How IT Vendors Restrict Their Clients’ Freedom of Choice

ALL-IN-ONE SOLUTIONS ARE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

On the surface, all-in-one IT solutions offer a lot of benefits to businesses. From bundled services at a discount, to easy integrations with a single centralized platform, to a single point of contact to troubleshoot issues, a single-vendor approach can – in theory – be a valuable partnership for any organization.

Unfortunately, this utopian vision for IT service management rarely plays out that way. Although the pitch for single-vendor solutions often highlights these potential business benefits, the reality is much more grim: as single-party IT vendors consolidate power within each client, they become indispensable to business operations. As a result, those relationships can end up feeling more like a hostage situation than a balanced partnership.

That’s because there’s no accountability to ensure IT vendors uphold their end of the bargain. Once a client becomes deeply dependent on IT services offered by a single vendor, that business faces significant risks and costs if it wants to migrate to a different provider. Even as costs rise and vendor solutions become misaligned with business outcomes, companies face fewer and fewer options to upgrade their IT infrastructure without the help of their primary vendor.

“IT VENDORS MAKE SERVICE ALTERNATIVES SEEM IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN. BUT IT’S NOT AS DIFFICULT AS THEY’D LIKE YOU TO BELIEVE.”

The freedom to choose your vendor relationships, solutions and services is critical to ensuring that you receive valuable services at a fair market price. However, vendor business practices are limiting your business’s freedom of choice by making IT service alternatives seem impossible to obtain. And while IT vendors are often successful at making such a transition seem resource-intensive and disruptive to your business, it’s not as difficult as they’d like you to believe.

Dissatisfied clients still have options to escape these vendor traps and restore their ability to control their own IT infrastructure.

SIGNS YOUR IT VENDOR IS LIMITING YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE

While some businesses may recognize that they are trapped by their IT service agreements, others may be unaware of how these IT vendor partnerships have gradually become more difficult to escape.

Here are some of the classic signs that your IT vendor has created an environment that prevents your business from exercising its freedom of choice:

  • Massive IT infrastructure built on legacy software. If your business IT environment is underpinned by legacy solutions installed five, ten, or even twenty years ago, you’re likely operating with limited capabilities and an IT infrastructure that is extremely costly, maintenance-intensive, and difficult to upgrade—especially when onboarding solutions outside of your vendor’s offerings.
  • Add-ons that create new IT complexity. How difficult is it to introduce new solutions, especially from different IT solution providers? When integrations are complex and resource-intensive, it likely means that your IT environment isn’t built with the flexibility that modern businesses need.
  • High maintenance costs that pull money away from transformation projects. Old technology requires more intensive maintenance. This is a prime source of revenue for your vendor, but it can eat up your IT budget and make it difficult to invest in transformative projects that upgrade your IT environment.
  • Servicing restrictions on proprietary solutions. Many vendors take steps to prevent or discourage businesses from using non-authorized service providers for repairs and maintenance. This effectively wipes out the market for competitors who would otherwise ensure a fair price for these services. Your business ends up paying more for less-than-ideal service.
  • You are largely reliant on a single vendor for your IT needs. If the majority of your IT environment is supported by a single provider, you’re too invested in that relationship—and your vendor is likely exploiting that dependence.

SOLUTION LOCK-IN PUTS BUSINESSES IN A DOWNWARD SPIRAL

Even when businesses are dissatisfied with their IT vendor services, this frustration doesn’t necessarily prompt a change. In most cases, the potential cost and disruption of such a project deters them from dramatically overhauling their IT environment.

The problem with this inaction is that, as time goes on, the limitations created by your single-vendor IT model will only get worse. And the longer you wait, the tougher it becomes to pull yourself out of this downward spiral, due to the following constraints:

  • IT costs continue to rise, but solution value declines. With each passing year, you can expect to pay more to maintain your existing solutions, while their business value continues to decrease. This limits your budget and makes it tougher to get large-scale transformation projects approved.
  • Growth potential is limited by IT’s ability to scale. Your company’s long-term growth projections will continue to be held down by IT limitations, affecting your incoming revenue.

“IF YOU’RE ALREADY FRUSTRATED BY THE LIMITATIONS OF A SINGLE-VENDOR IT MODEL, WAITING TO SWITCH WILL ONLY MAKE THINGS WORSE.”

  • Legacy solutions impact the customer experience. Frontend customer experiences inevitably reveal the friction and limitations of underlying legacy technology. From service disruptions to a lack of capabilities to power interactive experiences, these legacy constraints can put customer satisfaction at risk.
  • Adopting new technology becomes more technically complex. The older and more limited your IT infrastructure becomes, the harder it is to integrate new business solutions.
  • IT issues slow down business operations and customer service. Maintenance and bug fixes can cause downtime that puts operations on hold. New software integrations can lead to business disruptions and security breaches. And aging legacy solutions will continuously face a new breed of security threats.

INCREASE CHOICE WITH A BUSINESS-DRIVEN IT MODEL

Given the risks and limitations of relying on a single vendor, it makes sense for businesses to embrace a new IT service model that leans on multiple vendors capable of delivering modern, flexible, scalable solutions that deliver the value your business is seeking.

While such an intensive transformation project comes with significant challenges, including cost and resource constraints, successfully migrating away from single-vendor partnerships is possible with the right strategic partner. With its team of experienced IT professionals who focus specific on legacy systems, Origina has the expertise your business needs to extract you from your vendor relationship, and support your transition to a business-led IT approach.

We’ll help you regain your freedom to choose the IT solutions and providers that deliver the greatest benefits to your business. Contact us today to learn more. And if you’re still exploring whether your current IT strategy is holding you back, read our latest white paper: Taking Charge of Your IT Roadmap.

ABOUT ORIGINA

Origina is a third-party software support and maintenance (TPSM) solution unlike any other. It’s the only TPSM solution that gives IBM® customers 24/7 access to over 600 IBM® product experts with a minimum of 15 years supporting and developing IBM® products.

Origina shifts you from relying on a single point of vendor support to having a team of legacy software experts that implement an extensive system of checks and balances to greatly limit your exposure to vulnerabilities.

We support all versions – supported or not – of over 800 IBM® products and save our customers hundreds of thousands on OEM upgrades they don’t need. Our team works hard to enhance, extend and protect your IBM® products and provide solid advice on how to best migrate business-critical systems.

We’re a team of straight shooters who love to talk software shop and fully support software customers’ freedom of choice. Get in touch if you’d like a free feasibility assessment to help you assess whether third-party support is the best option for your company.

JUMP TO:

A 2022 Gartner Report calls third-party support and maintenance a “quick win” and offers ways to assess whether it is the right move for you.

Origina and SecAlliance are delivering increased security for IBM third-party software maintenance beyond the standard security patch.

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