1. Nobody can be everything to everybody

It is a simple marketing rule that holds true in the real world as well. Nobody can do it all with top quality. One vendor might have the world-leading synthetic monitoring solution while another vendor might be the absolute best with server monitoring. While those companies might be capable in all areas, they typically only shine in one or two. Why put the responsibility of lowering the extreme cost of downtime into a single “capable” vendor when you can put it into the hands of a few “exceptional” vendors?

2. Multiple vendors allows you to have leverage

Having a support issue with your server monitoring vendor? Make sure they know that your synthetic monitoring vendor has a tool that competes directly with them and since they are already in the house, moving to them isn’t particularly difficult. It works both ways. Obviously the idea of moving your investment to another toolset is daunting, and everyone knows that is going to be the last resort. However, having another vendor already in the house certainly makes it easier to move if you absolutely need to. Why put yourself in the situation of being trapped with a vendor who isn’t working hard to keep your business?

3. Competition is good for pricing

All vendors are willing to negotiate on their prices. It is built into the pricing model. Companies rarely pay full price for a product outside of Government contractors. What better ways are there to justify to your vendors that they need to come down on their prices when you can show them that their competition is willing to do the same job for a bit less? Playing your vendors against each other a little bit can only benefit you. Nobody is just going to walk away from a contract without a fight, and when they fight for your business. You are always the winner, no matter who is left standing.

4. Prevent vendor atrophy

If someone knows they are the end-all-be-all solution in your company there is a good chance they will eventually stop trying. The Client/Vendor relationship is a delicate one which needs constant maintenance. While comparing it to a marriage might be a bit heavy-handed, the parallels are hard to deny all the same. There is a courting in the beginning, a honeymoon phase when the contract is first signed, and if they are inspired to keep winning you over then eventually they just stop trying. When that happens you, the client, are left frustrated and under-served and looking for a new vendor. Thus, having multiple vendors in your company is not only good for you, the client, but also for the vendors. It keeps everyone honest and keeps prices low.

About the Author

Matthew Bradford has been in the I.T. Performance Business for 13 years and has been critical to the success of many Fortune 500 Performance Management groups. He is currently the CTO of InsightETE, an I.T. Performance Management company specializing in passive monitoring and big data analytics with a focus on real business metrics.

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