Overthinking has a tendency to get in the way of progress in most areas of life. But when it comes to IT sourcing, overthinking is a good thing for IT storage renewals and purchases. By default, storage is about as commoditized and un-thrilling as it gets in IT. That makes it incredibly easy for companies to go on autopilot as they purchase and renew. And who benefits from that? The IT storage vendor, of course. Certainly not the customer.
Despite a boring reputation, storage solutions are some of the most complex (and costly) elements of IT infrastructure in this digital age when we are amassing data. They touch nearly every aspect of the enterprise and are too critical to fail. For this reason, a lot of IT organizations adopt a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality when it comes time to renew or make a new purchase with their vendor of choice.
That decision may be perceived as safe, but it’s far from it – at least not where budget is concerned. It promotes vendor lock-in, which almost always leads to higher pricing. As systems and processes become further intertwined with the unique features of the incumbent solution, vendors gain a stronger hold and more leverage at the negotiation table.
How to Retake Vendor Leverage During IT Storage Renewals and Purchases
The short answer is to bring in the competition and source with multiple IT storage vendors. The vendor management organization can often be the catalyst in this journey. Opening up discussions internally on “potential long-term options” acknowledges the intention of dialogue is to understand options – not to initiate change. Understanding these options (well in advance of any IT storage renewals or net new purchases) allows for discussions around potential savings opportunities and the costs of maintaining the status quo.
Discussions should acknowledge that the short-term journey may be long and entail some risks, but that the status quo typically has many legacy risks built into the infrastructure as well. It’s important to emphasize how long-term risk can be often minimized with an infrastructure that is built upon vendor and storage solution design flexibility. That flexibility leads to a wide range of benefits – vendor options, system stability, negotiation leverage and better pricing.
So the next time a seemingly simple storage purchase or renewal comes across your desk, overthink it!