Symposium to talk up buying trends

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Gartner's annual travelling talkfest, Symposium, will put customer relationships with vendors and other IT providers under the spotlight next month, an analyst has said.

Gartner's annual travelling talkfest, Symposium, will put customer relationships with vendors and other IT providers under the spotlight next month, an analyst has said.

Robin Simpson, research director at Gartner, said Symposium 2005, which traditionally takes a look at emerging trends and ICT opportunities for the coming year, would examine the state of play between vendors, IT providers and their customers.

"We're trying to take a slightly different approach to [Symposium] this time," he said. "There's a session called 'Are your Customers Revolting?' on how, for many, purchasing decisions are going back into the hands of the customers."

IT providers might want to look at their current customer communication channels and review how customers really decided what they wanted to buy, Simpson said.

He said many, if not most, customers now used 'new media' such as blogs and Google as well as word of mouth to find information that helped them select new technology.

Vendors and IT providers would have to more successfully address those channels to get their marketing messages through, Simpson suggested.

"It's quite a challenge for brands that used to really rely on brand," he said.

Simpson said Symposium would also look at consumption of IT by consumers in the mobile and wireless and communications space. "These days, consumers are often the first to adopt new IT, often in their homes," he said.

As home users got used to having certain technologies at home, they would begin demanding it at work and in business. And businesses needed to be aware that they would need to support those technologies -- because their staff were already using them no matter what company policy was, Simpson added.

"IT departments need to kind of say, 'we need to support wireless access from home', to come to the realisation that they already are providing remote access," he said.

Symposium would also scope out the prospects for emerging technologies, future broadband pipes and WiMAX development, Simpson said.

It would also investigate ongoing battles for open source relevance and for leadership of the networking space.

Whether Cisco's position was seriously under attack would be examined in a vendor session on the new network order, presented by Gartner analyst Mark Fabbi.

Another Gartner analyst, Brian Prentice, would look at a war brewing between Apple and Novell for relevance in the open source market.
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