The old rule that no one in IT gets fired for buying IBM and Lotus is as dead as buying IBM and Lotus. The modern corollary – that an IT environment should use a single vendor across as many parts of the system as possible – might have some life left, but it fails to take advantage of the opportunities that can be found in multi-manufacturer environments. While using best of breed solutions from many different vendors can create a harder to manage IT infrastructure, it can also provide more functionality with better performance at lower cost. Having an IT consulting firm that can help set up the right IT management systems can make the rewards of a multi-vendor strategy outweigh the risks.
The Rewards of Multi-Manufacturer IT Environments
Working with your technolgy partner to have multiple manufacturers in your IT infrastructure brings three key benefits:
- When vendors know that they have to compete for your business every time, they are more likely to offer competitive pricing for every purchase. In a single vendor environment, the manufacturer knows that once it has you as a customer it has less need to be competitive.
- Having multiple manufacturers represented reduces the risk of having your system go down if any given manufacturer’s products turn out to have faulty hardware or software or if that company goes out of business.
- Innovation becomes easier since your business and your technology partner do not get tied into any one vendor’s plans or roadmap for the future.
Risks of Multi-Manufacturer Environments
Having a multi-manufacturer environment does introduce an element of risk. However, these risks are easily managed, given the right internal team and the right IT consulting firm to back you up:
- Potential increased cost for having multiple vendor-specific management systems all running at once
- IT management has to either have an IT consulting firm that can help handle multiple vendor relationships or has to do it in-house
- Sourcing staff becomes more challenging because IT resources need to have a deeper understanding of the underlying technology instead of just having vendor-specific skills
- Managing the interoperation of devices from multiple manufacturers can be complicated, especially if they are not completely compatible with each other
How the Right IT Consulting Firm Balances Risks and Rewards
Whether your company leverages in-house staff or takes advantage of a local technology partner, the risks inherent in multi-manufacturer environments can be managed, leaving you to benefit from the cost efficiencies and other rewards. Some of the strategies that you can discuss with your IT consultant include:
- Finding products that are based on open standards, instead of on proprietary technology, to decrease the risk of compatibility and interoperation issues
- Designing multi-manufacturer environments from the initial deployment
- Working with an IT consulting firm that has the ability to work with products from multiple vendors while hiring your own staff that shares those capabilities
- Using demo products from vendors and your IT consulting firm in your own lab to ensure interoperability before your company goes live with new equipment
If you’d like help with this process, JCMR Technology is an IT consulting firm with experience in multi-manufacturer environments. We design customized IT solutions that work with as many, or as few, vendors’ technologies as is appropriate.
About the Author
Mr. Jake Kent is an Entrepreneur & Business Owner specializing in Information Technology. Jake has founded eight companies, to include Information Technology Consulting & Delivery, Investment Real Estate and Community Banking. Jake brings vision, leadership and a strong work ethic to the CEO role. He leads by example, possessing remarkable skills, experience and expertise across business strategy, operations, financial management and sales & marketing. Jake is a founder of the Matthew-Mint Hill Optimist Club and a Board Member of the Ballantyne IT Professionals Non-profit. Read More..