End-Users: The term with many ideas
By: Nick Jackson, PowerSource Online
Look up the term “end user” in Webster’s dictionary and you will find the following definition: The ultimate consumer of a finished product. When speaking of retail stores, this definition of an end user holds true. When it comes to the IT and Telecommunications industries, the idea of an end user may not be as easily defined.
If you survey IT and telecom hardware dealers who specialize in laptops, central office, PBX phones or printers, you will most likely get different definitions or ideas of what an end user means to each dealer. You may even find different ideas of an end user within the same segment of the industry. Within these Industries, an end user is in the eye of the beholder.
For example, I will highlight a Central Office company and a Telco (or Carrier); both benefit from dealing with end users when it comes to switches, multiplexers, or other Central Office equipment. If you investigate further, you will find that while closely affiliated, their idea of an end user is completely different. A company specializing in the sales of Central Office equipment may see an end user as a Telco due to the fact that they are actually going to use the products internally to provide their services. The Telco’s end user is a business or individual who is going to use the service that a Telco would provide. You can see how closely related these two companies are but their ideas of an end user are different.
Within the IT equipment Industry, I can use a service company as an example of a different definition of an end user. This service company may specialize in laptop repair, networking installations, or data recovery; an end user to this service company may be a small business, corporation, or individual. However, in some cases within the IT equipment Industry, the service company themselves may be considered an end user. A dealer or reseller may view a service company as an end user based on the fact that they are ultimately the ones using the product to perform a repair. This can also hold true for other segments of the industry such as office equipment or point of sale equipment, where the idea holds true that if an entity is not reselling the equipment, the could be seen as an end user.
Ultimately, the definition of an end user, as provided by many online resources is very accurate. It is the idea of what an end user is that may be changing. In all the cases above, and end user is an entity or individual who is ultimately going to use the product. An individual may use the product to make a copy or send an email, while a service company may use the product in an installation or repair situation.
For those of you who are involved in the IT or Telecommunications hardware industries, having a standard idea of what an end user is not necessary, however having the understanding that others may have a different idea is critical. At some point you may be asked if you deal with end users and expressing your idea of an end user and understanding the idea of the person who is asking may be the difference between taking advantage of a great opportunity or missing out on it.
So next time someone asks you if you deal with end users, what will your answer be?