The commodity IT market is a challenging one for buyers, with a conveyor belt of products endlessly entering the market.
Keeping tabs on these new advances is difficult for any buyer with a need to know everything from the impact of future market trends to what will be business critical for them tomorrow.
When purchasing IT products, understanding the supply chain behind each product and the components that make up a finished product is key, especially when manufacturers plan their product portfolio up to a year before they hit the shelves.
But beyond the supply chain and the products coming on to the market a buyer also has to consider the different elements that a vendor will look at ahead of product development alone. They will consider market research to weigh up the varying demands of different geographical landscapes and business cultures, and will also be influenced by the speed at which the IT landscape is moving.
Advances in technology from other market players will also play a key role, with developments from the likes of Microsoft and Intel often influencing the market when it comes to driving innovation.
Insights into what brands are planning can give buyers an accurate view of what is going to be available months in advance, how much stock will be available and for how long.
Understanding this means understanding supply and demand conditions on price, and a good reseller partner should be able to provide support to that end.
Some suppliers will often build one batch at a low price to shake up the market. This will result in a quick shift of stock that, once gone, is gone. So, knowledge around the availability of certain products and their life cycle will enable buyers to be more confident in knowing when to make a timely purchase versus when they can afford to hold back.
What is required is a better understanding of the product. A buyer needs to consider how long a product has been on the market, whether the stock level is slowly decreasing along with price or whether there are any historical pricing trends that could suggest a further price drop?
To attain that level of data, many buyers turn to search engines. However, the disadvantage of search engines is the time it takes to get information, only to find the data pulled back is from a single point in time and that makes it out of date after one day at best.
The rapid dynamics of the supply chain rapidly change price and stock levels. Progressive methods of bringing together and helping buyers extract value from this often multi-format data do exist.
With more in-depth knowledge of the workings of the global IT supply chain and technology product life cycles, buyers can make more strategic decisions on time to purchase and IT resellers should again be able to help here.
Couple that with a handle on the mass of price and stock data available for comparison activity, and buyers should be able to make far more informed choices based on value to ultimately stretch the reach of existing IT budgets.
Al Nagar is head of benchmarking at KnowledgeBus.