The best-of-breed operating environment is often backed by a tangled network of vendors. Large and small integrators and niche players all bring different kinds of value to your business.
But when you rely on specific vendors for certain elements of your infrastructure, they are better able to lead the conversation and control your relationship. This could mean to your business is being offered less than the best in terms of products and pricing.
The good news is that there are ways to ensure you’re getting the most from these relationships.
The factors you need to consider
The following factors all play a part in how keenly your vendors price their offerings. Some are more obvious, others require specialist knowledge – you will realise the greatest value by choosing a partner who can help you align all the factors for your next purchase or renewal.
Like any profit-making business, your vendors operate according to a regular financial cycle with defined earnings and sales targets. As deadlines approach, these vendors become more aggressive on commercials in order to maximise their results. An experienced partner will understand these vendor cycles and be able to advise when the best time is to engage for the greatest value.
Cost of goods modelling
Vendors often provide incentives to drive sales of particular products and services. Knowing when these promotions are running and who is offering them could help you get the infrastructure you want at the best prices. A specialist partner with corporate procurement experience will be able to advise about vendors’ priorities and how that affects their level of interest in delivering efficiencies on your proposed projects.
C-suite level relationships with vendors
Staying abreast of emerging technology is one thing but knowing about specific products in the pipeline is of far greater value to your IT strategists. With access to the vendors’ C-suite you will be able to better plan future purchases – and a partner can help you gain those insights.
Mitigating the vendor agenda
Vendors make their fortunes by selling new kit. So, when refresh time arrives, don’t be surprised if rip-and-replace quotes are cheaper than extended support contracts for your existing hardware. Working with an independent third party means you get an unbiased assessment, so you can make smarter choices and upgrade according to your timetable, not the vendor’s.
Understanding the hidden costs in upgrades
The headline cost of buying or refreshing new technology is usually pretty clear – but it’s not the full story. An experienced partner will help you identify and allow for additional ongoing costs, including those associated with migration, professional services and end user training.
Avoiding vendor lock-in
The digitally transformed business relies on agile IT infrastructure, which often relies on building a best-of-breed platform that can be adjusted and extended as required. An independent, expert partner will help you avoid vendor lock-in to ensure you get the combination of hardware and services that suit your strategy – not the vendor’s profit margins.
More than simply having the right number of licenses, you need to be sure you have the right type according to usage and your IT roadmap. A third party can review licenses to ensure you are not overspending, paying for features you don’t need – and that you are not wasting time and money using inefficient workarounds in the absence of correct licensing.
Your business may have several long-term relationships with ‘go to’ vendors – but are they still delivering the same value? Have you benchmarked them to be sure? A partner can review your relationships, using their experience of the wider market to ensure you’re getting the best deals. Read our blog on this topic.
Understanding the market
Competition between vendors varies, with some rivalries being stronger than others. Knowing which vendors compete the hardest will reveal opportunities to secure the best prices. A knowledgeable partner can go a step further too, helping you action a long-term pricing strategy that will keep costs down.
Aligning all these factors across all your vendors – including those organisations you are not currently using – is complex and time-consuming. In most cases you will realise greater value by partnering with an expert.
Maple work with multiple vendors, so you’ll get an independent view based on what’s best for you. We invest time, resources and attention to ensure we understand what you want to achieve and what you need to do it. We have over 20 years’ experience working with vendors, as well as hands-on technical expertise, to make sure any solution works with your existing infrastructure delivering interoperability and extensibility for future growth.
To learn more about how to get the most from your vendor relationships, and how Maple can assist, please get in touch.