Major vendors are buddying up with service provider EDS in a global move that could encourage customers to select service and solution offerings reliant on a limited number of brands.
Global giants EMC, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Dell Computer, Fuji-Xerox, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, SAP, Siebel and Towers Perrin have ganged up in what’s been dubbed the EDS Agility Alliance, with the stated aim of targeting “market leadership” here and around the world.
The group of 11 vendors are pooling their specialised, best-of-breed portfolios and expertise to cut costs, develop and deliver customised offerings under the rubric of EDS’ Agile Enterprise Platform.
Robb Rasmussen, global alliances vice-president at EDS, said the alliance would work together and align themselves around EDS’ reference architecture to help develop the “next generation” of platforms.
“In 2004, clients and prospects saw a great need for an alternative to a vertically integrated solution in the marketplace,” he said.
EDS Agility Alliance -- first announced in October -- offered a horizontally integrated answer instead. “Clients can go to one company that markets the hardware, software and services all together,” Rasmussen said.
Other partner relationships would be kept up but considerable resources would be earmarked over time for the Agility Alliance push and the companies would also collaborate on R&D, he said.
Partners would “embed” resources around sales, portfolio management and delivery into EDS. “The biggest challenge is to get the sales guys from these companies into a team,” Rasmussen said.
Phil Pryke, vice-president of EDS Asia-Pacific, said the alliance would help shrink the “shemozzle” of choices besetting customers.
Alliance partners were already present in 70 percent of EDS’ deals around the world and 100s of customers had shown interest in greater integration, he said.
“With multiple sourcing, the risks are increased, while transactional and management costs are very high,” Pryke said.
In the partnership, for example, direct sales specialist Dell would be the preferred supplier of perimeter server hardware, Pryke added.
Steve Redman, managing director for EMC Australia and New Zealand, said the only real rival for what the EDS Agility Alliance planned to provide was IBM.
“But they’ve got integrated mediocrity – they’re second at everything,” Redman said.
A spokesperson for IBM said IBM preferred not to respond to Redman’s comments.