I was amused a few weeks back to see a webinar held by a top infrastructure vendor promoting the value of a single vendor approach to provide the best enterprise solution. It was like a step back into the past! That Gartner report from the end of last year Debunking the Myth of the Single-Vendor Network obviously caused them pain.
Consumerisation and mobility are the two critical trends facing the enterprise today. Wherever you are – with friends, family or business colleagues - take a look around you at all the different devices you and your colleagues use to stay connected. Until smartphones, the IT department largely managed to keep consumer products out – apart from Blackberries which they could issue and control.
Now, like it or not, IT has little choice but to embrace the value that consumer products bring to corporations and integrate the tools we've become accustomed to in our personal lives to enable more flexibility when, where and how we work. That means enterprises have to start looking for openness and interoperability.
I believe that openness will soon be evaluated by businesses as a key ROI factor. If it won’t be easily integrated with other elements within the infrastructure – legacy or future – it does not possess long-term value.
Forget the arguments of the single vendor, it’s a myth – as Gartner research clearly shows. Its research argues that networks that are tied into one vendor are missing real opportunities for business and cost improvement because procurement, integration and training are largely pre-determined.
According to Gartner capital cost savings from moving to a multi-vendor infrastructure can be significant - ranging from 30 to 50 per cent, with maintenance cost savings from 40 to 95 per cent, depending on the contract. And it doesn’t end there: complexity and manageability can also be improved by moving to a multi-vendor environment.
Gartner reckons that enterprises should start the transition to a best-of-breed multi-vendor environment at the periphery of their network, where a single-vendor approach may be less effective and/or overly costly.There are now proven network management to enable networks to dynamically adapt to a multi-application environment.
But most important, Gartner shows just how easily the abilities the highly skilled staff managing the network can translate to different environments.
Proponents of the single vendor approach may fight back, but the blinkers are off, with a little help from Gartner, but with much more help from employees themselves who are demanding flexibility to use their devices of choice.
Manish Sablok Head of Marketing (Northern Europe) Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise