Business & Finance
Commentary
11/15/2002
03:09 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Editor's Note: Fewer Vendors, More Simplicity

Remember when it was smart to invest most of your IT dollars in one solid company that could provide you with everything you needed? Then, remember when the push for open systems motivated you to buy "best of breed" of everything? Ah, yes, then came all the integration nightmares. There's all this top-notch hardware, software, and networking equipment, but they don't talk to each other. That's good news to the companies that sell products that integrate all of this complex stuff, but bad news if you're seeking simplicity.

So, what's a company to do? Well, if there's one thing I heard loud and clear at an executive-level business-technology event last week, many of you are cutting complexity by trimming the number of vendors you work with. "Forget best of breed; give me something that works well and works with my existing systems," is the philosophy of one CIO I met. He's not alone. Charles Phillips, a managing director at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, noted that there are companies--including his--cutting their supplier lists from several hundred to several dozen. That in itself is a complex task, but a necessary one to consolidate, trim, and simplify the business architecture.

So, are we going back to the old days of putting all the eggs in one basket? Probably not, especially with the continued drive toward Linux and standards-based computing. Will there be more shakeout among IT vendors? Most certainly. Will there still be room for innovative companies with great ideas and new ways of doing things? Most definitely. But getting the attention of pragmatic, cost-conscious business-technology executives will be harder, the need to show ROI will be stronger, and due diligence and reference checks could be brutal. Fortunately, there are a lot of tough people with big imaginations out there.

Stephanie Stahl,
Editor (sstahl@cmp.com)


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Stephanie Stahl's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Stephanie Stahl, please visit her page on the Listening Post.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.