In a previous post, we discussed how IT standardization simplifies your IT environment, making it easier to manage, secure and monitor. Less variety also means less risk of performance issues and more predictable budgeting. IT standardization is often needed after years of one-off configurations and adding new tools, applications and services.

Similarly, trying to keep up with the pace of changing technology and struggling with IT management can lead to a proliferation of vendors. Many organizations will take a best-of-breed approach to IT infrastructure or focus on getting the lowest price, either of which can result in a variety of different vendor solutions in the environment.

A long list of vendors can result in a long list of problems. Redundancy. Waste. Complexity. Management overhead. High operating expenses. Confusion. Every new vendor adds to your workload as you attempt to coordinate deployments, monitor solutions, troubleshoot issues, manage projects and keep up with maintenance contracts. Ultimately, vendor proliferation can affect your ability to deliver services efficiently and maintain a high level of productivity.

Vendor consolidation is the process of reducing the number of vendors that provide IT equipment or services to your organization. It requires you to evaluate all the vendors in your environment and prioritize the relationships that deliver the most value to your organization. This allows you to focus your spending and resources.

The benefits of vendor consolidation begin with the time and money you save by managing and communicating with fewer vendors. This can also result in faster deployment and more proactive troubleshooting and maintenance. Vendor consolidation reduces training requirements and makes it easier for employees to cover for others.

Consolidation is especially valuable when it comes to cybersecurity. Security tools from the same vendor will typically interoperate and share data, improving protection. In addition, support is simpler with fewer vendors, which translates to reduced risk of downtime.

From a vendor management perspective, consolidation allows you to build strong relationships. You’ll likely have more purchasing power, which can mean lower prices, better equipment and reduced freight costs. Many vendors will also offer competitive buy-back programs to larger customers.

As complex and tedious as it can be to manage a large number of vendors, the process of scaling back can be equally complicated. Most organizations don’t realize just how many vendors there are to vet until they begin sorting through contracts. Measuring vendor performance, quantifying value, and identifying areas of overlap, redundancy and even conflict are also difficult.

The knowledge and experience of your IT provider can be extremely valuable during this process. Your IT provider can objectively pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of vendors and their products. They can also help you determine which vendors are most important to your organizational goals and how to optimize communication with each.

As a managed services provider, we recommend preparing for the challenges of vendor consolidation in advance to avoid being caught off guard. We can help you identify your performance standards for vendors and the metrics you’ll use to assess quality. We can also perform regular vendor reviews so issues can be addressed as quickly as possible. Let us help you consolidate IT vendors and simplify the management and security of your IT environment.