commentary Picking vendors to supply hardware and services for corporate voice and data networks is certainly no easy task.
On the one hand you've got giants like Cisco, which has a huge
market share and a reputation for excellent hardware and customer
However most IT bosses your writer has spoken to would agree
Cisco's prices are a little steep.
"Cisco was far too expensive ... also the problem with Cisco
was that integrating a call centre solution with it was going to
be difficult," he told your writer late last year.
The common perception is that Chinese vendors like Huawei are
at the other end of the price scale, with vendors like 3Com,
Nortel, Alcatel, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard's Procurve division and even
Dell sitting somewhere in the middle.
It's hard to say in general what sort of reputation each
vendor in this group has at the moment, but most IT managers have
a personal favourite.
Your writer has seen all of these vendors achieving recent
wins in the Australian market, particularly in their individual
areas of strength.
For example 3Com subsidiary TippingPoint gives the vendor a
strong presence in the security market.
Voice specialists NEC, Avaya, Mitel and even Zultys are also
throwing their weight around at the moment, taking chunks of the
burgeoning IP telephony market.
When it comes down to it, IT bosses obviously must closely
examine their own needs and match them up with vendor solutions
-- there is no best fit for everyone.
But one important factor is trust.
When aged care specialist Hammond Care Group recently went
shopping for a new IP telephony system, the group's chief
technology consultant Bruce Coller needed to find a vendor that
understood his needs and wasn't just trying to make a sale.