service revenue annually (excluding domestic business and wholesale).
- They must not simply resell network services from another global provider.
Our emphasis is on a vendor's service quality, pricing and track record. These elements are particularly important for global networks, because the issues of infrastructure, language and cultural problems become more complicated and prolonged than if applicable to only one country.
Source: Gartner (April 2012)
We look for a thorough understanding of what clients want in a global provider, which is different from the requirements of a domestic provider, because it inevitably includes third-party elements, and frequently includes a wider set of managed services. Network service providers should have a clear and evolving geographic strategy to meet the changing needs of customers. The portfolio should be broad enough to satisfy the evolving requirements of most enterprises, not just a specific vertical industry or customer size. While not prescriptive, visionary providers should have a clearly articulated strategy and market traction in evolving areas including, SIP trunks, APM and VPLS.
Source: Gartner (April 2012)
Leaders have a full portfolio of voice and data products, coupled with above-average service and support, wide global coverage and competitive pricing. They have a strong vision that includes adopting more information and communication technology (ICT) capabilities, which is a strategy they articulate clearly and openly.
Challengers exhibit good capabilities in the areas of service and support, pricing and coverage. However, their long-term plans are sometimes vague. They may not understand the requirements of enterprises or the market, but what they offer tends to be of good quality.
Visionaries have a clear understanding of the market and where it is going. However, they often lack the financial and people resources to execute on these directions.
Niche Players are often strong in a specific element of execution (such as service and support) or part of the product portfolio, or they offer low pricing. However, they usually lack comprehensive vision and resources.
While the global network service provider market remains intensely competitive, changing network service providers is a major upheaval, and it is tempting for enterprises to remain with their existing providers, without challenging them significantly. However, enterprise needs are continuously changing, with many enterprises seeking more services in emerging markets. In addition, unit prices, available technologies and the provider landscape are all evolving rapidly, so enterprises really need to employ competitive procurement strategies to get the best value for the money solution for their global networks.
Competition for global networks comes not just from the global network service providers covered in this Magic Quadrant, but also from the option of regional sourcing. Regional sourcing of global networks can be an interesting option when the enterprise topology, in terms of sites and data center locations, results in a significant regional grouping, for example, with European data centers serving European sites, North American data centers serving North American sites, etc.
There are now many options for technologies to build a global network with MPLS, Ethernet, Internet VPNs and hybrid combinations of these delivered over wired and wireless access options, with or without WAN optimization. In most cases, there will be more than one technical approach that could satisfy an enterprise's networking needs. Therefore, enterprises should focus their procurement efforts on specifying the outcomes they require, especially in terms of service levels, and should only focus on the specific means proposed to ensure that the providers' proposal is a credible solution to deliver these outcomes.
The number of global network service providers meeting the inclusion criteria for this Magic Quadrant has risen yet again, with the inclusion of Sprint in this year's report and several other providers approaching the inclusion criteria. The intense competition in the global network service market, coupled with competition from regional sourcing approaches, is having a number of effects on the market, not all of them positive. The pressure to deliver year-on-year, unit price decreases has led many vendors to centralize and/or offshore key support functions. This loss of local capabilities has impacted service delivery from some providers, especially in less mature markets, where personal relationships can be key to getting things done. As a result, while the measures taken and their consequences vary greatly among providers, there has been a drop in the average quality of global network services for the first time in many years.
Many enterprises are seeking more network services in emerging markets, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. We have, therefore, increased the weighting given to the delivery of services in emerging markets. However, enterprises need to recognize that these markets are difficult ones, from a networking perspective, with infrastructure challenges in some markets, and little or no competition in many more. As a result, prices are significantly higher and SLAs, especially for installation lead times, are lower or nonexistent, compared with services in more developed regions.
As enterprises realign data centers, transition to more real-time traffic like voice and video, and cope with increasing demands for Internet performance, the options for global networking are becoming more nuanced. Apart from outsourced approaches, few global enterprises are connected exclusively through a single, global WAN provider. A combination of factors, including geographic concentration, cost, dependence on partners and regional IT competency of the enterprise, has led the majority of global enterprises to evaluate a hybrid strategy that may rely on a global provider, but also makes use of regional or national networks, Internet VPNs and even private backbones to deliver reliable and cost-effective connectivity.
Most network service providers offer a broad range of other service offerings, from IP telephony through managed video and unified communications, to cloud services. However, as the product portfolio becomes broader, Gartner is addressing many of these services with targeted Magic Quadrants or related reports. As a result, while recognizing that it can be valuable to have additional services available from a network service provider, we have focused this Magic Quadrant firmly on network services, including WAN services such as MPLS, Ethernet and Internet VPNs, managed WAN optimization, voice (both traditional time division multiplexing [TDM] voice and SIP trunking), managed LANs and wireless LANs (WLANs). Gartner sees managed WAN optimization and associated APM services, and managed LANs/WLANs as areas of growing interest to multinational enterprises, and often closely correlated with the sourcing of WAN services.
The pressure on providers to reduce costs, and at the same time support enterprises moving into new regions, has led to a significant increase in the global providers' use of NNIs to connect their backbones to national/regional providers, with only a few providers adding significant numbers of new nodes to their own networks. Using NNIs, which increasingly use Ethernet, allows global providers to offer cost-effective services in new markets without having to invest in owned infrastructure. However, this approach can reduce competitive differentiation, as there will typically only be a few suitable local providers in a given market, so many global providers will end up using the same local providers. In these cases, differentiation between global network service providers becomes a question of the degree of integration the NNI delivers.
NNIs also can facilitate e-bonding various other systems, including trouble-ticketing, provisioning and billing, while presenting some of this third-party information via enterprise self-service portals. There are also different approaches to the provision of managed network services when using NNIs. Some global providers will place their own on-site equipment, such as a router, at the site connected to the NNI partner's network, while others will let the NNI provider deliver this. Combinations of these different approaches to NNIs will lead to differences in SLAs and visibility, compared with a direct connection to the provider's own global backbone, which enterprises must weigh against the improved pricing NNIs can offer.
Ability to Execute
Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor that compete in/serve the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills and so on, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization): Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.
Market Responsiveness and Track Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word-of-mouth and sales activities.
Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.
Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Completeness of Vision
Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.
Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.
Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.
Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.
Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.
Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.