The key IIMS suppliers in the UK vary to some extent depending on large projects. In 2005, Systimax was the leader, but Siemon, Nexans and Brand-Rex were also significant. In 2006, Tyco Electronics almost tripled its sales and Panduit carried out a number of projects for Morgan Stanley (although, in number of managed ports, they were both slightly behind Systimax). In 2007, Systimax dominated the UK IIMS market with more than half the installed managed ports.
The majority of the IIMS market is supplied by three generic suppliers of IIM solutions, such as iTRACS, RiT and CommScope (Systimax). iTRACS has six partners: Corning, Molex, Nexans, Ortronics, Siemon and Tyco Electronics, whereas RiT has eight partners: ADC Krone, Belden, Brand-Rex, Connectix, Furukawa, LS Simple, Panduit and Simon Electric.
RiT supplies its own hardware, while iTRACS supplies software only. A few other suppliers have been offering a different system, such as Panduit from 2008 and HellermannTyton from 2005.
The premium paid by the end-user is typically 15-25 per cent for a fully enabled IIMS system with analysers and software. Most suppliers have global prices, but the price level can vary slightly depending on country or region, and more so in relation to project size and the competition.
The following factors should be taken into consideration by IT consultants when advising clients:
- the size of the projects and company
- the staff churn rate
- the size of the client's IT department
- the number of remote sites
- security issues.
Some suppliers sell the IIMS hardware at the same price as standard hardware with end-users procuring the analysers and software separately. Most end-users will opt for a fully-operational system upfront, while a few end-users will leave the installation of analysers and software until later.
End-users with enabled systems will most likely stay loyal to the supplier. BSRIA is only aware of one project where the end-user has decided to install a different brand of analysers and software.
Payback time can be a driver as well as a barrier. Most clients are willing to accept a one to three-year payback, but very few seem to accept more than three years.
BSRIA carried out a survey in the autumn of 2008 of managers responsible for IT cabling in data centres as part of BSRIA's UK Data Centre Survey (published in April 2009). The survey showed that an increase in performance, efficiency and reliability were the main reasons for installing IIMS in data centres.
The largest barriers have previously been lack of awareness and understanding, but this is diminishing as the consultants and end-users increasingly learn about IIMS. Most installations take place in new buildings or complete refurbishments.
Cost is also a barrier, as is the lack of compatibility between different IIMS offerings as some end-users do not want to be locked into one vendor. The installations have historically been very large corporations, but the typical size of projects has decreased over the last few years and many projects are today only 1,000 - 5,000 managed ports.
As mentioned earlier, the premium on IIMS solutions has been reduced and is in the range of 15-25 percent, but that does not include the post installation training that is required for the IT staff to fully understand the IIM solution and its features. Most of the successful projects, where the solution is fully installed and operational, are with clients who consider the solution as software and allocated the time and effort to implement it correctly.
Lone Hansen is a market researcher at BSRIA covering world markets in IT cabling and associated technologies.