There are many aspects of running a successful business but two of the most important are the ability to apply simplicity and efficiency to your operations. By cutting down on excess activity and platforms, you streamline what you do and decrease the likelihood of an error by one of your team members or IT vendors.
Your IT environment likely has a multitude of intricate, moving parts. You also have a team that needs to access those disparate parts quickly to do their jobs. Each component of that IT environment will be supported by a vendor. When building your overarching IT solution, you have two choices:
- Opt for multiple vendors managing each individual component of your IT environment
- House all your IT operations under one comprehensive vendor
There are multiple reasons why the second option is preferable to the first. But what exactly are the benefits of consolidating your IT vendor? Let’s take a closer look at how your organization can become stronger by streamlining its IT environment with a single vendor. There are five main areas where it can help, including:
Of course, this consolidation only works if you choose the right vendor. Here’s why you should consolidate all your IT services under one vendor, and why that IT vendor should be Microsoft Office 365.
When it comes to managing your budget, your IT tools go a long way in helping you track your finances and spending. There are so many elements of budgeting your IT environment will need to cover: paying invoices, forecasting, and multiple other business needs. Many times, these needs are intertwined, which is a great reason to have a single vendor as your sole source solution for all IT operations. It helps you keep your budgetary planning under the same virtual roof.
Microsoft 365 Enterprise licensing comes equipped with all the budgeting tools you’ll need. It has a comprehensive platform that offers resources for every stage of the budgeting process - whether it’s the planning stages, review, or adjusting the budget based on your initial forecasts. Something as critical as paying invoices becomes much simpler with Office 365. You’ll never have to worry about missing a request or issuance of payment.
One disadvantage you’ll have with multiple vendors is that it will require you to update every platform when a new user joins or someone leaves the organization. That’s not the case with Office 365. With CSP licensing, you’ll have the capability to add or remove users in one singular location. That’s much easier than having to log in to a variety of applications to do so. It eliminates the chances that you’ll forget to add or remove a user in one of the vendors’ platforms.
Finally, the process for license auditing is much easier with a single vendor. It helps avoid redundant licensing, which could lead to administrative headaches down the line if not appropriately handled upfront.
When you’re talking about any kind of software solution for any issue within your organization, security is a crucial issue to consider. Addressing security concerns is how you keep your data and proprietary information safe. Failure to do so can lead to regulatory issues, loss of customer trust, or stiff fines, penalties, or lawsuits in the worst-case scenario.
Opting to handle security through multiple vendors, you’ll have multiple integrations for your systems. That increases the number of threat surfaces you’ll need to deal with. You’ll also have to apply multiple layers of patching within various programs and applications. This can get confusing and lead to your security team overlooking one or more applications. This can be the difference between a data breach and a secure IT environment.
Opening up your security landscape to multiple vendors means you’ll have an increased number of common vulnerabilities and exposures to account for. That can get costly and time-consuming. Auditing for compliance will involve extensive document collection, moving between platforms, and generally take up much more of your internal resources to perform effectively.
Compare that to having security built-in for a single vendor. Pursuing a single option for IT support simplifies the amount of alert monitoring you’ll receive. It also reduces potential gaps and weaknesses in your security posture. There will be no need for internal alignment of your IT security protocols because they’ll already be aligned. Having one system cuts down on the clutter and allows your team to focus on a single solution for security.
Of course, another important part of your organization’s IT environment is properly training the appropriate team members on how to use the various IT applications. This can be a cumbersome process when you’re dealing with multiple vendors. Your team members will need to sign up to access and learn multiple platforms. They’ll need to undergo multiple training processes. When you have multiple IT vendors, you may need to hire separate subject matter experts for each application. This can result in your IT department becoming overstaffed.
Having a single IT vendor makes hiring much easier. Your IT team will only have to master one platform - Office 365. The various certifications needed also become much easier to manage. You’re pushing your team to one synchronized platform as opposed to a wide variety of other IT systems they’ll need to acclimate themselves to.
Think about the amount of training and communication that transpires when your organization is attempting to implement a widespread change, IT or otherwise. Using a single platform across the organization makes adoption and change management easier. Rather than having your various team members signing in and out of multiple platforms, you’re pushing them all to one central source for all their learning and administrative needs. They won’t need to master multiple platforms on top of learning a new system or set of procedures. It’s hard enough to install an organizational change without worrying about multiple IT applications. Having a single vendor gives you and your entire organization one less thing to worry about.
Dedicated IT support contracts are a necessary business expense, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cut costs where you can. Some enterprise software support contracts can have costs in the thousands per year per vendor. Take Oracle Premiere Linux Support, for example. The cost per system is over $3,000. When you spread that out over multiple vendors, it can quickly add up, and for services that can be completed much more efficiently by one platform.
Taking cost out of the equation for a moment, it’s not a great look from an administrative or operational standpoint either. Imagine you encounter an IT problem that requires two (or more) vendors to solve. They’ll need to schedule support calls that may result in finger-pointing squabbles looking to assign blame to the other company. Compare that to the experience of dealing with one vendor. You now have a single source of accountability who won’t be looking to cast responsibility elsewhere. You’ll have a unified, coordinated troubleshooting approach without having to referee between different companies.
Finally, managing the governance of your applications and documentation becomes a lot more complicated when it involves more than one platform. You no doubt have a lot of information you need to move between team members both for collaboration and recordkeeping purposes. When there’s a leak or a compliance breach, you’ll want to know who is responsible. That helps you determine whether it was an error or an intentionally malicious act. You can also then figure out how to handle the person responsible. When you have a single platform that houses all your data, documents, and information, pinpointing these types of leaks or breaches is much simpler.
When you rely on a single source of information, you reduce the amount of “forking” that goes on in your organization as well. This is when you have documentation that requires updating in multiple locations. This can lead to outdated documents remaining in use.
Pointing your team members to a single source for all governance documents makes it easier on them for maintaining awareness of the document content as well as managing any updates. Like with your security settings, having a platform with governance tools built-in can cut down on complexity while increasing your organization’s overall effectiveness.
A Single IT Vendor Reduces Clutter and Confusion and Maximizes Simplicity
The IT solutions you have in place should make your work easier to manage and execute. Having multiple vendors increases the likelihood of mistakes, confusion, or general errors. Choosing a single source for all your IT needs minimizes troubleshooting concerns for anyone using it in your organization. Your IT team and your larger staff will all be grateful for the simplicity it brings to their workday.
For an organization looking to switch to Office 365 as a single IT vendor, it can seem overwhelming at first. Once you’ve made the switch, however, you’ll begin to see how it can help revolutionize your operations. For more on how to make this transition, reach out to Agile IT. We’re experts at navigating Office 365 and can help your organization do the same.