Choose and manage your IT supplier

The different types of IT suppliers

Though most IT suppliers can provide a comprehensive range of hardware, software and services, there are some differences between them. For example:

  • resellers act as agents for hardware manufacturers, but can also offer software and a wide range of IT services and support
  • system integrators select the appropriate hardware and software for your specific needs and deliver an integrated, working system
  • specialist suppliers have expertise in one specific area, such as customer-relationship management systems
  • consultants may just provide consultancy, with no hardware, software or maintenance services
  • retail, mail order and online suppliers may be appropriate if you're confident you don't need advice and simply need someone to supply the IT system

Size of supplier

IT suppliers range from small local outfits to global organisations. Even the largest suppliers can provide systems, services and consultancy to small businesses.

You may rely on your supplier for a system that's central to your business success. You need complete confidence in them. A local business, or a larger company with a local office, can be a reassuring presence.

Single source or multiple suppliers

Unless you have extensive IT expertise in-house, it's generally best to use a single supplier for all hardware, software, services and support.

If you buy from multiple suppliers, you'll have to decide which one is responsible when there's a problem - unless you have a service provider prepared to support your whole system.

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The National B2B Centre