Building Buyer and Supplier Relationships
Updated: Nov 4
Author: Phil Clark, Founder of Embedded IT.
We provide two perspectives on the IT Supply Chain - one from the perspective of the Buyer, and the other from the perspective of the Supplier. We try to keep this perspective balanced, as we believe that understanding both sides of the buying / selling transaction delivers the best services for our clients. This ultimately builds stronger relationships between the Buyer and Supplier, in a fragmented and complex industry.
Part of this process is to gain a clear understanding of the UK IT Supply Chain, but doing so is not as easy as it sounds. With about 353,000 registered IT businesses in the UK, trying to understand the motivations and agenda of each of them is difficult. We are generally reliant on publicly available information – some of which is inaccurate or out of date. Many of these businesses are individual contractors as opposed to service providers, some are dormant, and some are wrongly coded as IT companies. These factors make it even more complicated to navigate.
We provide a service to IT Suppliers and IT Buyers called the Embedded Directory - a website that matches buyers to suppliers from “fact based” attributes. As part of the build and maintenance of the Directory we look for information to store on IT Suppliers. We do this by looking at publicly available data sources such as Companies House. We then present this information to buyers to help them make sourcing decisions. Using the data we hold on a company, we make buying recommendations based on a “matching” algorithm, suggesting to the buyer which IT company to use based on capability, location, turnover, size, industry focus, referencability, etc.
The better quality of the information, the more likely a supplier will be presented to a buyer. Therefore, we’re always trying to find ways of supplementing the data to make informed suggestions. Since last summer we’ve been working hard at developing a process to leverage IT Supplier website data, to spot keywords, and to populate this data. We have reviewed about 16 million webpages of data across 35,000 companies to see what they offer. It has been an interesting process.
Some interesting stats have emerged:
About 20% of all webpages (roughly 3 million pages) mention the word cloud. In fact, about 1% of all IT company names contain the word “cloud” somewhere in their registered name.
About 1,000 companies claim to be a Microsoft Partner, of which about 520 claim to be a Microsoft Gold Partner. I’m unsure of the actual numbers of Gold Cloud Partners Microsoft have, but this feels quite heavy.
There were more mentions of “AI” and “Artificial Intelligence” than other key technologies, such as Big Data, IoT or Blockchain.
The average age of a UK IT company Director is around 49, yet 20-25% of all Directors are over 60. This suggests the possibility for many changes within the industry over the coming years. The capabilities of an IT company influences the average age of their directorship, for instance companies that deliver Wordpress services have an average age of 44.
For example, within the context of a supplier of cloud services, how do you find your dream client? You probably have a target sweet spot client - within a certain distance of your office, within a certain industry, and within a certain size. But, in all of the noise surrounding the IT industry, how do they find you? Your marketing is competing with 350,000+ companies in the UK for the attention of that buyer, not the mention that Google Adwords are expensive, and can still be quite “hit and miss”.
The role of the Embedded Directory is trying to collate all of these attributes to support a specific search by Buyers. It costs nothing to be listed, however to amend or update your entry to improve your criteria, you are required to register and pay a small subscription fee. This would allow you to add details such as target industry, client size, or maintain your capabilities. If a Buyer contracts with you as a result of the service there is a small commission. All details regarding payments or commissions are provided on our pricing page.
Our objective is to provide the right sort of introductions to the right sort of buyers, based on what you do and who you are. Our complex and fragmented industry is desperate for a simpler way to engage, a way that provides everyone with an even footing to find clients based on data and attributes, rather than costly advertising.
The service will evolve over time to incorporate other sources of data, improving the buying experience and accuracy of introductions.
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