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Optical/IP

Marconi's Identity Crisis

Is Marconi Corp. plc (OTC: MONIY) (Nasdaq: MRCIY; London: MONI) a widely recognized player in the telecom equipment market? Well, that depends on who you are asking.

The issue came up recently when Heavy Reading, Light Reading's market research division, published its 2003 Telecom Equipment Market Perception Study a couple of weeks ago. Marconi protested with howls of indignation.

Marconi did so poorly in the survey that it was cited as one of a handful of companies that "may have passed a tipping point from which it will be impossible to recover." (See Heavy Reading Surveys Telecom Vendors.)

Marconi says the report casts it in an unfair light because, among other things, the survey reflects the views of a lot more North American carriers than Western European ones. Marconi says that nowadays, its main focus is Western Europe, and that its products are much better known (and liked) by carriers in that region.

Upon closer investigation, the Heavy Reading survey fails to back up this assertion. A greater proportion of North American carriers' employees recognize Marconi as a supplier in some of Marconi's key product categories. This goes for DSLAMs, fiber access equipment, multiservice switches, and softswitches.

A slightly higher proportion of European carriers recognize Marconi as a supplier of SDH multiservice provisioning platforms -- hardly surprising, since North American carriers don't use SDH equipment.

Ironically, the one product category where Marconi is much more widely recognized by Western European carriers is Access/Metro DWDM -- the very market that Marconi CEO Mike Parton, in an interview with Light Reading earlier this year, dismissed as too small to be of much significance (see Mike Parton, Marconi).

For the record, 770 carrier employees responded to the survey, and 95 of them were in Western Europe. By normal market research standards, 95 responses for the whole survey would be considered outstanding.

It's worth comparing Marconi's ratings in the survey with those of another major European vendor focusing on a similar set of products, Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA).

In this case, Alcatel is more widely recognized by Western European carriers, except in a couple of product categories. One of them, fiber access equipment, is unsurprising because Alcatel is considered a front runner in the race to win a monster RBOC RFP (see UBS: Alcatel Could Win PON RFP). The other is softswitching/VOIP equipment, a market that is still evolving.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

To learn more about the report, including selected excerpts, please go here. The Heavy Reading 2003 Telecom Equipment Market Perception Study is priced at $4,950, and includes access to an online database allowing further analysis of all survey results according to search criteria such as geography, customer type, and respondent job title.

The product categories covered in the survey are:
Sonet and SDH Multiservice Provisioning Platforms, Metro Ethernet Equipment (including a separate study of Packet Ring Technology), Ethernet Access Equipment, 10-Gbit/s Ethernet Switches, Core Routers, Multiservice Switches, Edge Routers, Broadband Remote Access Servers, DSL Access Multiplexers, Equipment for Cable/MSO Networks, Third-Generation Digital Loop Carriers, Access/Metro DWDM Systems, Long-Haul DWDM Systems (including separate studies for terrestrial and submarine systems), Optical Switches, Softswitching/VOIP Equipment, IP Service Controllers (including separate studies for content switches/load balancers, traffic management devices, session controllers, and route optimization devices), Test Equipment, Fiber Access Equipment, Free-Space Optics, Broadband Home Gateways, Integrated Access Devices, and Video-Over-IP Equipment.


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fw23 12/4/2012 | 11:20:56 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis This is another great article bringing SCIENCE
into telecommunications rather than opinion.

This survey should get some people in the
exec suite at marconi F-I-R-E-D.

And I've got one word for the marketeers
and would-be marketeers at Marconi: OLYMPICS.
Their chance at the world cup was passed by.
But the WORLDS ---<<eyes>>--- ----<<eyes>>----
WILL BE ATHENS IN 2004 and this could be
Marconi's BIG CHANCE to turn their business
around by getting customers to recognize that
they exist.

Marconi has got to stop wasting money on
things that are of no use toward its goal
of inter-contenental SUCCESS and put MONEY
to GET ITSELF KNOWN in its HOME MARKET.

Patton is an idiot. The one area of the market
where Marconi had LEADERSHIP (Metro-DWDM), he
turns is back on. Marconi should go ALL-OUT
to take advantage of its STRENGTH in METRO DWDM
and cut its losses in the other areas. You
go where you are K-N-O-W-N.

Thats what Alcatel did when it end of lifed
a SUCCESSFUL WELL-KNOWN router in favor of
the UNLIMITED FUTURE associated with SELLING
SERVICES.

Congradulations again Light Reading and
Heavy Reading on bringing the illuminating
light of SCIENCE into our backward industry.

</eyes></eyes>
God 12/4/2012 | 11:20:55 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis and more importantly, who did respond

Network engineers? receptionist? HR?
firstmile 12/4/2012 | 11:20:54 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis Seems like a ridiculous survey.
But more importantly, has anyone heard the rumor about the two parties involved in this story? It starts with F and ends with X.
...first
Light on my Feet 12/4/2012 | 11:20:47 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis Regardless of opinion or who took the survey there is one fact that should stand out, Marconi is still being mismanaged. This management team was put in there to cut costs. They are accountants, not people who have even the slightest inkling of what the market is doing or what the future will be. Marconi is cut so deep the only thing it can offer anybody is a market share in Europe. The fact that they are walking away from a part of the market that they have recognition in is only a small part of the long downward spiral that will find this company under new management some time next year.
Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 11:20:47 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis On who took the survey, see my column:

http://www.lightreading.com/do...

- which shows the breakdown in terms of where the respondents are based, what type of service provider they work for and what sort of job they have.

- which references the survey methodology:

http://img.lightreading.com/he...

As I said in my column, vendors react to the survey findings in different ways. Some of them realize that they've got a lot to learn from what 770 of their prospective customers think. Others bury their heads in the sand and look for ways of challenging the survey results.

sevenbrooks 12/4/2012 | 11:20:46 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis
See the thing is that the consumer level market awareness of a company in our space is almost irrelevant.

The only thing it helps is to ensure one gets RFIs/RFPs. Then, one has to work to win them.

Once you have won and you are in the Planning Guidelines you sell the people that buy the equipment. A well known company can do all it wants, but until its in the guidelines nobody cares.

seven
fw23 12/4/2012 | 11:20:44 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis >See the thing is that the consumer level market >awareness of a company in our space is almost >irrelevant.

HEAD -> BURIED -> SAND.

You can't GET the RFI/RFP unless they KNOW who
you are. They dont KNOW who you are unless
you MARKET yourself to them and the most
EFFECTIVE marketing is television. Juniper wasted
money on newspapers which nobody I know pays
attention to. Print is dead. Either get on
TV or go the way of the dinosaurs.

Marketing 101 tells you that your customers MUST
KNOW THE PRODUCT EXISTS before they can buy it
from you. You can't sell if the response to your
name is "who?".

st0 12/4/2012 | 11:20:38 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis "Marketing 101 tells you that your customers MUST
KNOW THE PRODUCT EXISTS before they can buy it
from you"
=====
not true. RFP sometimes has performance requirements only, do not have specific PRODUCT in mind.
I guess this is core telco v.s. PC type of system way of thinking. The Telco develop and sell system based on the technology platform, e.g. siliton DWDM, PC type based on "name brand", word of mouth, etc. Different market, different sales force. Few of the system house inherited from PC type of marketing although they may want to step into Telco's market (like LR reporters, must from PC group).. sorry, may be merged from datacom type), name is more important than technology (easy to do a market survey too... it is much difficult to do a market assessment based on the technology comparison.... you actually have to read the test report and patents)....
Judging name recognition in US is flaw way of assessing a company.... how many of them know Huawei in US? In Africa and other 3rd world country?

-st
netgenius 12/4/2012 | 11:20:36 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis I agree. Being included in an carrier RFP process is not necessarily a result of a strong marketing program.

The RFP process of major carriers is not based on name recognition - teams of very experienced people research available products and it is in the best interest of the carriers to have every viable company/product evaluated. Simple participation in a standards forum assosicated with the product and a web site will suffice for this type of recognition.

Does this report have actual factual grade card reports of vendors in carrier networks. If so then that would be useful tool in a RFP process but if not it may just be interesting reading.
netgenius 12/4/2012 | 11:20:36 PM
re: Marconi's Identity Crisis I agree. Being included in an carrier RFP process is not necessarily a result of a strong marketing program.

The RFP process of major carriers is not based on name recognition - teams of very experience people research available products and it is in the best interest of the carriers to have every viable company/product evaluated. Simple participation in a standards forum assosicated with the product and a web site will suffice for this type of recognition.

Does this report have actual factual grade card reports of vendors in carrier networks. If so then that would be useful tool in a RFP process but if not it may just be interesting reading.
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