Many organisations have silo’d data and fragmented IT systems, but how much of this is due to the actions of IT vendors? Do vendors too often chase a quick buck, selling point solutions that don’t take the customer’s wider needs and opportunities into account? What more could they actually do to help?
On the surface, the biggest cause of data silos and fragmentation is because these issues typically arise when different departments within a company have different priorities and goals, which leads to them using different systems to store data, making it difficult to share data across departments.
Short-term or long-term relationship: it’s your choice
Unfortunately, when IT vendors then enter the picture, some will prioritise selling their products over understanding the current tech ecosystem of the company they are selling to. These vendors are unlikely to invest time and effort into determining whether the company already has in place the capability they are proposing.
Better vendors will ask probing questions and seek to understand the company’s existing tech stack before proposing a solution. If they spot overlap and redundancy, they will help the company understand how their solution can add value. By working closely with IT teams and understanding their needs, these vendors can provide tailored solutions that make sense for the company.
Of course, we can’t blame data fragmentation on sales-hungry vendors, because the real responsibility of managing and controlling tech stacks falls on IT teams. Vendors do have a role to play, though. By understanding the existing landscape and selling with it in mind, vendors can help IT teams manage their tech stacks effectively.
Become the trusted incumbent
If IT teams and vendors can partner in this way, it not only ensures that companies are using the right technology to improve their operations and stay competitive, it can also position the vendor as a trusted incumbent that’s more likely to win follow-on business, and less likely to be dislodged by a rival.
So while some vendors are pulling their weight, others are not – and in the process their solutions could be making things worse, not better. And while it’s ultimately the responsibility of IT teams to avoid these missteps – for example, by implementing robust processes for approving new technology proposals, and policies for encouraging technology reuse – there are ways vendors can help.
Of course, it’s important that they ask probing questions to understand the existing infrastructure, and highlight the value they can add. However, vendors can also help IT teams to recognise what questions they in turn should be asking, understand how to take a more active role in shaping their company’s data governance strategy, and convey to the business the real value that a more cohesive tech stack can bring.
Bryan is a technology enthusiast and industry veteran. He has been analysing, explaining and writing about IT and business in a highly engaging manner for around three decades. His experience spans the early days of minicomputers and PC technology, through the emergence of cellular data and smart mobile devices, to the latest developments of the software-defined age in which we all live today. Over his career, Bryan has seen at first-hand how IT changes the world – and how the world changes IT – and he brings that extensive insight to his role as an industry analyst.