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Hardware Comparison Strategies: Choosing Between Two Equal Products

When shopping for new technology, you likely come to the market with various search parameters. For example, your budget and the features you deem important will determine which products are suitable. But as you comb through the results, you may find that sundry products meet your criteria. When all the technical specifications stack up evenly, how can you decide on the right product?

Ask the Experts and Consult User-Generated Content

Dealing with a licensed distributor can simplify product selection. Your representative comes to understand your business and can make intelligent, forward-looking recommendations. For instance, a distributor that deals with Managed Service Providers (MSP) will develop keen insights into what makes a product succeed for an MSP—not just which products work.

Besides the advice from your distributor, remember that the community often knows best. Turn to user reviews, comments and case studies. Which products have other companies chosen and what do they have to say about them?

Assess the Brands Your Competitors Partner with

Others in your industry must make the same product decisions, so search for wisdom in the avenues other businesses have taken. Sometimes, service providers post their hardware right online. For those that don't, you'll need to conduct a secret-shopper mission. Once in another company’s sales funnel, you can ask them about their hardware choices to discover details you may have overlooked.

It’s important to refrain from copying your competitors. Products that work for them might not work for you. Moreover, you cannot confirm that they’ve done their due diligence. Thus, look again at the user-generated content surrounding those brands to see what their users have to say.

Investigate the Brand, Its Projections, and Its Initiatives

When two products match your needs, you should look beyond the scope of your own specifications. Look at your hardware investment: is this a brand you can integrate with long-term? An industry-leading manufacturer may bring stability whereas a startup might offer innovation. Larger companies will diversify their offerings while smaller ones specialize. Unless you consider such details about the brand, you might end up piece-and-parceling your solutions.

Another aspect to investigate is the company’s directives. What is it doing now, how is it going and what will it do over the next few years? A company that changes its specialization may create limitations in your business. Those committed to your sector and its hardware will only improve with subsequent models.

Compare Value-Added Services and Incentives

Like the previous point, it’s not always about the product. Sometimes you need to consider the context (i.e. its support). If two products offer the same physical benefits, then perhaps one trumps the other's warranty. Compare the support resources, including its setup and maintenance documentation, to see how your product will fit into your support procedures overall.