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Multi-Vendor vs. Single-Vendor: Making the Choice

Guest Post by Contributing Author Ken Presti

The IT industry has long debated the benefits of single-vendor networks vs. multi-vendor networks. We sometimes act as though this discussion were unique or somehow surprising. But that’s not really true. After all, the people at Coke never asked you to drink Pepsi. And the folks at General Motors were never really all that taken with the idea of you tooling around in a Ford or a Lexus. So every time I hear about the benefits of single-vendor, a part of my brain thinks, “This just in!…… A sales guy thinks you should buy his products!”

But another part of my brain also recognizes that IT systems are different from cars. You buy your car from a single vendor. With the possible exception of hobbyists and other gear-headed types, nobody buys or designs cars that are part Chevy, part Toyota, and part Lamborghini. A Chevyoghini? Never mind.

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Smart Phones, Tablets, and Hand-held Devices: Threats or Productivity Builders?

Guest Post by Contributing Author Ken Presti

We see them every day, at work, on the train, at conferences, at coffee shops, and everywhere else that people might gather: hand-held devices that function as telephones, Internet access devices, network access devices, or perhaps merely toys upon which we can play “Angry Birds.”

They are pervasive, inexpensive, and versatile. But they also beg the question of whether they are truly ready for prime time, in the business sense of the term.

The truth is that a lot depends on how these devices are used and what sort of access they are granted. At the end of the day, this question is really about balancing convenience and security. The knee-jerk response is that security will trump convenience every time. However, if convenience enables people to be more connected and do more work than the otherwise might, then that makes the decision somewhat tricky, doesn’t it?

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How Do I Know if My Current System Can Support My Upgrades?

Guest Post by Contributing Author Ken Presti

There’s a certain level of excitement that comes from looking at prospective upgrades. Nowadays, that excitement is less about speeds-and-feeds, and more about how the recommended path can either pump up revenues or cut expenses.

But underlying all of the great ideas is the system upon which these applications and upgrades will run. So it’s fair to ask your channel partner, “Will my existing systems be able to support your suggested upgrade path?”

More often than not, you won’t need to ask this specific question because the channel partner should proactively tell you. After all, any changes to the infrastructure will carry budget implications that need to be factored into the overall project. But whether the partner brings up this issue or not, don’t assume that all IT systems are created equal. A few things need to be considered:

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Is My Company Using IT to Our Best Potential?

Guest Post by Contributing Author Ken Presti

Certain things in life are absolutes. You can’t be sort of pregnant, for example.

But Information Technology is not one of those absolutes. You can have a little or a lot. You can use it for all it’s worth, or you can just use the basics. You can have everything optimized to your specific circumstances, or you can make do with things as they come out of the box. You can buy the products that best meet your needs, or you can decide not to buy them and just use the next best thing.

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Do I Need Specialized Channel Partners?

Guest Post by Contributing Author Ken Presti

Over the past several years, a lot of vendors have established a variety of designations aimed at giving channel partners a demonstrable seal-of-approval for specific technologies or market expertise. In a world where channel partners need to differentiate against their competitors on something more than price, these “specializations” or “specialties” go a long way towards helping customers weed through the various IT offerings based on training, experience, and oftentimes customer satisfaction. Typically, all three of those qualities are necessary in order to “get badged,” as the partners often call it.

But how important should those badges be to you, as the IT decision-maker in a small business? The truth is, it depends.

If you are using advanced applications, and require high levels of security, run complex databases and are heavily dependent on things like CRM tools, unified communications capabilities and such, then I would say that the case for using a specialized partner is a strong one.

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