In the soon to be released 2018 CTRM Vendor Perception Study by Commodity Technology Advisory, the strength of the combined ION acquisitions has been measured for the first time via the industry-wide survey conducted this last 6-months or so. As the survey and report represents perceptions, the study represents user and influencer opinions up to late 2018. The combined name recognition of the ION brands (Openlink, TriplePoint and Aspect) in the CTRM space was around 84% of the respondents (or, more precisely, 84% of all respondents named one or more ION companies without prompting). Also showing strongly was Allegro with about 75% of the respondents naming that company, followed by Brady PLC with just over 40%, FIS with 34% and Eka, cited by 30% of those responding to our survey.
Most of the ION brand recognition is attributable to the Openlink brand which was mentioned by about 78% of all respondents. The strength of Openlink isn’t surprising, as that company has consistently led in the unprompted brand category in our surveys since 2011. While the TriplePoint brand has continued its slide that started soon after its acquisition by ION, that decline is more than compensated for by the increasing brand strength of Aspect (acquired by ION in early 2018) which has been increasing in market recognition largely due to the company’s rapid growth and success in delivering cloud-based CTRM solutions.
The recent acquisitions by ION has combined several of the most recognizable brands under a single umbrella, and the combined brand ‘clout’ of the ION companies (ION Openlink, ION TriplePoint and ION Aspect) is pervasive in our study. ION future brand strategy will, of course, evolve over time and decisions such as whether to maintain the Openlink company name and/or product names such as Endur and RightAngle will impact, to some degree, their ranking in future perception studies.
That being said, the rapid evolution of the ETRM/CTRM markets will likely have an even greater impact on the how future market perceptions are shaped. With more acquisitions among existing vendors expected, the continuing shift to the cloud and a trend away from large monolithic solutions towards ecosystems comprised of multiple specialized solutions, the landscape of vendors (and the markets’ perceptions of those vendors) is very likely to be different over the next several years. If, as we at ComTech expect, market growth continues to be driven by the low-mid and low tiers of the market, smaller vendors specializing in commodity or functional niches will continue to benefit and the larger vendors could see their market leads, in both revenues and market perceptions, impacted.