It's hard to argue with the merits of consolidation. From finances to scheduling, the act of consolidation brings efficiency and order. Yet more often than not, the technology you use every day seems to be cobbled together like Frankenstein's monster.
Instead of a single cable company providing your television entertainment, you now have a whole smattering of cloud-based, on-demand services. The same can be said for enterprise vendors. The question is, are there enough vendor consolidation benefits to outweigh this a la carte approach?
Vendor Consolidation Benefits
Vendors that focus on a single technology don't necessarily have an advantage over those that offer a broader set of services. Take communications, for example. It's not hard to find vendors that specialize in voice systems and offer exceptional products. When you're looking for a new phone system, you might naturally look at these specialist vendors because they offer great phone service.
The only problem is, there is much more to enterprise communication than phones or voicemail. In this scenario, once you've locked in on a voice-only provider, you may find yourself in need of a messaging service and some online integration. Before you know it, you've added a couple other vendors to your communication stack just to get the functionality needed for daily operations.
Oh yeah, and it's up to you to make sure they all play nicely together. What you end up with is a communication platform that may provide all the functionality you need, but what happens when one vendor pushes out an update that foils integration with others? What if one decides to close up shop? Ultimately, you're left with a wide range of functionality with an equally wide range of failure and inefficiencies.
Beware of Frankenstein's Monster
This all highlights the first of many vendor consolidation benefits: fewer points of failure. In the above scenario, you're essentially killing one bird with three or more stones. While it may seem like a good idea at the time to stitch new vendors in for each new feature your business operations demand, it becomes painfully inefficient whenever you need to perform maintenance.
If you learn anything from Gene Wilder in "Young Frankenstein," it's that a patchwork project can be infinitely more high-maintenance than a homogeneous one. You probably don't need to harness the power of lightning or harvest organs for your projects, but the analogy holds true.
When you consolidate vendors, you don't have to worry about which support line to call when the system goes down. You also don't have to worry about integrating related technologies. Instead, you can let the vendor worry about integrating your phone systems with messaging, video, CRM, and more when you pursue a technology such as unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) instead of the Frankenstein method. The same goes for many other areas of IT.
If you learn anything from Gene Wilder in "Young Frankenstein," it's that a patchwork project can be infinitely more high-maintenance than a homogeneous one.
The consolidation of vendors isn't a new concept, either. You've probably bought into the idea at home already. Bundled services from the same vendor are almost always easier to set up and cheaper to buy. It's no different in the enterprise arena.
According to a Centrify study, organizations are beginning to realize the tangible benefits of vendor consolidation. Surveying some 76 IT executives, the report estimates an overwhelming 70 percent are definitely on board with potential consolidation. Thirty-two percent of those in favor would even consider consolidating if it means less functionality than their Frankenstein alternatives, because consolidating makes life easier.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it: Consolidating umbrella services such as communication into a single vendor with complete control and expertise over that specific domain gives you the benefit of a single point of management, security, and recovery (should the need arise). In the case of cloud-based services, this often comes with cost savings as well.
Modern IT is getting more and more complex by the day. From hybrid infrastructure to the addition of the IoT army, your professional life probably isn't getting any easier. When you view vendor consolidation through the lens of typical IT chaos, it's no wonder people are looking for a lighter burden. In the end, it's important to remember you'll never be able to find one vendor to rule them all. What you can do, however, is streamline the management, cost, and security of IT silos such as communications, network services, and internet service providers.
Contact Vonage Business to learn more about how cloud-based communications can aid your company.