Spiceworks offers in-app purchasing for IT
Free network management supplier Spiceworks plans to turn up the heat on suppliers.
Spiceworks, which claims 1.5 million users worldwide and nearly 150,000 in the UK, is adding apps to enable its users to do 'social shopping' for IT services and supplies.
Company founder and chief marketing officer Jay Hallberg said the idea grew out of the fact that, along with system status, its cloud-based network monitoring tools can track such things as the ink levels of network printers.
He said users suggested adding the ability to click on an expiring ink cartridge and automatically order a replacement.
The company started about five years ago with a free network monitoring tool, but has now added a broad range of other capabilities, including managing cloud services, tracking system warranties, a user helpdesk, power management and social networking features. All this is visible to the network manager as a browser-based dashboard or portal.
As well as buying ink, users will be able to use their Spiceworks dashboard to renew warranties, buy remotely-hosted servers and cloud email services, and request quotes for the supply of IT gear.
Future plans include the ability to share and discuss RFQs with trusted peers in the Spiceworks user community in order to exchange tips and best practices. Users can also tap their peers for advice and consultancy this is especially important for those considering a migration to Google Apps, Hallberg said.
Spiceworks is currently building relationships with vendors warranty renewals are only available with Dell, HP and Lenovo so far, for example and it hopes eventually its user community will have the buying power to obtain worthwhile discounts.
"We are taking a lot of cost out of the purchase system," he said. "For example, we have negotiated 20 per cent off on Rackspace cloud email."
"We are finding warranty renewal rates are higher in the Spiceworks [user] network than direct to vendor, because the alerts and status are right there in front of you. We can also offer reporting, for example on your organisation's monthly ink usage," he added.
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