Key Considerations For Your IT Infrastructure: Vendor Exclusive vs. Multiple Vendors

IT Infrastructure – Is it better to be Vendor Exclusive or use Multiple Vendors?

When faced with a new implementation, or a major upgrade to your IT infrastructure, there are some key considerations you should take into account.  One of the primary considerations will be, “do we want to work with a single vendor, or multiple vendors?” This decision may be driven by a number of factors:

  • IT staff capacity, skillsets and experience
  • Corporate vendor management strategy
  • Data center and cloud strategy
  • IT budget and vendor discounts offered

Once you consider the factors mentioned above, you will need to focus on your company in general and IT specifically:

  • What are the application requirements of the infrastructure?
  • Can or does the IT infrastructure enable any competitive advantage(s)?
  • Does a single vendor, or best of breed solution enable these more effectively?
  • How does decision impact IT Operations, Product Development, Support?

Pros & Cons of Being Vendor Exclusive

The obvious pro for being vendor exclusive? It is a lot simpler to handle in terms of contracts, management, and operations. Another pro of exclusivity is higher discount levels and support. This might be a very important factor if your business is in its growing stages, as you may need more responsive vendor support to meet your growth needs and overcome technical challenges. Operationally, this limits the amount of finger pointing which can occur when troubleshooting a multi-vendor environment.

One con of being vendor exclusive is you are limited to what they have to offer; it might be enough for now… but not for long. Another con is a limitation to negotiate aggressive discounts in the future, should the vendor’s products become difficult to replace or integrate with other vendors. Perhaps the biggest con is the impact to your staff, they will be locked into a single vendor too. This could limit their career growth, opportunities to develop their skill sets, and overall job satisfaction.

Pros & Cons of Being Multi-Vendor

If your IT infrastructure is part of your company’s competitive advantage then you will likely want to go with a multi-vendor solution. The main pro of this strategy is it will enable you to choose best of breed options to match the needs of your critical applications and business processes. Most tech savvy companies choose the multi-vendor option mainly because it gives them such competitive advantages. Another pro is keeping your vendors engaged and competing for your business.

However, multi-vendor solutions require a bit more oversight during the vetting process and throughout the product lifecycle. The other con of using the multi-vendor solution is that it becomes harder to derive the return on your investment because each vendor will offer different pricing and discount models, making your analysis much more challenging.

At PARC Consulting, we value every company’s uniqueness and work to find creative solutions to IT infrastructure needs without any biases. To learn more about our successful results with other clients when it comes to vendor selection, please contact us.

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