New hardware purchasing insights

Providing IT insights to the IT management team in mid-sized organizations is a critically important role. Many face a plethora of options and choices when faced with an IT implementation, and selecting the best products and processes can be a major challenge. As we, at Info-Tech, look to address these headaches, so do you, the solution provider. To do so, we collectively must be up-to-date on the latest IT trends. We also must be able provide tips and insights to successfully leverage the latest technology.

In a recent survey conducted amongst North American IT managers, Info-Tech Research asked about the hardware selection process. The objective was to better understand how a particular brand, or vendor, was selected over all of the others. Finishing in first place, with an estimated 18 per cent of survey responses, was “corporate standard”. If a vendor made the cut, as it were, and became the corporate standard, either in a homogeneous or in a heterogeneous, installation, the odds improved that they vendor or brand would be selected for hardware purchases.

For example, in a homogeneous setting, if Hewlett-Packard was the corporate standard for servers, the likelihood increased that it would be selected for PC purchases. In a heterogeneous environment, if a HP and IBM were both installed in the server room, they odds increased that they might also make it into the storage arena.

Placing in second place, with 16 per cent of the responses, was price. Not surprisingly, as with any expenditure, price is a major concern when purchasing product.

From there, product quality was mentioned. Products earned a collective 21 per cent of responses, including reliability, quality and performance. The value of the brand outweighed that of the vendor (5.5 per cent). I’m reminded of the Lenovo purchase, and of the ThinkPad “brand”. Holding on to the ThinkPad product brand enabled Lenovo to reap the benefits of the strong value of the brand, while building up the strength of the Lenovo name in markets where it was formerly weak, such as in North America.

When dealing with your customers, be sure to address their concerns. Work within their framework. Address their corporate standards, working and providing options that best fit within that infrastructure. Then address the pricing issue. This doesn’t mean that they are only looking for the cheapest price, but one that works within their budget, and provides value for the investment. Simultaneously, look to the product brand. This is where the vendor plays a key role. Ensure that you are partnered with vendors who are recognized as having valuable brands – with a high quality, performance-based and reliable products. Addressing the top three issues will help service your customer in the most effective manner, and create a win-win scenario, and extra value for you, the trusted solution provider.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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