How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for “Great Customer Service”

Posted by Joe Zaller
Nov 30 2009

This is the third in a series of posts that discusses how a global sample of more than 325 systems integrators (SIs) who participated in the 2009 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS)* ranked broadcast technology vendors in a variety of measures. For information about how these results were collected, please see the bottom of this post**.

In an era when many broadcasters are shedding technology positions, SIs have become an extremely important part of the technology value chain.  Broadcasters now routinely outsource their project work to SIs, who are called in for their expertise and experience.  Thus the relationship that vendors have with their SI partners is very important to their business. 

Previously I have looked at How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for Innovation; and How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Vendors for Quality.  This post looks at how the global sample of systems integrators ranked vendors for “great customer service.”

This is fourth time I have written about how broadcast technology vendors are perceived by the market for their customer service.  Previous posts on the subject include A Ranking of Broadcast Technology Vendors for “Great Customer Service”, which breaks out overall rankings by geography; and How broadcasters of different sizes rank technology vendors for great customer service. 

I have also touched on how the perception of customer service can be extremely varied in different regions.  I highlighted one such case in an article called Brand Schizophrenia? Regional/customer variations in perception of broadcast vendor brands.  

Customer service is a very important measure, and in many cases it is one of the key determining factors in purchase decisions. I would imagine that this is particularly true for systems integrators who must work simultaneously with many vendors while striving to complete a project on time and on budget.  

Yet from my research I’ve found that the customer service offerings of broadcast technology vendors is also something that is perceived by the market as not being as strong as other metrics such as innovation, reliability and quality. 

Indeed as I wrote in a previous post “respondents were harder on this metric [customer service] than any other… it’s worth noting that on an overall basis, respondents to the BBS were much stingier with their “grades” in this category compared to all the others.  Many companies received very high scores for metrics like “overall opinion,” “innovation,” “reliability” etc., but no company was ranked “off the charts” in terms of the perception of “great customer service.”

So having said all that, how did systems integrators rank broadcast technology vendors for “great customer service?”

The chart below shows the responses from more than 325 SIs.  It is broken out by geography to show the responses of the global sample of all SIs who participated in the study, as well as the responses of SIs in EMEA and the Americas.  Due to a small sample size, SI rankings for Asia-Pacific have not been included as a separate column.  For the sake of comparison, I have also included in this chart the rankings of all respondents (regardless for organization type, geography etc), and all broadcasters (regardless of size or geography), in the first and second columns respectively.


Please note that in all cases, these brands are shown in alphabetical order, NOT in the order of their ranking in the study


Question: How would you rate [Brand X] on the following attribute [Great Customer Service] where 1 = very poor and 10 = best in the market?

Customer Service -- by Systems Integrators


As always these findings are extremely interesting.  Here are a few observations about this table:


* There are 11 vendors on this list (out of 25 studied); meaning that great customer service is the most varied and least concentrated of any metric in this series of posts about perceptions of systems integrators. 


* This lack of vendor concentration is similar to customer service findings in other categories.  For example, the customer service rankings of the overall market and that of broadcasters broken down by size (both mentioned above) both show a similar profile.


* Out of the 11 vendors in this table, no vendor made the top 5 list for great customer service in all categories. 


* However, both Omneon and Snell & Wilcox did achieve this in all three systems integrator categories.


* The complete list of vendors in this table (in alphabetical order), and how many times they appear is as follows: Axon (3), Evertz (3), EVS (2), Harris (1), Miranda (1), Omneon (3), Pebble Beach (2), Snell & Wilcox (4), Sony (2), Sundance (1), Thomson / Grass Valley


* As with many other findings, there are interesting regional variations in the way vendors are perceived for great customer service


* 4 out of 5 in the EMEA SI list are European based – Axon, Network, Pebble Beach and Snell & Wilcox


* Likewise, the Americas SI list is dominated by North American players.  In the Americas SI list, 4 out of the 5 vendors are based in the region — Evertz, Harris, Miranda and Omneon.


* There are also some interesting differences in the rankings of vendors by SIs versus the rankings by other organization types such as broadcasters, and even the overall market.


* There are two pure-play automation players in the global SI list for great customer service.  This is a first for me — no pure-play automation vendors have appeared in any ranking I have published so far (global sample, broadcaster by geography sample and broadcaster by or size sample).  So what is it about SIs that result in two of their top five spots for great customer service are pure-play automation vendors?


* EVS, Sony and Thomson / Grass Valley all make the top 5 great customer service list for the global sample of all respondent and the all broadcasters.  However, none of these companies makes any of the SI lists.


* Axon appears three times.  The company makes the top 5 list for great customer service for all broadcasters, all systems integrators and EMEA systems integrators.  Like EVS, Axon is a company that has done very well in the various customer service posts I have written.  Although the company is relatively small when compared to some of the others on this list, it is clearly caught the attention of the market by making customer service a priority.


* Like Axon, Evertz also appears on this list three times, but in only one of the SI categories – the Americas.  This is consistent with other findings about Evertz in that they seem to do best in the Americas market.


* Another strong regional player is Miranda, who does well with SIs in the company’s home region.  The same is true of Harris, which appears once in this chart – in the SI list for the Americas.


* Like Miranda and Harris, Network (now Nevion) appears once in this table – in EMEA SI list only, another example of a local vendor doing well in their home region.


* EVS, which appeared in the top 5 list for great customer service for all geographies in a previous post, appears in the first two columns of this chart (global sample and all broadcasters).  However the company is absent from all three systems integrator categories


* Although they did not make the top 5 great customer service list for all respondents or all broadcasters, Omneon appears in all three categories of this list for systems integrators. The only other vendor to appear in the top 5 list for all three categories of systems integrators was Snell & Wilcox.


* Two companies appear in two of the SI categories – Axon and Pebble Beach. Both companies are based in EMEA, and they each appear in the top 5 for all SIs and SIs in EMEA.


As per my previous findings on this subject, the SI rankings for “great customer service” are extremely interesting.  There are strong regional variations and both small and large vendors have made the above table in one or more places.    

I continue to be convinced that despite the strong showings by some vendors, broadcast technology buyers generally perceive customer service as a weakness in the industry.  Therefore, as I said in a previous post, “it’s clear to me that there is a real opportunity for vendors to step up to the plate and differentiate themselves on the basis of great customer service.  Whoever does this will be rewarded by their customers with increased loyalty.”




* The annual Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) is the largest and most comprehensive studies of broadcast technology vendor brands and industry trends.  The BBS provides insight into market trends and the perceptions of leading broadcast industry vendor brands by practitioners across the world.  It also delivers vendor brand ranking “league tables” in a variety of product categories; all of which can be segmented by geography and customer type.


** Respondents to the BBS were asked to rank their opinion of twenty-five broadcast technology vendor brands in a variety of categories including awareness; overall opinion; change of opinion; recommendation; and a variety of brand attributes and brand drivers such as innovation, reliability, quality and great customer service.  The responses were then aggregated into a series of industry “league tables” that rank each broadcast technology vendor brand against the metrics mentioned above.

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