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The false economies of a vendor-based support strategy

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Don’t let procurement policy drive you into the wrong decision

Vendor diversity can seem like a sensible sourcing strategy, but it can have unwanted consequences when it comes to support services.

Multiple support plans from multiple vendors may give you ‘diversity’, but the reality of supporting multi-vendor estates is that it’s more effective and cheaper to do it under one contract rather than through numerous vendor contracts.

Putting support in a single contract cuts down the costs of supplier administration. It speeds up processes, as you only have one point of contact to deal with. It eliminates the time and cost of you having to co-ordinate between multiple suppliers.

It’s also a better way to actually manage the technology. Your systems consist of components from different vendors, and you want them to all work together. But if you have multiple vendor support plans, none of the vendors is responsible for keeping the whole system running.

Buying cheap and doing the rest yourself increases your overall costs

On average 65% of a company’s IT costs are spent on keeping the service running. Of this, 85% goes on internal support resources, and only 15% is spent on external support providers.

So, skimping on external support costs isn’t going to help greatly, because they’re only a small proportion of overall costs. In fact, using cheaper external support services just puts more of the work of administration and co-ordination on your inhouse people and raises your overall support costs.

Although superficially having multiple vendor support plans may seem cheaper, once you take the hidden costs of managing your multi-vendor environment into account, the total cost of support will almost always be higher.

Doing too much yourself puts your costs up

Historically a lot of companies have prided themselves on the support skills of their inhouse team. But this is an outdated view.

Things that used to be mission critical, that you would want to do inhouse (like reboot a server) are now routine operations that can be done cheaper and quicker by a large-scale automated support partner.

Keeping your inhouse skills up to date with all your vendors’ technologies is expensive and time-consuming. Of course, it’s important to understand the technologies you use, but you shouldn’t try to be an expert in everything.

Maintaining skills in routine operational tasks binds your people to low value activities and prevents them from learning new, more value-adding skills (like developing containerised apps) that you want to keep in house.

You can’t hope to match the levels of integration and automation that a good support service partner like Dimension Data can offer. The amount of investment, the time it takes to develop the capabilities, the economies of scale and efficiency would be completely uneconomical for most companies to build in house.

What matters is not local vendors but local service

One of the other reasons companies fall into the trap of having numerous support contracts with multiple vendors is that they think they want local vendors. In fact, what they really want is local service.

Global support service operators like Dimension Data operate locally, through their own people and partners. Using a global support plan like Uptime gives you the local service you want without the disadvantages of using many fragmented and less capable service partners.

We speak the local language, bill in the local currency, hold spares and parts locally, and have local people on the ground who can be on site quickly if needed.

Read more about the risk of falling for false economies

Read the next blog: Choose best of breed support

Speak to a Client Success Manager about Uptime

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