Get Multiple Vendor Quotes Before Buying IT Equipment or Software
One of the easiest ways to save money for every organization from 5 employees to 5,000 is to get competing quotes on all hardware and software purchases over $500. If you buy a lot of consumables per year, that threshold may even come down to $200-300.
If you have an outsourced IT service provider that is recommending your company purchase IT equipment (servers, switches, battery backups, new user computers) or software purchases (office, PDF editors, even large scale software packages), then prior to purchasing, get at least 3 quotes from different IT vendors.
Multiple vendor quote sourcing has been a bedrock principle in government purchasing for decades for good reason. Every company you are purchasing equipment and software from has a markup, I'm not saying you're going to get anything at cost, but there can be a significant difference between a 8-12% markup versus 300%. Remember for software, typically the development cost is already spent, so any money made from the sale to you, is most likely profit, and all prices are conditional to the number of sales in the quarter/year.
I also think that it's a good litmus test to why you need the requested hardware or software. If during the process of getting quotes you find there are competing companies or technology, use that to your advantage. I also ask the vendors what they recommend for the issue, or if there are any competing products to your requested item. IT and technology change every day, make sure you're getting the maximum value for your money.
Where to go? I like the normal channels, some direct, Microsoft or adobe for example, but even those I would run by larger IT vendors; CDW, New Egg, GHA Technologies, etc, as well as your local IT service provider or equipment reseller. I typically get a rough quote from 3, then get a detailed quote from 2. Try it, I bet you save money.