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Hardware & Infrastructure
03:11 PM

PC Upgrades Go Straight To The Source

The fastest and most efficient way to any destination is the shortest path possible. And when the destination is PC upgrades, companies are choosing the most immediate route available. PC upgrade dollars aren't flowing to retailers or value-added resellers but rather to PC vendors, according to respondents to InformationWeek Research's new Analyzing The PC Vendors report. In this survey, customers of top PC desktop and notebook vendors rate their key suppliers and reveal purchasing priorities.

Asked where PC purchase preferences are, nearly seven in 10 of the study's 875 business-technology professionals say they'd rather buy directly from the vendors.

Purchasing ChannelsIt's not just the megacorporations that have a preference. More than two-thirds of the study's small, midsize, and large companies are buying at least some computers direct from the maker.

Value-added resellers and integrators see a larger slice of the PC investment pie when upgrades involve Hewlett-Packard, IBM, or Toshiba PCs. Approximately 30% of desktop customers surveyed buy through value-added resellers or integrators in these instances. However, this number drops below 27% for notebook purchases.

Anyone who has even casually observed Dell's rise knows that the prospect of making a direct purchase influences the vendor-selection process. Two in five of the sites surveyed report that working directly with a PC vendor is an important consideration in their final choice of desktop and notebook provider. That rates higher as a vendor-selection criterion than service agreements or guarantees, the availability of customized products, or access to cutting-edge technology. Buying direct is equally relevant for all sizes of companies, with 45% of small, 41% of midsize, and 42% of large companies saying that it enters into their decision making.

How does your company plan to update its PC infrastructure next year? Share your strategy with us at the address below.

Helen D'Antoni
Senior Editor, Research
[email protected]

Direct Line

Does your company upgrade PCs directly through vendors?

A vast majority of companies prefer to work directly with PC vendors for upgrades. But some vendors are better equipped than others at handling working relations with business customers. Gateway and Dell were founded with a customer focus. Customers of these vendors are most likely to make direct purchases, according our report. About half of Hewlett-Packard's and Toshiba's customers are likely to go the direct route, which is slightly less than IBM's customers.

Happy CustomersHappy Customers

How satisfied is your company with its choice of PC vendor?

Being able to buy directly from PC vendors is having a positive impact on the outcomes of PC transactions. Businesses that purchase machines directly from manufacturers report a high level of satisfaction with their final purchases. Eighty-six percent of sites report either being highly satisfied or satisfied with the vendor. Only 14% of the direct buyers were disappointed with the end results.

Written AssurancesWritten Assurances

Are service agreements and guarantees deciding factors when selecting a PC vendor?

Five years ago, the typical help desk supported 20 to 25 applications. Today, support has escalated to 200 apps on average, according to Gartner. Considering the complexity of PC operations, companies are seeking assurance that PC purchases will work for them and not against them. Two in five companies we interviewed stress that service agreements and guarantees are deciding factors in their final choice of PC supplier.

Made to OrderMade To Order

Are customized products an important criterion in your company's choice of a PC vendor?

PC requirements fluctuate from company to company and industry to industry yet, in general, businesses aren't looking for computers loaded with customized products. IT divisions can handle some customizations on the back end of the purchase and as the need arises. Only in the case of small companies is the availability of custom products influencing the buying decisions. With fewer IT resources to depend on, machines that come through the door are likely to be exactly the same when they're put into employees' hands.

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