IT catastrophes get noticed. People who resolve them do not. Consider what happens when malware runs rampant across a global corporation’s infrastructure:
Data gets corrupted, servers are shot and the whole infrastructure seems like it needs to be ripped and replaced. So the organization scrambles to install new infrastructure, but that’s just the beginning. Who’s supposed to perform the installation? Who’s going to procure the equipment? Who’s going to integrate, configure and test the hardware? Perhaps most importantly, who’s going to keep all the new equipment running long after it’s implemented?
These are thankless tasks that go unseen by the public but are critical to resolving—or better yet, preventing—catastrophes. And, in the wake of catastrophe, no hero is more unsung than the IT Buyer.
Understanding the Role of the IT Buyer
As a Buyer, you know how crucial your role is to the long-term success of any IT initiative. Whether you’re simply buying new hardware or sourcing a multi-vendor solution, there’s a lot hinging on the partner you ultimately choose to be your organization’s solution provider. And what most outsiders—and perhaps even your own teammates—may not understand about the scope of your responsibility is that it extends across four phases of the procurement process. We’ll call it the IT Buyer’s Journey.
Explore the IT Buyer’s Journey
If you’re a Buyer, your job is to buy, right? Not quite. What you do is far more complex and requires you have your finger on the pulse of a multitude of different aspects of your business. For instance:
- Will you have a dedicated point of contact for quotes?
- Does your organization have a supplier diversity requirement it needs to fulfill?
- Does your solution provider have top-level partnerships with manufacturers?
- Do you need subscription-based billing on capital expenditure?
- Will you need to ship products across the globe?
2. Integration and Configuration
While few IT Buyers are ever going to be the ones who also integrate and configure newly procured solutions, you still need to be mindful of the nuts and bolts of this process. Think about a global IT rollout—that’s an initiative that requires specialized expertise and large, secure facilities with tons of power.
As a Buyer, if you know what it takes to successfully stage, integrate and configure new multi-vendor IT solutions, you can help find solution providers that give your team the support they need to prime solutions for implementation.
It may be hard to believe, but IT Buyers are some of the most important players in the implementation process. Here’s why: when hardware is dead on arrival (DOA), someone has to work with the manufacturer to escalate a service request and get replacements out ASAP. And this isn’t as easy as just making a phone call. It requires having a deep relationship with the manufacturer and dedicated support for an escalation.
4. Asset Management and Contract Renewal
The best IT Buyers know that a purchase request isn’t ever truly fulfilled. That’s because assets are a lot like your car. They have a lifecycle and require maintenance, upkeep and occasional tune-ups. Now imagine you have 1,000 cars of all different years, makes and models across four different countries. Think about how cumbersome it might be to track down the oil change date for one specific car when you have that many to manage! That’s the challenge of managing hundreds of multi-vendor IT assets—you’re constantly making sure that the right asset is on the right service level at the right time.
Unfortunately, the reality is that the tediousness of asset management often comes with the territory for many IT Buyers. The better equipped an IT partner is to support asset management, the more help they can provide in managing the details, and the more time and energy you’ll be able to devote to procuring new solutions.
Technology evolves fast, which means the people and processes that support technology solutions can’t sit still. In this climate, IT Buyers gain an edge when they look 10 steps ahead, understanding what their organization needs to avoid future roadblocks and finding a partner that helps them achieve it all.
Want a sneak-peek at phase one of the IT Buyer’s Journey? Download our partner evaluation checklist now.