Cisco is committed to supporting and providing secure, reliable solutions for local government and education customers as part of their SLED initiative. As part of that focus, Cisco recently conducted a study with decision makers from local governments and smaller education institutions (K-12 and higher education) to reveal the priorities and buying behaviors prevalent in that vertical. Budget concerns continue to dominate IT thinking in local government and education organizations, and IT staff are being asked to do more with less and use technology to improve efficiencies, streamline processes, and advance communication. In addition, in keeping with current trends in the consumer marketplace, they are also looking to offer more online services for their ‘customers’ (citizens and students). And with less money available for IT, they are also stretching hardware lifecycles, keeping servers, for instance, in production for seven years or more.
Here are a few of the findings into SLED decision maker’s buying behavior:
Investment vs. Budget Lifecycle: Budgets are approved annually for the financial year ahead, but IT investment is planned strategically (often in five-year plans).
Justification is Key: In principle, IT is viewed as an “enabler,” but the bottom line cannot be ignored. TDMs are careful to propose only “responsible” initiatives that they can fully justify.
Local Partners Have the Advantage: Many customers prefer to purchase from local channel partners both to support local business and in order to have face-to-face contact.
Partner Influence: “Trusted Advisors” are typically consultants and colleagues; reseller partners can influence product or brand purchases, though many customers are wary of selling motivations.
In-House vs. Contract Utilization: Many organizations want to keep as much work as possible in-house; however, outside help (contracting) is still frequently needed with complex solutions.
No “Room” For the Support: Unfortunately, extra “advanced” services and extended warranties are frequently rejected on the grounds of cost.
As outlined above, there is a huge need to support SLED customers with proven, reliable solutions that not only meet their priorities but strike a balance between their wants, needs, and budget. Thus, it is critical for both Cisco and our partners to approach at the right time in the budget cycle, demonstrate value to the customer, and, over all, support their budget concerns. Want to learn more about Cisco’s solutions for public sector, including local government and EDU? Visit www.cisco.com/go/government or contact the ScanSource Cisco Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.