It Vendor Direct ~ resources on the web

In an era where new products are constantly launched and vendors such as Intel release 15 chips simultaneously, it is often difficult to keep on top of industry trends and offerings.

Recognising an opportunity, GartnerGroup last year launched its IT Vendor Direct site, which aims to simplify the entire process of attaining product information.

This worldwide initiative is a free service for visitors to GartnerGroup's Web site and provides profiles of participating vendors, product alerts and links to particular vendor Web sites.

`This is a one-stop resource where vendors of all sizes are displayed on a level playing field without the hype of vendor Web sites,' said Melissa Wong, a spokesperson for GartnerGroup.

IT Vendor Direct also has the facilities to contact the vendor directly with a request information button at the top of each page, which allows punters to receive information by phone, fax, e-mail or snail mail.

GartnerGroup will also send weekly e-mails to subscribers that summarise product alerts of the week before.

The service is divided into 19 different categories, including computers and peripherals, electronic commerce, year 2000 and IT services.

At present there are hundreds of vendors participating in the initiative in the US, some of which include AMD, Intel, Cabletron, Veritas, Symantec and Remedy.

And although the Australian and Asia-Pacific segment of the site is relatively under-developed, with only three vendors listed at the moment (Avnet/ Integrand, IFS Industrial and Financial Systems and Samsung), GartnerGroup has plans to expand it. According to Wong, vendors are becoming increasingly interested in using the service to drive traffic to their own sites and to provide information to potential and existing customers.

Although initially designed to address the needs of the `IT decision makers', Wong said the site was a tool that business-to-business channels could utilise. `It eliminates the frustration of having to navigate through numerous Web sites to find information about industry vendors and the latest product offerings,' she said.