Buying Power?

I was part of an interesting conversation last night during #vbeers in London. Actually it was a bit of a recurring topic so I couldn’t say for sure how it started. I just wanted to record my thoughts though.

In a nutshell, we were talking about buying decisions, how they are driven and what they best strategy is. The eventual consensus appeared (to me at least) to be that some companies have the right idea and some do not.

Think about a business, maybe a small one for example with a handful of employees. They’re expanding though and so they’re having to grow their IT infrastructure. Which vendor will they choose do you think? Will the decision be based on cost, features, familiarity or some combination of these and other factors?

I threw familiarity in there deliberately as it was the core part of the discussion. I think that familiarity plays a bigger role in buying decisions than people think. If you (or your employees) are familiar with a technology or vendor and the price difference is not astronomical, wouldn’t you choose the product that you’re most comfortable with?

Look at Apple. If you visit one of their stores you can pick up and iPhone or an iPad and play with it. In my mind that makes them instantly more attractive than other products where you have to ask a salesperson to get an item out and then you play with it briefly while they watch over you. Apple’s products may be more expensive and, depending on who you ask, they may be better than the competition but the fact that they’re more accessible in a shop gives them an edge.

And if your employees all have iPhones and iPads, eventually there will be pressure on any business to work them into their infrastructure strategy. In effect, business decisions will start to become influenced by the consumers that they employ. These are the people that vendors need to target and take a long term view about it.

Take another example, storage. If a growing business is looking to invest in some expensive storage technology, you’d hope that they would do their homework first. Given a choice between EMC and NetApp (other storage vendors do exist – this is an example) which would you choose? You can download a fully functional Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) from EMC and play with it, experiment a bit and run a proof-of concept. NetApp have a simulator also but you have to be a customer of theirs to use it. Does that not tip the balance in favour of EMC before anything else is considered?

Some vendors get it and some do not it would seem. They can’t rest on their laurels or the competition will give them a well deserved beating.

Michael is a Senior Consultant for Xtravirt. If it's got buttons or flashy lights on it then it'll probably be on his radar. When not "mending computers" (it's sometimes easier than explaining "cloud" to relatives), Michael provides essential education, entertainment and trampoline services to his two children.

Comments

  1. says

    Agreed, and this is where Veeam excel with both easy to use ‘free’ versions and good distribution of training videos etc.

    Apparently (according to @storagebod I think) Netapp will be making their VSA publically available. I think they should have done this a while ago but whenever the question has come up previously their reasoning has been around support. What if the customer configures it wrongly and then thinks the Netapp doesn’t work properly?

    Either way, given the ease of obtaining competitors VSA’s, I think Netapp need to get out there!

  2. says

    Veeam were another company that got mentioned in the conversation. Their approach is worthy of emulation by other vendors.

    I think it was @kiwi_si who noted that PHD Virtual and vRanger were taking it easy and have been blown away by Veeam.

    Interesting news about the NetApp VSA. They are in today, I might see if I can tease some information out of them…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *