How to approach End-to-end IT solutions
For small organisations, there are some obvious advantages of buying all or most of the IT infrastructure requirements from one technology provider. Some of these advantages might include removing integration difficulties, simplifying project implementation and might as well be reducing the cost. For large organizations, however, this rule, if applied, might bring undesirable results especially in IT where technologies keep changing. Large organizations should follow a more advanced approach when selecting the required technology and focus not only on the technical side or the initial costs but also on the total cost of ownership and the return on investment. Obviously, this requires advanced resources that perform technical and commercial analysis.
With the introduction of wireless technologies and its massive market adoption, the reliance on one technology provider that could deliver the wireless and wired technologies together becomes even more difficult. Actually, the ‘one vendor-provides-all’ approach has decreased tremendously ever since the introduction of wireless technology. This is largely due to the different architectures of both wireless and wired infrastructure, that each has its own different approaches and philosophies. Gartner said in its recent report titled “critical capabilities for Wireless and Wired LAN Access Infrastructure” that about half of end-user clients actually deploy wired/wireless solutions from the same vendor. Gartner said that this is often due to mismatched refresh cycles, pre-existing relationships, and preference toward best-of-breed approaches and/or cost ramifications.
In the same Gartner report, end-users might select one technology provider when they want wired technology, but when they decide to have wireless technology, they will find that the same technology provider might not have what it takes to fulfil their infrastructure requirements.
Practically, organizations will be more successful in benefiting the most from IT technologies when they put more emphasis on the “selection process” rather than the technology or the technology provider itself. It starts with properly identifying the IT infrastructure requirements that will bring benefits for the business by categorizing them based on the must-have, the good-to-have and not required categories. Then aligning the gathered and categorized requirements with available technologies. A similar process should also be done identifying and qualifying the technology provider and associated contracts.
Doing this process in a systematic and precise way increases the chances of having the right technology and the desired business benefits, while at the same time reduces the amount of error and the amount of personal preferences that could cause undesirable results, loss or catastrophes to the existing business.