Definition of the Market

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1 Markets, M. Halama Research Note 9 September 2003 Criteria for Pan-European Web Hosting Magic Quadrant, 2H03 Web hosting firms offer greatly differing services to a wide range of customers. Our criteria and advice will help you find suitable providers and enable you to compare their solutions with your own IT resources. Core Topic Enterprise Networking: Network Service Providers and Services Key Issue Which network services will enterprises use to meet their end-user demands? Definition of the Market The "Magic Quadrant for Pan-European Web Hosting, 2H03" covers Web hosting services for organizations including simple shared servers, colocation of servers and fully managed Web hosting services as stand-alone services. Providers offering a portfolio extending fully across this range and beyond have improved some of their ratings. Extra services include managed applications and network services. The ability to service a wide range of customers, small and large, was also a credit to some players. Those able to support their Web hosting services with ownership or control of an effective network, for example, earned extra credit in some of the evaluation criteria. Only players for whom Web hosting is central to business strategy are included. For example, Internet service providers and others that offer limited Web hosting services as a concession to existing customers, rather than to attract new customers, are not counted. Criteria To qualify for inclusion, providers had to have customers for their Web hosting services during the first half of 2003 in at least three of the following European areas or countries: Scandinavia, Southern Europe, France, Germany, the United Kingdom. They also had to offer a portfolio of services, not just Web server colocation. The rating criteria were split into two groups, which form the axes of the Magic Quadrant: Gartner Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

2 Ability to Execute Product portfolio Financial and corporate stability Performance Sales and marketing Completeness of Vision Product strategy Technology exploitation Management and reporting Price and pricing strategy Some criteria have a bearing on both axes and the evaluations have been apportioned accordingly. For example, sales and marketing as part of a provider's overall business strategy affects its completeness of vision as well as its ability to execute. Important factors, like the quality of client relationships, client care, service and support, are mostly included under performance, with some elements included under management and reporting. Market Overview The market has strengthened since mid-2002 as consolidation has eliminated some of the weaker Pan-European players. Energis, for example, failed to qualify as it withdrew from other countries to concentrate on its home market, the United Kingdom. Other players, particularly those like BT and T-Systems that are backed by telecommunications companies, have improved their offerings and become more focused on Web hosting. They now clearly treat Web hosting as both a revenue stream in its own right and as a channel, or significant source of added value, for other services like end-to-end outsourced network solutions. Some providers, like CSC and Savvis Communications, are appearing in the Magic Quadrant for the first time. These players are widening the spectrum of expertise and service choice available to customers. Consolidation in this segment is reasonably complete. But some players could benefit from merging, with a competitor or a complementary service provider, or from a strategic alliance. For example, a Web hosting company could merge with a network service provider or systems integrator. 9 September

3 The Magic Quadrant does not include Web hosting companies that do not offer a full range of Web hosting services or that focus chiefly on local and national markets. These have been included in the "Others" section in the Magic Quadrant document. There are many such players across Europe and some can amply satisfy customers with limited needs typically customers that do not require a Pan-European service, or that do not require complex and fully managed Web hosting. Many of the providers in this segment are still subject to considerable pressures to consolidate further. Customers Take Control The Web hosting market in Western Europe is not quite a buyers' market. Not all services are available from all providers. Marketing and bundling differentiate products from competing providers and can confuse clients. But customers do have scope to choose. To find the most suitable fit of service provider, and get the best deal, customers should consider players from each quadrant. Players in the Leaders' quadrant are a good match for some clients but will not suit all customers, perhaps because of corporate culture, lack of specialist expertise in particular vertical sectors or geographical focus. Leaders can also be more expensive for some services than players in the other quadrants. This is particularly so where customers do not immediately need all the services the Leaders can offer. If customers might need further services later on, they may do well to develop a good working relationship with a service provider that can deliver in future. In-House Web Hosting Is the Biggest Competitor All service providers face stiff competition from Web hosting performed in-house by end-user organizations' IT departments. In-house solutions often appeal to customers because they can seem the safest option, that is, they appear to be a "known quantity." Such customers tend to be those that have not yet recognized the benefits of outsourcing non-core activities, though some have decided against outsourcing Web hosting services. Three major factors work in favor of in-house Web hosting. Apparent cost savings: The obvious cost of outsourcing Web hosting services is evidenced by the charges from a service provider, compared with the obscurity of the full cost of in-house provision. In-house provision often does not take into account all overheads. For example, costs of cleaning and properly maintaining back-up generators may not be fully recognized and associated with the Web hosting effort. 9 September

4 Not comparing like with like: It is rarely cost-effective for individual organizations to provide themselves, in-house, with services of equal quality to those of specialist external Web hosting service providers. Often, it is only once customers see for themselves the facilities and services that providers actually offer that they realize what they are missing and the risks they may be taking in using internal services. For example, security of facilities in-house is usually not on a par with the best specialist providers and the costs and difficulty of recruiting and retaining true specialists, rather than good all rounders, in the IT department can be underestimated. Benefit of self-reliance: Some customers fear being let down by a service provider. They do not understand the array of options that Web hosting companies can offer. These allow customers to retain control and direct what they want to achieve through Web hosting, while delegating responsibility for everyday tasks to a well-qualified service provider. Customers are right to be concerned about being let down by a service provider as Web hosting services grow in importance to clients. Customers need good advice on the services they need and should choose an appropriate service provider that is a good match to these needs and their organization. Customers should satisfy themselves that their service provider has stable finances and corporate structure and a long-term commitment to Web hosting. Contracts with service providers should be written carefully to reflect immediate and future needs. In long-term contracts should, ideally, allow clients to renegotiate terms should market prices change. Customers must also build good working relations with their service providers. These factors can be particularly powerful where internal IT departments are influential and wish to retain control of all services. Other organizations can see the benefits of outsourcing Web hosting services, which can be done to complement inhouse expertise. Service providers have reported a rise in demand for Web hosting colocation services since early More customers are realizing that Web hosting service providers can offer value and a good match with their own organizations' strengths. This trend may grow. As users become more sophisticated and ambitious about what they can do as businesses through Web hosting, they look again at what they can expect in-house services to deliver on top of existing requirements. Also, some premier service providers are starting to offer to manage customers' Web hosting facilities remotely. Customers can choose colocation facilities, at almost commodity prices, from the cheapest Web hosting providers, and engage with more capable 9 September

5 service providers for added-value services, like managing the servers, security and applications. Bottom Line: Customers should declare future as well as immediate needs to prospective service providers. Most providers said they would negotiate specially to sign customers beneath their typical base, if the customer was a good prospect to take more services later. Those that do not anticipate needing a full range and geographic spread of services for several years should also consider providers that did not qualify for the Magic Quadrant (that is, those in the "Others" section in the Magic Quadrant document). But they should be aware of the risk of further consolidation among players in this category. In any event, customers should maintain a contingency plan to protect themselves against the failure of any service provider (see "Act Now to Secure Your Web Hosting"). 9 September

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