Companies often work with multiple vendors to supply their office products, manage their IT, provide software or service their printers. When that’s the case, there’s a lot that can go overlooked. That’s why vendor consolidation is increasingly important.
“As many companies continue to work through their digital transformation, having a single vendor available to connect all these services not only saves money, but ensures the right products are in place for many of the company’s needs,” says Billy Nelson, vice president of sales at Blue Technologies.
By consolidating into one relationship, he says a vendor can understand the relationship between all the products, components and services, and use that knowledge to recommend new technology. It also means bringing in subject matter experts to address whatever technology problems might exist and implement the right solution across the enterprise.
Smart Business spoke with Nelson about consolidating vendors to improve organizational efficiency and reduce expenses.
How can assessments help?
Working with a single partner for office equipment, IT and document services means taking the total spend and consolidating it into one vendor, and having one point of contact that can handle everything from print solutions to networking devices to document management. Once consolidated, a vendor can perform assessments across areas of the business. For example, a network assessment can check for security vulnerabilities in the physical infrastructure, software and even from an operator standpoint. A printing assessment can often uncover as much as 30 percent savings just by implementing a program that looks at what’s being printed, who is printing and what devices are being used.
Companies that use multiple vendors — for hardware, software, printing, IT — are in a situation in which vendors across these areas don’t talk to each other. That makes a holistic assessment, and a plan for enterprise-wide improvements, difficult. By consolidating services into one vendor, that vendor can look across the organization to identify specifically where cost savings exist and then implement a plan to put those cost savings into action.
What other benefits come with vendor consolidation?
Considering the supply chain issues that have affected a range of technology products, larger vendors in this space are often able to get products much quicker than their clients, in many cases.
Having a managed technology solutions provider manage all of a company’s printers means having cost oversight on an often-overlooked aspect of the business. Through conversations, the vendor diagnoses usage in each department to ensure the right device is in the right place. The vendor can also make sure toner and other products are ordered and delivered regularly — one less thing a client needs to think about.
A managed technology solutions provider brings the capabilities of an entire IT department to bear on any problem. In some cases, there are multiple IT teams working in different locations that are in regular communication with each other. That means a broader network of expertise as well as a greater chance that any problem a client might have has been seen by someone in that IT network, and solutions can be shared. Further, a company might have an existing IT staff on their payroll, some of which are fixing the printers and performing other lower-end tasks. When using a managed technology solutions provider, the vendor can come in and help an IT department by managing the lower-end tasks, freeing the staff to focus on more important tasks such as keeping the network secure and operational.
How have work arrangement changes affected things?
The changing workplace has companies taking different approaches — work-from-home, hybrid, back to the office — and each approach requires different hardware and network arrangements to ensure everyone stays connected, can collaborate, communicate and do their work efficiently. Consolidating vendor partnerships, or at least reviewing those partnerships, could have a significant impact because the way a company was set up in 2019 might not be the best set up for 2022. ●
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