Chances are, the IT ecosystem in your organization contains different technologies from different vendors, each with their own service contracts.
It’s not easy to manage the multi-vendor IT environment, and when it’s not well-managed, you can end up devoting too many resources to what should be simple everyday tasks.
Maybe life would be easier if you cut down the number of OEMs from whom you acquire your IT assets, in terms of managing service contracts and knowing who to call when there’s a problem. However, using a single-vendor approach can increase operational costs, drive up risks, and plant the seeds for future problems.
Plus, OEM “refresh cycles” are often shorter than companies wish they were. Most manufacturers cling to the one-year to five-year refresh standard, and many organizations go along with it, despite the fact that most organizations would keep working equipment longer if they could get vendor support for it. Which is better, limiting the OEMs you work with and possibly locking yourself into a strict upgrade cycle and possible higher costs, or diversifying OEMs and managing a more complex infrastructure? The answer is: it depends.
Too Diverse or too Homogeneous an OEM Ecosystem Can Be Problematic
If your IT environment encompasses too many vendors, you can have just as many problems as if you wedded your organization to just one vendor. With a wildly diverse IT environment, scaling up can be a hassle, and managing all those licenses and vendor contracts can be tough. Plus, you can limit your leverage as far as negotiating on price.
On the other hand, sticking with a single OEM for as much of your infrastructure as possible can make management less complicated, but do you really want to be tied to one vendor’s future strategy? Perhaps the best approach is somewhere in between the extremes, where your infrastructure is carefully curated from a selection of competent, well-managed vendors.
Reasons to Be Wary of the Single OEM Paradigm
If you stick with a single OEM, it’s all too easy to get into the habit of upgrading on schedule without questioning whether it’s the best move for your organization. Stick with the same OEM for years, and should you suddenly decide to put your entire structure out for bids, you could find out that you’ve been paying too much all those years, that the technology had changed, and that you’ve been maximizing your OEM’s benefits, rather than your own.
Diversification in Growing Enterprises
If your organization is on a fast growth track, it’s important to beware of being too committed to a single OEM. If you’re trying to grow while enforcing a strict one-vendor policy, you set your organization up for unnecessary costs, acquisition of organizations who are suddenly full of unqualified employees, and dismissal of plenty of valuable expertise built up in the organizations you acquire. Expanding acquisitions under a multi-vendor approach, however, can bring in new personnel with a range of certifications and broader expertise. It can also improve your flexibility in terms of what you can acquire and support with existing skills mixes.
Strategy for a Multi-Vendor Approach
If you believe that your organization has become too tightly coupled with a single OEM, moving to a more diversified OEM landscape takes planning. You’ll need buy-in from the executives down to end-users, and you will have to develop a process for evaluating OEMs based on strategic benefit rather than personal bias. Ultimately your OEM strategy has to serve your business needs.
Questions you should ask when considering a multi-vendor strategy might include:
• Which machines serve which business purposes?
• What is our preferred depreciation schedule versus the OEM’s?
• Are we over-maintaining assets and service level agreements?
• Does our organization have the technical capabilities to support a multi-vendor environment?
The ease of going with a single OEM for much of your IT environment can eventually lead to complacency if you’re not careful. And if your organization sticks with an OEM out of inertia, you could be missing out on cost savings and different technologies that could serve your needs better. Always remember that your IT infrastructure is there to serve your organization, not the OEM’s.
When you use Samanage for IT asset management, however many vendors you have, you’ll be able to track hardware, software, licenses, and more, and do so with maximum efficiency. You can set up alerts to notify you before licenses need to be renewed, and before equipment is scheduled for upgrade or replacement. Regardless of how many OEMs you deal with, Samanage can help you manage your relationships with them better.