Magic Quadrant for IT Asset Disposition, Worldwide

19 December 2013 ID:G00252132
Analyst(s): Rob Schafer

VIEW SUMMARY

This Magic Quadrant assesses the abilities of 11 significant vendors in the ITAD market to help you select the right one(s) for your requirements. It extends Gartner's ITAD research worldwide, and replaces 2011's Magic Quadrant on ITAD in North America.

Market Definition/Description

In response to the needs of Gartner's global client base, we have retired the Magic Quadrant for IT asset disposition (ITAD) in North America, and here replace it with one focused on the global ITAD market.

Although the North American Magic Quadrant was well received in its target market, we have received a growing number of requests from international clients for an evaluation of the worldwide ITAD market and its vendors. To that end, we have significantly broadened our research to include the global ITAD market and the principal international vendors that serve it.

As this is our first Magic Quadrant on the global ITAD market, we have set quite high inclusion criteria for vendors in terms of services delivered, geographies covered and quality of execution.

The range of vendors reviewed here will interest a wide variety of organizations with diverse requirements, from geographically specific ITAD services to truly global solutions.

Market Segmentation

Gartner divides ITAD services into three high-level categories:

  • Core disposition services.
  • Acquisition services: the acquisition of used or secondary equipment from ITAD vendors and their partners.
  • Ancillary services: full-service ITAD vendors offer many ancillary services, in addition to most of the core disposition and acquisition services.

We give fuller details of these categories below, with their associated tasks. We recommend that IT asset management (ITAM) and ITAD executives use the following categorization as a checklist for "make or buy" decisions. For each ITAD task, they should evaluate whether it applies to their environment, and if it does, whether it is best handled internally or outsourced to a specialist ITAD service provider.

Core Disposition Services: The following activities are generally associated with the removal and disposal/disposition of IT assets, and are listed in typical chronological order. Most ITAD vendors offer to perform some or all of these activities in varying degrees of efficiency and at varying cost. ITAD managers should understand their specific requirements and prioritize them against these comprehensive ITAD services to optimize negotiation of an effective ITAD contract that meets their financial, geographical, security and risk requirements.

All of the following activities must be performed to dispose of IT assets properly, but many (including deinstallation, collection and on-site packing) are often accomplished using internal resources. The three most important tasks to execute correctly, and to which ITAD executives should pay special attention, are data sanitization, transportation logistics and recycling. These three areas concentrate the most risk in the ITAD process, so they should be handled by an experienced, well-vetted ITAD service vendor.

  • Deinstallation: This task includes all activities associated with the physical removal of hardware and software from the existing site, in preparation for packing and shipment; an example is software harvesting, for which see below. These activities can be labor-intensive, and may require specific packaging to preserve the condition of the asset and any remaining remarketing value. Although most ITAD vendors offer deinstallation, we find that these activities are typically handled by in-house personnel as part of their organization's standard ITAM process.
  • Collection and bin rental: Weather-proof bins or a lockable storage area are often used to segregate and accumulate IT assets for disposal, and should be easily secured to prevent theft. In addition, it may be necessary to provide a staging area or storage room for asset packaging and shipments.
  • On-site packing: If space is available at the customer's site, on-site packing offers more security and protection for resellable assets than transporting unpackaged equipment to an alternative, off-site packing area. However, packing must be done properly to minimize the risk of in-transit damage and consequent impact on the equipment's resale value (indeed, to minimize this risk, many organizations have the ITAD vendor do the on-site packing). It is at this stage that security ID tags or serial numbers should be assigned for chain-of-custody tracking and control.
  • Transportation logistics: There can be significant security and cost advantages to having an ITAD vendor handle transportation logistics from the customer's site to the processing facility. However, ITAD managers should have a clear understanding of the vendor's precise transportation process and logistics. For example, is the vehicle sealed and tracked? Will the asset shipment go straight from the user's site to the vendor's, or will there be subsequent collections from other clients, or an overnight stop en route? Does the ITAD vendor use its own vetted employees and fleet of trucks, or multiple third-party carriers? If the latter, do the carriers specialize in IT-specific assets, and have their employees been through rigorous and routine background checks that extend beyond the initial hiring? Depending on the answers to such important chain-of-custody questions, different logistic risk profiles will emerge.
  • ITAM/ITAD executives should be aware that offloading transportation logistics to a third-party ITAD vendor does not necessarily absolve them of ultimate chain-of-custody responsibility. Specifically, even if title to the assets passes to the ITAD vendor at the customer's site (that is, at the beginning of the chain of custody), the customer can still be held "joint and severally" liable for any security breaches or the consequences of improper recycling. In general, ITAD contracts should have clear risk-of-loss language and clearly state when title passes to the ITAD vendor.
  • Theft protection (in-transit insurance): Although retired equipment may often have only minimal scrap value, insurance coverage is still important to manage security and environmental compliance liabilities. However, it is unlikely that standard transportation insurance will cover any consequential business losses associated with disposal fines or data loss/exposure.
  • Data sanitization and hard drive destruction/shredding: Whether used equipment is deinstalled for redeployment within the enterprise, for external refurbishing and resale, or for ultimate disposal, component recovery and recycling, data sanitation or actual hard drive destruction is a crucial activity to ensure compliance with both internal and external privacy and security requirements. The specialized software and appliances required for this process are often most efficiently and effectively used by an experienced ITAD vendor, which should provide certification that the data was sanitized to common industry standards (such as National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] Special Publication 800-88). To minimize chain-of-custody security risks (such as the risk of loss during transportation from the customer's site to the ITAD vendor's facility), a growing number of ITAD managers (especially in the financial and healthcare sectors) require that data sanitization be performed on-site, before the asset is removed from the customer's premises. Organizations not requiring on-site data sanitization should, at a minimum, use data encryption to minimize chain-of-custody security risks.
  • Remarketing/resale: One of the primary functions of ITAD vendors, remarketing/resale is the main source of revenue for most organizations and many ITAD vendors. Indeed, it is the critical denominator in the core ITAD cost-benefit equation, and often determines whether the vendor writes the client a check or an invoice (this obviously also depends on the equation's numerator: the extent and cost of the ITAD services being rendered). The organization's remarketing revenue will depend on many factors, among them the type, age and condition of the asset, the ITAD vendor's remarketing network, experience and contacts, the percentage returned to the client (typically 60% to 70%), and the general market conditions. Many ITAD vendors specialize in remarketing, and have been known to eschew older, low-value equipment that requires compliant recycling. Other ITAD vendors, which have a recycling heritage, will tend to assess IT assets for their recycling value first, and remarketing/resale value second.
  • Recycling and component recovery: This crucial "demanufacturing" function reclaims any serviceable components and recycles any raw materials from the asset, in compliance with local and national regulations. An important ITAD task that should minimize risks to brand equity, this and data security are the two core drivers of a formal ITAD process. Indeed, the growing visibility of corporate social responsibility — especially in large multinational organizations — is driving requirements for zero-landfill and zero-incineration solutions, and for data on recycling to appear in the annual report.

Acquisition services: As a natural outgrowth of their asset disposition business, many ITAD vendors also offer customers the opportunity to acquire used equipment, often to replace assets that have been disposed of. As with the traditional disposition services described above, ITAD managers should understand and prioritize their specific requirements against the acquisition services offered by ITAD vendors.

  • Trade-in management: Management of replacement assets as part of the standard asset life cycle.
  • Service provisioning: Services associated with warranties provided as a part of the acquisition and support services provided independently of the acquisition.
  • System imaging: System imaging services for server and PC assets.

Ancillary services: Some services are considered ancillary to the core ITAD business of asset disposition, and not all ITAD vendors offer them all. ITAD managers should consider each as an optional service that may or may not add material value within their specific environment.

  • Software harvesting: Specialist software tools can help identify software licensed with the asset that needs to be maintained and resold with it. These tools can also help identify software that can be removed so that licenses can be redeployed elsewhere within the customer's organization. If required, the ITAD vendor may also help to ensure that any remaining data is backed up and returned to the end user prior to secure deletion of all data on all storage media.
  • A key prerequisite for the extraction of real value from software harvesting is typically a robust software asset management (SAM) discipline — one that, for example, can determine whether the licenses associated with the assets being removed are accurately identified, and whether they can they be reassigned. Gartner believes that any active software licenses should be harvested as a standard SAM process before final asset disposition by an ITAD vendor. However, as some software vendors require documentary proof that their software has been removed or destroyed, certification from the ITAD vendor can be important to prevent licensing disputes.
  • Warranty look-up and provisioning: Determination of remaining OEM warranty and/or provision of extended warranty coverage.
  • Lease return management: Assistance for clients in relation to lease return logistics (such as proper deinstallation to ensure ongoing maintenance eligibility, packaging, condition assessments, shipping and data cleansing). This is an often-overlooked task that can result in significant additional costs at a lease's end of term. Thorough lease return preparation can minimize or even eliminate costly lessor chargeback fees (such as for refurbishment of damaged assets, missing parts and additional data sanitization) that can easily add up to 7% to 10% of the asset's original purchase price (and are rarely budgeted for as part of the original lease analysis).
  • Donations of usable equipment: Assistance for clients in preparing assets for charitable donations (packaging, value determination, shipping and data cleansing, for example). It is important not to underestimate the paperwork required for both donations and employee sales (see below), which can be significant and, if not executed properly, can expose the donor company to material liabilities. In addition, the operating system should be reinstalled by an authorized OEM (often the ITAD vendor), and the recipient must understand the limitations of both the received hardware and the installed software. As charitable donations can often have tax implications, ITAM and ITAD executives should ensure their legal and tax departments are involved as well.
  • Some ITAD vendors are beginning to offer full life cycle services to recipients of such charitable donations. Specifically, in addition to front-end preparation and delivery of the refurbished asset, the ITAD vendor can relieve the receiving charitable organization of the responsibility for its ultimate removal and disposal, making the entire transaction significantly more attractive and beneficial.
  • Nonetheless, security and compliance concerns are fueling a trend away from both charitable donations and sales to employees (see below). Organizations are finding that often unrealistic end-user quality and support expectations, combined with data sanitization and environmental recycling risks, mean that both donations and employee sales are not worth the effort.
  • Sales to employees: Assistance for clients in preparing assets for sale to employees (help with packaging, value determination, data cleansing and so on). Gartner's research indicates that demand for this is fading with the growing trend for bring-your-own-device schemes in which assets begin and end their life cycle in the ownership of employees.
  • Redeployment: Internal redeployment of client assets (for example, deinstallation, inventorying, data cleansing, packaging, shipping, unpacking and installing).

Upcoming Challenges

The global ITAD industry and its service providers are facing major shifts in the nature of this business, its product mix, and the global compliance requirements of data security and environmental recycling. As the industry's traditional desktop and laptop business continues to slow dramatically (see "Forecast: Desk-Based PCs, Notebooks, Ultramobiles and Tablets, Worldwide, 2011-2017, 3Q13 Update"), users and vendors are seeing a dramatic shift in disposition demand toward mobile devices. This shift represents both a threat and an opportunity, as new generations of mobile device generate new data security and recycling challenges but also promise higher back-end residual values from their shorter life cycles.

Compounding the challenges of this "brave new world" of ITAD will be the "Internet of Things" and the rapidly growing number of smart devices (see "Hype Cycle for the Internet of Things, 2013"). While ostensibly outside the IT organization's purview and responsibility for disposition, we believe these developments will require a focused, disciplined approach to the two core areas of ITAD risk: data security and environmental recycling.

Magic Quadrant

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for IT Asset Disposition, Worldwide
Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for IT Asset Disposition, Worldwide

Source: Gartner (December 2013)

Vendor Strengths and Cautions

Apto Solutions

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., Apto Solutions, which was founded in 2001, is privately held and has over 100 direct ITAD employees. ITAD is Apto's only line of business and Gartner estimates its annual revenue to be $30 million to $40 million. Although Apto's ITAD business and facility infrastructure are highly North America-centric, we believe it generates about one-quarter of its revenue outside North America, with roughly 10% coming from EMEA and another 10% from Asia/Pacific. To deliver on international (non-North American) projects, Apto uses a hybrid model of direct and indirect ITAD services, which typically involves sending a project team of Apto employees to customers' sites to manage a local support team and work with logistics and recycling partners.

Apto has three R2-certified ITAD processing facilities in the U.S. (164,000 square feet in total) and a single 20,000-square-foot facility in Germany. All four are International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001- and ISO 14001-certified.

Strengths
  • Apto's enterprisewide capabilities can handle a wide range of IT assets, from desktop and mobile devices to data center equipment, enterprise servers and storage systems, and telecommunications and networking infrastructure.
  • Apto has good technical and remarketing expertise to process and sell complex systems, such as high-end storage systems, telecommunications equipment and servers.
  • Customers' feedback indicates that Apto has a robust and detailed global asset tracking and reporting system that is easily accessible via an online portal.
Cautions
  • With just over 100 U.S.-centric employees, Apto may find it challenging to scale quickly its hybrid direct-and-indirect ITAD services approach for high-volume international delivery.
  • Feedback from some customers indicates that Apto could do a better job of communicating changes in the status of its transportation logistics.

Arrow Electronics

Arrow Electronics, based in Colorado, U.S., is a $20 billion global electronic product and service company that from 2010 to 2012 acquired a major presence in the global ITAD market through a six-company, U.S.-centric acquisition spree. Its ITAD brand, Arrow Value Recovery, has 19 owned and operated facilities worldwide, totaling 1.3 million square feet, about 70% of which is located in the U.S. Although in the Asia/Pacific region Arrow uses only vetted partners, we believe its long-term intention is to develop an owned and operated presence in Asia/Pacific as well.

Arrow's global compliance strategy is to have a single policy based on best-in-class standards that can be applied globally and consistently. To that end, all 19 global facilities are (or soon will be) ISO 9001-, ISO 14001- and Occupation Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001-certified, and Arrow has committed to gaining both R2 and e-Stewards certifications for all its U.S. and European facilities (all its U.S. facilities are already R2-certified).

Arrow has a similar data security strategy, and is focused on achieving Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), Asset Disposal & Information Security Alliance (ADISA) and ISO 27001 certifications at all its global ITAD facilities.

Strengths
  • Arrow's substantial global presence, resources and infrastructure give significant credibility to its long-term strategy for becoming a major global ITAD service provider.
  • Arrow's strategy of targeting consistent global "highest common denominator" standards for both data security and environmental compliance has the potential to deliver a lower-risk global ITAD solution.
  • Customer feedback indicates that Arrow has an increasingly robust ability thoroughly to track the flow of demanufactured materials downstream, which can minimize the risk of environmental noncompliance.
Cautions
  • Arrow's owned and operated physical-facility presence is U.S.-centric, with most of its European ITAD services delivered through a combination of partners and a growing collection of nine European facilities. In Asia/Pacific, Arrow delivers exclusively through partners. In Latin America, Arrow recently opened its first owned and operated facility, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Customers indicate that issues with back-end integration and reporting tools continue to challenge Arrow, and that its online portal could be more robust, more user-friendly and easier to use.

dataserv

Headquartered in London, U.K., dataserv is an EMEA-centric ITAD service provider with 2012 ITAD revenue of $35 million to $45 million. Its 270,000 square feet of owned and operated ITAD processing capacity is spread over 18 facilities worldwide — 13 in Europe, one each in South Africa, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and India, and two in the U.S. (New Jersey). Consistent with this EMEA-centric physical presence, dataserv uses no partners in EMEA (nor does it in the U.S.), and it derives over 80% of its ITAD revenue from its EMEA operations. The company delivers ITAD services through partners in Asia/Pacific, Latin America, Canada and Mexico.

All of dataserv's global facilities are ISO 9001-, ISO 14001-, ISO 27001- and OHSAS 18001-certified; its New Jersey facilities are both R2- and e-Stewards-certified; and its India facility is R2-certified and will soon be e-Stewards-certified.

Strengths
  • Dataserv has a significant "wholesale" ITAD business delivering back-end ITAD services for several OEMs, which accounts for roughly 40% of its revenue. This is often a good indication of process quality, as OEMs are typically among the most demanding ITAD users.
  • Feedback from customers and partners indicates that dataserv's homegrown, Oracle-based back-end tracking systems — for IT assets, demanufactured materials and online trading — are robust and effective.
  • EMEA customers indicate that dataserv is well-balanced in both main aspects of ITAD: delivering good refurbishing and remarketing value, and strong back-end recycling capabilities.
Cautions
  • With less than 20% of its ITAD revenue coming from outside its core market of EMEA, dataserv faces a challenge to deliver robust ITAD services in the U.S. without partners and with limited owned and operated capacity (30,000 square feet in New Jersey).
  • Although dataserv's revenue growth slowed to less than 10% in 2012, its global customer base grew by 40%. While dataserv's strategy of pursuing slower organic growth, rather than faster growth through acquisitions, can be frustrating for both existing and prospective customers, its current direction points to reasonably strong long-term prospects.

Dell

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Texas, U.S., Dell is a global technology company with revenue of $57 billion (FY13) that sells and supports computers and related products and services. Dell's ITAD service business is a relatively small part of its global business (less than $100 million in annual revenue by Gartner's estimate), and is delivered exclusively through a global network of Environmental Partners. The large majority of Dell's ITAD revenue is generated in North America and South America, but it has a robust partner capability in all major geographies except South America (though it is building a presence in Brazil) and the Middle East.

Through Dell's partnership with ERM, its recycling partners undergo a comprehensive initial audit, annual audits, and periodic on-site spot checks to ensure compliance with Dell's formal disposition policies. Additionally, Dell is itself ISO 9001-, ISO 14001- and OHSAS 18001-certified. Based on much data from Dell's customers and vendor partners, Gartner believes that Dell's ITAD processes, standards and audits are at least as robust as those required by the two leading certification bodies, e-Stewards and R2 Solutions.

Dell's ITAD services cover the full range of IT equipment (for example, desktop and laptop PCs, printers, servers, storage and networking products), with a secondary competence (typically delivered on an "as requested" or "custom" basis, with limited direct service) in tablets and mobile phones, including smartphones.

Strengths
  • Dell has a robust and globally consistent network of well-vetted and regularly audited ITAD partners, which consistently deliver a high-quality portfolio of ITAD services. Vendors and users confirm that Dell's ITAD standards and audit program are a superset of those of most ITAD certification bodies.
  • When asked why they do not deal directly with a local Dell partner that delivers ITAD services, users consistently say they value the efficient simplicity of Dell's centralized management of global ITAD services.
  • Customer feedback indicates that Dell's management of its partner network and interactions with customers are very efficient.
Cautions
  • The recent privatization of Dell by an investment consortium led by the company's founder, Michael Dell, has given rise to a degree of uncertainty about Dell's future direction and its commitment to its global ITAD services network specifically. However, we believe that Dell's management team understands the central importance for its global brand of maintaining a robust ITAD back-end to its global hardware business, and that it is committed to doing so.
  • Dell Asset Recovery Services is a "captive" services organization, and its primary targets for ITAD services are existing Dell customers in all regions. But although its underlying objective remains facilitating the deployment of new Dell solutions, products and services, it is also looking to use its robust partner network to grow its ITAD business for non-Dell equipment unrelated to sales of new Dell systems.
  • Customer feedback indicates that Dell Asset Recovery Services needs a robust, customer-facing front-end Web portal to enable customers to have the same detailed, accurate, close-to-real-time online tracking, reporting and billing information as is available internally to Dell's project managers.

GEEP

Global Electric Electronic Processing (GEEP) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately held Giampaolo Group of Companies, which includes Triple M Metal, one of North America's largest metal-recycling companies. GEEP's core strength is its North American operations, which Gartner estimates account for almost 90% of its $90 million to $100 million ITAD revenue in its FY13.

This is reflected in the geographic distribution of its owned and operated facilities: GEEP has about 1 million square feet in North America, about three-quarters of which is in its six Canadian facilities, with the rest spread over its three U.S. facilities in Texas, North Carolina and Michigan, plus a 27,000-square-foot facility in Costa Rica.

These 10 facilities all have the standard ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications, and the three U.S. and Costa Rican facilities, and the largest Canadian one (500,000 square feet in Barrie, Ontario), are R2-certified. GEEP is in the process of having all its North American facilities certified by e-Stewards as well.

Strengths
  • GEEP's parental heritage and core strength are on the recycling side of ITAD, Triple M Metal being among the largest North American processors and recyclers of ferrous and nonferrous metals.
  • GEEP can handle the entire range of IT and telecommunications equipment, from workstations to data center and networking equipment.
  • Feedback from North American customers indicates that GEEP is relatively easy to deal with and accommodating of customized ITAD requests.
Cautions
  • Although GEEP as a very strong physical presence in North America, and especially its home territory of Canada, it has yet to gain much traction elsewhere; it derives only about 10% of its revenue from EMEA and has no presence in Asia/Pacific.
  • Feedback from multinational customers indicates a desire for GEEP to gain a more robust global presence, especially in EMEA and Asia/Pacific.

HP

HP Asset Recovery Services is the global ITAD services unit within HP's financing arm, HP Financial Services. It offers integrated, prepackaged services, covering a broad range of ITAD requirements, to both small and large organizations. HP has an extensive network of global ITAD service partners, as its direct ITAD processing services are limited in the U.S. to a 180,000-square-foot facility in Andover, Massachusetts, and in Europe to an 84,000-square-foot facility in the U.K. and a 90,000-square-foot facility in Germany.

HP Asset Recovery Services is a full ITAD service organization that supports customers in all world regions. Like its parent, HP Financial Services, HP Asset Recovery Services' underlying objective is to facilitate deployment of new HP solutions, products and services, though it also does some business for non-HP equipment that is unrelated to any sales of new HP equipment (in data center liquidations, for example).

HP's ITAD services are part of a comprehensive, end-to-end portfolio of services spanning hardware, software and finance, regardless of equipment type or age.

Strengths
  • HP's worldwide presence is viewed as a significant benefit by many multinationals with a significant global commitment to HP products and services. HP disposes of all types of IT equipment, including non-HP assets, in infrastructure replacement scenarios.
  • As with most major OEMs, HP's ITAD services can be used in conjunction with new equipment acquisitions; in fact, proper disposal of replaced equipment is a requirement under the Europe Union's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive.
  • Customer feedback indicates that high standards of environmental recycling and their consistent execution are core strengths of HP Asset Recovery Services.
Cautions
  • As a large OEM of a wide range of IT infrastructure and services, HP's ITAD services are aimed primarily at its own equipment. Although HP Asset Recovery Services does dispose of non-HP assets, it generally does so when the disposed assets are replaced by HP hardware.
  • Large enterprise customers of HP's financing and ITAD services have indicated some frustration with the lack of a "one HP" experience. Too often, they interact with multiple HP entities — for example, HP Financial Services, HP Enterprise Services, HP Direct, HP Network Services and HP Desktop Services — which deliver these services with less-than-coordinated efficiency.
  • Customer feedback indicates a lack of access to an integrated Web portal with close-to-real-time tracking of assets in HP's ITAD pipeline. Customers have expressed interest in upgrading from the current, rather cumbersome batch-reporting system to a more real-time view, similar to HP's internal tracking system (additional customer-facing online capability is being delivered for customer-owned, nonleased assets, specifically for use by HP's ITAD customers).

IBM

Shortly after its founding in 1981, IBM Global Financing created the IBM Global Asset Recovery Services (GARS) unit to provide ITAD services for both its own internal IT equipment and that associated with customer leases. Since then, GARS's mandate has expanded significantly, to include remanufacturing, remarketing and end-of-life management.

In 2009, in an effort to make better use of its capital resources (especially real estate), IBM divested its entire Global Logistics Division — GARS's global ITAD processing facilities amounted to about 10% of this — to Geodis, a large global logistics company. For demanufacturing, disposal and scrapping, GARS follows what is effectively an outsourced model, using Geodis to manage its network of approved suppliers. Although Geodis owns and operates all of GARS's global ITAD facilities, these run on IBM IT infrastructure, and IBM employees are on site to ensure its ITAD processes are applied consistently.

Although GARS does deliver ITAD services for non-IBM equipment, its fundamental charter is to support the overall interests and objectives of IBM. Consequently, GARS typically does not target non-IBM equipment unless there are indications of follow-on sales of IBM equipment.

Strengths
  • For organizations with a significant existing commitment to IBM equipment or financial services, the company's pervasive global presence and strong global services capabilities make it a logical candidate to supply ITAD services. IBM regularly audits the many global facilities of its principal ITAD partner, Geodis, as well as those of its other global ITAD partners, for compliance with IBM's ITAD processes and standards.
  • The core value proposition underlying IBM Global Financing and GARS offerings is end-to-end management of the asset life cycle. Typically, the stronger the relationship with IBM, the greater the synergy and customer value will be.
  • Feedback from some members of IBM Global Financing's substantial lease-financing customer base indicates efficient coordination between IBM Global Financing's Web-based financing asset management tracking tools and GARS's ITAD services.
Cautions
  • As IBM is a large OEM of a wide range of IT infrastructure and services, its ITAD services are aimed primarily at its own equipment, often as lease returns to IBM Global Financing. Although IBM Global Financing's GARS business does dispose of non-IBM assets, this is generally when it is being replaced by IBM hardware (a significant exception is its legacy PC disposition business focused on Lenovo systems).
  • Feedback from some customers indicates that GARS's transportation logistics can be inflexible and costly.

ITRenew

ITRenew was founded in 2000 and has since grown rapidly in terms of revenue ($40 million to $50 million in 2013, Gartner estimates), customers (over 160), employees (over 130) and geographic distribution. Indeed, for a relatively small ITAD vendor based in California, U.S., its 15 owned and operated facilities are well distributed around the world: one in Toronto, Canada; three in Latin America; four in Europe, including Moscow, Russia; three in Asia/Pacific, in Japan, Malaysia and China; and four U.S. facilities in California, Virginia, Texas and now Denver (all the U.S. facilities except Denver are R2-certified, but Denver's R2 certification is expected in 1Q14). In this context, ITRenew uses only ITAD processing facilities that it owns and operates itself in North America, EMEA, Japan and Malaysia. Although a significant majority (about 75%, Gartner estimates) of ITRenew's revenue comes from the U.S., the company is growing fastest outside North America.

ITRenew has developed its own robust, proprietary data sanitization software for storage systems associated with equipment ranging from desktops to mobile devices and enterprise data centers. This software has received good reviews from some of the most demanding global users and storage OEMs. (ITRenew is also doing interesting things with secure remote erasure of data on solid-state drives.) Unlike most ITAD service providers, ITRenew delivers over half its data sanitization services at customer sites.

Strengths
  • ITRenew's proprietary data sanitization software is identified by several large customers and storage OEMs as a competitive differentiator, especially for data-center-class enterprise storage assets.
  • Customer feedback indicates that ITRenew's core competencies include its internal remarketing expertise and global network of brokers and dealers, which enable it to handle high asset volumes while still offering attractive prices, with enterprise data center assets a specialty.
  • Customers indicate that, as a relatively small company, ITRenew is quite agile and responsive to individual customers' requirements.
Cautions
  • Although enabling the company to be agile and responsive, ITRenew's relatively small size also poses key resource triage challenges, especially given its business strategy of pursuing global growth through facilities that it owns and operates.
  • ITRenew's rapid revenue growth (projected to be about 60% in 2013) and geographical expansion will pose a significant challenge to its management team's efforts to maintain the quality and consistency of its global ITAD service delivery.

RDC

RDC is the wholly owned ITAD services subsidiary of U.K.-based Computacenter (London Stock Exchange: CCC), an independent provider of IT infrastructure services with revenue of £2.9 billion in 2012. Although RDC's 2012 revenue of £45 million to £55 million make it only a relatively small part of Computacenter, it is a major ITAD player in the European market, where it delivers full ITAD services directly from its large, 350,000-square-foot facility in the U.K. (ISO 9001-, ISO 14001-, ISO 27001-, OHSAS 18001-, Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 99-, PAS 141-certified), as well as from a Computacenter facility in Cologne, Germany.

RDC is highly EMEA-centric, with about 80% of its 2012 ITAD revenue coming from its EMEA operations, with the remaining 20% split about evenly between North America and Asia/Pacific (Gartner estimates). All RDC's ITAD services are managed by a central service delivery team, through a single point of contact, based in the U.K., and delivered by in-country logistics and partner processing solutions wherever possible.

RDC has an extensive global remarketing network for both direct (RDC-to-customer) sales and indirect sales through brokers and dealers. In several major European countries, RDC focuses on direct — that is, nonbroker — sales through RDC; in most other geographies, its used-asset portfolio is remarketed through partners managed by RDC.

Strengths
  • Computacenter's £2.9 billion in revenue gives RDC credibility and viability, as well as infrastructure and asset management service synergy to its core ITAD offerings.
  • Feedback from EMEA customers indicates that RDC has strong and well-organized transportation logistics processes — split between its own employees and those of vetted third-party providers — and an efficient back-end global remarketing process that generally yields good residual asset values.
  • Customers indicate that RDC generally takes a responsive, flexible and customer-centric approach — for example, it sent U.K.-based subject matter experts to Asia/Pacific to help a partner with a complex data center decommissioning project.
Cautions
  • As strong as RDC is in Europe, it still lacks a robust global presence in the two most significant regions: North America and Asia/Pacific.
  • Some multinational customers have suggested that instead of relying exclusively on third-party partners outside EMEA, RDC should strengthen its own brand and presence in major growth markets, and expand its network of direct partners (they mentioned Africa specifically).

Sims Recycling Solutions

Founded in the U.K. in 2002 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Australia-based Sims Metal Management (AUD 7.2 billion in FY13 revenue; Australian Stock Exchange: SGM), Sims Recycling Solutions has its North American headquarters in West Chicago, Illinois, U.S. It is the world's largest electronics recycler, with facilities in over 45 global locations amounting to over 4 million square feet. Sims entered the ITAD business in 2005, and currently has annual global ITAD revenue of about $200 million, split between North America (40%), EMEA (40%) and Asia/Pacific (20%). Its network of owned and operated recycling facilities is among the world's largest and most comprehensive. All 14 of its North American facilities (11 in the U.S., three in Canada) are R2-certified, and Sims expects to have them all e-Stewards-certified by the end of 2013.

Strengths
  • Sims' core strength is its global scale and reach as a single-source global supplier of recycling services using its owned and operated processing capacity of over 4 million square feet split between EMEA (50%), North America (45%) and Asia/Pacific (5%). It counts many other ITAD vendors as wholesale customers.
  • Sims is well known for its strong and globally consistent environmental recycling processes and standards.
  • Early customer reviews of the company's WebView global Web portal for asset tracking and reporting are quite positive, as it enables ITAD managers to see local, regional and global views of close-to-real-time asset status.
Cautions
  • Sims' global operations and revenue are highly focused on its core heritage and strength, its recycling business, with other customer- (versus OEM-) facing ITAD services (such as on-site, remarketing and asset management services) representing well under half its current revenue. However, it continues to invest heavily in ITAD services and expects its ITAD business to keep growing rapidly.
  • While Sims is rapidly developing its capabilities on the "other side" of ITAD with a robust asset remarketing organization, it still remarkets about two-thirds of its assets through wholesale brokers.
  • Feedback from some customers indicates that Sims is too strongly oriented toward OEMs and may need to improve its customer-facing interactions.

Tes-Amm

Tes-Amm, a wholly owned subsidiary of TES-Envirocorp (majority owned by Navis Capital Partners since May 2013), was established in 2005 in Singapore and has since grown rapidly to become Asia/Pacific's leading supplier of e-waste recycling services. Gartner estimates that its annual revenue exceeds $100 million. Tes-Amm's customer base is mainly composed of IT OEMs and service companies, contract equipment manufacturers, waste management organizations, leasing companies, public sector and government organizations, and multinational corporations.

Tes-Amm has an extensive (and growing) network of 20 owned and operated ITAD processing facilities throughout Asia/Pacific, two in Latin America (Mexico and Brazil), plus single facilities in the U.K. and the United Arab Emirates. Almost all the facilities are ISO 9001-, ISO 14001- and OHSAS 18001-certified. Tes-Amm was also among the first to expand the R2 environmental certification standard outside R2's North American base: it has eight R2-certified facilities in Asia/Pacific (in China [Shanghai], India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and three in Australia). Although Tes-Amm has certified partners that supply ITAD services in other regions (such as South Africa, Bangladesh, Latin America, Russia and Europe), we expect it to continue to grow its global footprint of owned and operated facilities.

Strengths
  • Tes-Amm has a dominant position in Asia/Pacific in the recycling side of ITAD services, and it is respected as a strong, environmentally responsible supplier.
  • Tes-Amm's consistent certification across its network of Asia/Pacific facilities is a good indication of its ability to deliver consistently compliant IT recycling services throughout this region.
Cautions
  • Although Tes-Amm is well known and respected for its robust recycling capabilities and expertise, customer feedback indicates that its asset remarketing capability is not as robust.
  • Although Tes-Amm does have many direct ITAD customers, it focuses on the "wholesale" side of ITAD recycling: much of its asset processing business comes from, for example, IT manufacturers, service companies and equipment lessors. ITAM and ITAD executives looking for "retail" — that is, direct to customer — ITAD services in Asia/Pacific should bear this in mind.

Vendors Added and Dropped

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's appearance 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. It may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or of a change of focus by that vendor.

This section is not applicable, as this is the first Magic Quadrant on global ITAD.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Although a wide range of providers offer ITAD services, many focus on only parts of the end-to-end ITAD process. This Magic Quadrant's objective is to identify the small number that offer a good mix of global presence and consistent, high-quality ITAD services. Vendors considered for evaluation in this Magic Quadrant also act as advisors and provide implementation services that encompass most or all aspects of an ITAD solution, as outlined above. Further, providers were evaluated for inclusion in this Magic Quadrant using a combination of the following quantitative and qualitative criteria.

To be included in this Magic Quadrant, each vendor had to have:

  • Demonstrated ITAD product and service revenue from clients in at least three of the four major regions: North America, South America, EMEA and Asia/Pacific
  • A minimum of $30 million in current revenue from direct sales of ITAD product and services
  • A minimum of 20% of ITAD revenue generated from international business — that is, from outside the vendor's home country
  • Offerings in each major category of disposition, acquisition and ancillary services
  • A robust ability to dispose of multiple asset classes, such as PCs, servers, storage devices, mobile devices, and networking and telecommunications assets
  • Industry certifications in environmental recycling and data security

In addition to considering the above quantitative criteria in our inclusion/exclusion process, we evaluated certain qualitative criteria. These included Gartner analysts' many interactions with enterprises,1 which reveal interest in specific ITAD vendors, and individual ITAD vendors' current and potential market impact, as measured by the frequency of their appearance on shortlists.

Evaluation Criteria

Gartner's Magic Quadrant research process involves primary research with direct ITAD users — both those that use Gartner's client inquiry service and those identified as reference customers by ITAD vendors — and assessment of each vendor's representation of its organization. The analysis involves weighting both sources of information, with a heavy emphasis on client feedback. Gartner considers client feedback to be one of the most important measures of a vendor's success; as a result, many of the individual categories have extensive user feedback factored into the scoring. In addition to many ad hoc, vendor-specific discussions during the normal course of Gartner's client inquiry interactions, we reviewed the results of a detailed questionnaire during one-on-one interviews with a minimum of three reference customers per vendor; insights from this formed an integral part of the research for this Magic Quadrant.1

Gartner evaluates ITAD vendors on their Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. When the two sets of associated criteria are combined, the result is a view of how well each vendor performs a spectrum of ITAD services in comparison with its peers, and how well it is positioned for the future. This evaluation is a snapshot in time. The competitive nature of the ITAD market over time affects the relative positions of evaluated companies.

In addition to considering the vendors' positions in this Magic Quadrant, it is important to perform your own due diligence and check vendors' references. Gartner recommends that you also ensure your business culture is synergistic, or at least compatible with an ITAD vendor's culture. Among the most important prerequisites for a successful long-term partnership with an ITAD vendor is that the vendor has the ability to work with your business culture and with your people to effect the process change essential for an ITAD program.

Ability to Execute

These criteria focus on vendors' operational viability, financial health, breadth and depth of product coverage, service functionality and customer base, and customers' overall satisfaction with the services offered, their quality and responsiveness.

Product/Service: The core ITAD products and services offered by the vendor that compete in the specific ITAD market. This includes current product and service capabilities, quality, feature sets and skills, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements and partnerships, as defined in the Market Definition and detailed in the subcriteria.

Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization): This includes an assessment of the vendor's overall financial health, the financial and practical success of its ITAD business unit (where applicable), and the likelihood that the individual ITAD business unit will continue investing in and offering its ITAD products and services, and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of ITAD products and services.

Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal/RFP management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.

Market Responsiveness and Track Record: The vendor's ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customers' needs evolve and ITAD market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the ITAD vendor's history of responsiveness.

Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the ITAD vendor's message to influence the ITAD market, promote its brand and business, increase awareness of its products and services, and establish a positive identification with its 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 ITAD customers to gain operational value from the products and services evaluated. This includes the ways in which customers receive technical or account support. It can also include ancillary services (see above), customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of vendor user groups, SLAs and so on.

Operations: The vendor's ability to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of its organizational structure, including ITAD-specific skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the vendor to operate effectively and efficiently on a consistent basis.

Table 1. Ability to Execute Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

Weighting

Product or Service

High

Overall Viability

High

Sales Execution/Pricing

Medium

Market Responsiveness/Record

Medium

Marketing Execution

Low

Customer Experience

High

Operations

High

Source: Gartner (December 2013)

Completeness of Vision

These criteria focus on vendors' vision for asset disposition services, degree of certification, global reach, and the extent and pace of service innovation and product development.

Market Understanding: The vendor's ability to understand its customers' requirements and to translate that understanding into products and services. Vendors with the highest degree of vision listen to and understand their customers' current requirements and future 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 a website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.

Sales Strategy: The vendor's strategy for selling ITAD products and associated services that uses an appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service and communication affiliates and partners that extend the scope and depth of its market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and customer base.

Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to developing and delivering new ITAD products and services that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to customers' 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: The vendor's direct, related, complementary and synergistic layout 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 specific customer needs both within its "home" geography and globally, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries, as appropriate for that geography and market. As stipulated in the inclusion and exclusion criteria, vendors must have the ability to deliver robust, consistent ITAD services in at least three of the four major geographies and derive a minimum of 20% of their ITAD revenue from outside their home country. In general, in-country facilities owned and operated directly by the vendor are weighted more heavily than delivery of ITAD services through third-party partnerships.

Table 2. Completeness of Vision Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

Weighting

Market Understanding

Medium

Marketing Strategy

Low

Sales Strategy

Medium

Offering (Product) Strategy

Low

Business Model

High

Vertical/Industry Strategy

Low

Innovation

Medium

Geographic Strategy

High

Source: Gartner (December 2013)

Quadrant Descriptions

Leaders

Leaders execute well against a robust vision, and are well positioned for the future. They have the highest scores for Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. They typically have a broader geographical coverage, both within their own "home" geography and globally, than other vendors. Significant weight is given to coverage using direct, owned and operated facilities, as opposed to indirect coverage through partners. While the control and consistency of processes are typically greater for owned and operated facilities, this does not mean that delivering ITAD services through partners is necessarily more risky — for example, although Dell owns no ITAD processing facilities itself, we believe its global partner vetting and auditing processes are among the most robust and thorough in the industry.

Leaders are also characterized by comprehensive sales organizations, financial stability, a clear and consistent commitment to the ITAD market, comprehensive customer support, broader service portfolios and larger market presence.

Challengers

Challengers exhibit strong operational capabilities for ITAD, have good service offerings and execute quite well overall. However, they often have less of a global presence and are less differentiated, or do not yet have enough resources or commitment to the global ITAD market to be recognized as leading innovators and agents for change.

Visionaries

Visionaries have a solid vision for ITAD service offerings and service quality, and a clear development plan. However, they are still not fully market-tested with a significant base of enterprise ITAD customers. Visionaries are still working out their market positioning and messaging, and how to expand their market opportunities.

Niche Players

Niche Players are often strong in one or more specific elements of ITAD execution, such as equipment remarketing, data sanitization and environmentally sound handling of e-waste. However, they usually lack a comprehensive vision, resources or strong geographic presence.

ITAD managers should consider Niche Players when there is a strong match between these vendors' offerings and their organization's particular ITAD requirements.

Context

Gartner advises ITAM and ITAD executives against simply selecting vendors that appear in the Leaders quadrant without proper consideration of their organizations' specific requirements. All selections should be buyer-specific, and vendors from the Challengers, Niche Players or Visionaries quadrants may be better matches for your business goals and solution requirements.

Before evaluating the market and its vendors, ITAM and ITAD executives should perform their own detailed "due diligence" by evaluating and identifying their ITAD priorities and business and geographical requirements. Only then should they examine the ITAD service offerings of specific vendors and compare them with their requirements to draw up a shortlist of vendors.

This is especially important when evaluating a solution for global ITAD services. ITAM and ITAD executives should consider the two main options when contracting for global ITAD services, and determine which is more appropriate for their company's culture and organization:

  • Sole-source supplier for all geographies: This approach transfers ultimate responsibility for global ITAD coordination and process standards to a single vendor. Note that no vendors deliver global ITAD services without using at least some partners. Rather, it is an important matter of the extent to which they use partners. Current choices range from Sims, which delivers much of its robust back-end recycling services through the 4 million square feet of processing facilities that it owns and operates, to Dell, which neither owns nor operates ITAD processing facilities but has a robust process for vetting and regularly auditing partners that enables it to deliver a broad spectrum of ITAD services.
  • Best-of-breed supplier by major geography (North America, South America, EMEA, Asia/Pacific): This approach acknowledges that most ITAD suppliers have a "home" advantage and are strongest in their native geography, often outsourcing ITAD support and services to other specialists in other geographies. For a client organization that is already highly segmented by geography, this may prove the most efficient approach, with global ITAD managed as the enterprise is organized — by major geography. This is not to say that adopting a best-of-breed approach by major geography will necessarily result in three to five different ITAD suppliers, one per geography. Depending on the requirements, the same ITAD vendor may be chosen in multiple geographies. Our research indicates that a three-to-five geography RFP will typically yield one to three winning vendors, with one or two ITAD providers winning in multiple geographies. Although a potential drawback to this approach is the need to manage multiple vendors in different regions, it can nevertheless be a good choice for multinationals that are already organized by major geography. We believe the best-of-breed approach should at least be considered, with the understanding that requirements may ultimately require a sole-source supplier for all regions.

Market Overview

The Global ITAD Market Is Consolidating

The global ITAD market continues to consolidate into a few very large global providers that increasingly compete with hundreds of credible midsize independent regional providers. There is also a very large number of small, often local, providers, some of whose standards and credibility are open to question.

Consolidation is already evident in the Leaders quadrant, in which Arrow appears as a result of its six-company ITAD acquisition spree from 2010 to 2012.

Example: Ingram Micro Acquires CloudBlue

A more recent example of the consolidation trend is the acquisition of U.S.-based ITAD vendor CloudBlue by Ingram Micro, a wholesale technology distributor and supply chain services and logistics provider with annual revenue of approximately $42 billion. This deal is Ingram Micro's first major step into the ITAD market and is designed to "jump-start" its presence there. Gartner believes the acquisition of CloudBlue — which Gartner identified as a Visionary in 2011's "Magic Quadrant for North America Information Technology Asset Disposition" — is part of Ingram Micro's long-term strategy to provide global, end-to-end life cycle management of IT assets and consumer electronics. This will ultimately result in Ingram Micro becoming a competitive global ITAD provider.

The strategy behind this deal differs from Arrow's acquisitive approach. We believe Ingram Micro will focus on a rapid, 12-to-18-month international expansion by converting a strategic subset of its more than 130 global facilities into e-Stewards-certified ITAD facilities. Ingram Micro's 200,000 global customers, together with those of CloudBlue, will present a substantial cross-selling opportunity for these global ITAD facilities. Ingram Micro is also likely to draw on CloudBlue's ITAD processes, global tracking system and portal, and to use partners to fill interim gaps and serve remote geographies where demand is lower.

By the end of 2014, we believe Ingram Micro/CloudBlue will have the beginnings of a credible physical facility presence in Europe and Asia/Pacific to complement its existing strong presence in North America.

Remarket or Recycle

We are seeing ITAD vendors increasingly split into those that focus on the refurbishing and remarketing of IT assets (such as Apto and ITRenew), and those whose heritage and core strength is the physical recycling of IT assets and their component parts (such as GEEP, Sims and Tes-Amm).

The former typically derive a significant portion of their revenue from remarketing, and focus their sales efforts on customers disposing of younger and generally higher-value IT assets. The latter — those with a recycling heritage and focus — tend to view IT assets for their recycling potential first, and as potential remarketing revenue second.

ITAD's Importance Is Growing

This Magic Quadrant examines global ITAD service providers that Gartner believes have the size, capabilities, certifications and track record to justify consideration for clients' shortlists — assuming they meet clients' individual requirements. Clients' perceptions of how these vendors can best serve their needs may vary considerably by region and country. In our selection we have tried to satisfy the needs of both multinational clients looking for a single global provider and clients looking for a more regional provider. But the characteristic common to all vendors in this Magic Quadrant is the ability to meet the demanding requirements of the two critical categories of ITAD risk: data security and environmentally sound recycling.

ITAD service providers have become an important link in the overall life cycle management of IT equipment. Indeed, the number and complexity of legislative mandates — often country or region-specific — for the secure and environmentally friendly disposal of IT equipment continue to grow rapidly, and the consequences of noncompliance are quickly attracting board-level attention (see "Hype Cycle for Data and Collaboration Security, 2013" and "Hype Cycle for Green IT, 2013").

Evidence

1 From November 2011 to October 2013, Gartner had over 200 ITAD-related discussions with representatives of end-user organizations.

Gartner analysts use a consistent and rigorous research method to create Magic Quadrants (for a full explanation, see "How Gartner Evaluates Vendors and Markets in Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes").

For this Magic Quadrant, we evaluated information from a wide range of sources, among them:

  • Detailed questionnaires completed by all 11 vendors evaluated in this Magic Quadrant
  • Interviews with ITAD vendors
  • Over 40 detailed questionnaires completed by reference customers
  • One-on-one interviews with most reference customers
  • Interviews with vendors' customers and competitors
  • Over 200 discussions about ITAD market issues and ITAD vendors with users of Gartner's client inquiry service
  • Many ITAD certification and standards bodies
  • Basic research on vendors' details sourced from Hoover's, S&P Capital IQ and OneSource
  • Research by an extended team of Gartner analysts, which also collaborated on and vetted findings
  • Gartner's market research, such as "Forecast: Devices by Operating System and User Type, Worldwide, 2010-2017, 3Q13 Update"
  • "Hype Cycle for Data and Collaboration Security, 2013"
  • "Hype Cycle for Green IT, 2013"

In addition, all the vendors were given the opportunity to review a draft of their section of the Magic Quadrant for factual accuracy.

Evaluation Criteria Definitions

Ability to Execute

Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor for 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: 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/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 to 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.