Product reliability makes the IT choice easy

The GCN Reader Survey is intended to provide data on trends and product preferences. This survey is based on a telephone survey of 100 readers who on their subscription forms identified themselves as IT procurement officers.

Here's why a network administrator at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida wants the IT products he buys to be reliable: 'It makes my job easier.'

That makes perfect sense. It also makes perfect sense that many other government procurement officials would feel the same way.

In a GCN telephone survey, more than three-quarters of them'76 percent'identified reliability as the most important factor they take into account when purchasing IT products.

'It creates a major loss of time if the IT product is unreliable,' said a computer specialist at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

An Army CIO in Rapid City, S.D., linked reliability and brand-name reputation, which also was an important criterion for 38 percent in the survey.

'The reliability of the product gives it its reputation,' he said.

Getting best value for the money also was a major factor for 60 percent of the officials we talked with.

'Since we're using taxpayers' money, best value price is most important,' said a data acquisition manager for the National Weather Service in Columbia, S.C.

Quality of customer service and technical support were important to just under half (45 percent) of the survey participants, while quality of warranty was an essential ingredient to 41 percent.

The upgradability of the product was crucial to 38 percent of those we surveyed.

Where do procurement officials get information on products they buy?

For most of those we polled (82 percent), the Internet is now the best place to get the skinny on IT products.

'The Internet has the most available information,' said a Coast Guard systems supply officer in San Diego.

Computer publications also were an important source of info on IT products for 66 percent of government officials, the survey found.

'Computer publications give independent reviews, so that information can be credibly discerned,' said an FBI chief financial officer in Washington.

'Computer publications provide the groundwork before going online,' said an Army National Guard information assurance officer in Augusta, Maine.

Manufacturers' literature was another resource for 51 percent of the officials we polled.
'It gives us the opportunity to evaluate vendors,' said a systems chief at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington.

Still others rely on simple word-of-mouth. 'Networking with other people' is the way to get the real lowdown on products, said an Interior Department spectrum manager in Washington.


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