Single vendor: Multiple benefits
Rajesh Shetty, Vice President of Cisco India & SAARC
With the emergence of Web 2.0 applications, businesses are looking more and more towards ways to optimize their networks and deliver critical functions which their users and customers require. As the network becomes the platform for service delivery, these organizations recognize the business imperative of maximizing network availability. With the onslaught of worms, viruses, spyware, and other malware attacks on the network and its resources - not to forget the all too frequent security alerts - CIOs are starting to employ risk mitigation techniques into their network designs.
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are mostly concerned with enhancing security, improving connection speed, improving connectivity among different offices, and implementing wireless technologies. However, since they lack the capital to make large investments in technology and networking solutions, and do not have the expertise in-house to deal with these issues, they are forced to turn to a host of vendors, who may or may not collaborate to assure seamless interoperability.
Prone to Security Threats
The Indian SMB segment is credited for contributing over 50% to the overall GDP of the country, their IT spends however is just 30 percent. While many SMBs rely on the Internet in some way, most SMBs recognize that their systems are not fully prepared to fend off the majority of security threats. Keeping up with the latest technology, having insufficient funds, and finding it difficult to decide which security challenges to address first, are some of the most common challenges.
By applying some basic best practices along with a comprehensive IT security package, businesses can improve IT security with relative ease. For SMBs to drive efficiency, productivity and profitability, they not only need to raise their IT and networking allowances, but also need to make smart choices in selecting vendors.
Single Vendor Advantage
Given the increased reliance on the network for application support and the fact that customers are increasingly focusing on the availability of the network, businesses can make their selections from single or multiple vendors. Opting for a single vendor, as opposed dealing with multiple vendors to meet all the technology needs, enables businesses to utilize their network more effectively. It helps to reduce operational expenses and provides a base to scale the network up or down as dictated by market demands.
Purchasing from a single vendor not only ensures a seamless service, but also allows helps to address demands for more functionality and capacity building to ensure higher performance. A single vendor network design not only allows the organization to leverage the network more effectively, but also maximizes availability and reduces operational expenses, while providing the foundation for innovation critical to addressing Web 2.0 challenges.
Monitoring of a single vendor network is much simpler than one sourced from multi-vendors. It not only reduces the complexity of the network but also helps in the simplification of tools for provisioning, management and troubleshooting. Subsequently, without cross-vendor implementation inconsistencies, when errors can occur, the benefit of engaging only a single technical support center will also limit the co-ordination efforts required to find a resolution and reduce recovery time.
A key benefit of adopting single vendor architecture is the universality of features available throughout the network. This becomes critical when businesses factor in the complexity of managing a system with varied tools for provisioning, management, and troubleshooting. A single vendor architecture greatly reduces the complexity and time needed for troubleshooting issues dealing with network wide features. Typical problems to do with inconsistencies across multiple networks and protocols are not an issue since there is just one platform to deal with.
The cost of implementing and operating a single-vendor network avoids the requirement to train the engineering and operations staff on two diverse architectures, as well as installing and operating two disparate management systems. Additionally, a dual vendor approach will require the need to spend more in the network design, testing, and certification process to ensure that interoperability between the vendors.
The ability to use vendor innovation for competitive advantage, and a higher level of service for features, results from single-vendor architecture. This provides a competitive advantage by allowing a quicker rate of integration of advanced technologies and features. It also helps to provide increased value and faster time to market of applications, to ensure that SMBs gain a competitive advantage.