IDC’s guide to avoiding vendor lock-in

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"All too often, the vendors have the upper hand," says research and advisory firm IDC in a recent report. High switching costs or other "vendor control points," such as proprietary technology integrations or overly customized applications, can make it too much trouble for enterprise customers to discontinue using one vendor and switch to another.

That means yet another enterprise falls into the dreaded sinkhole known as vendor lock-in. IDC says lock-in can even happen with cloud and hosted-software vendors (can you move your data?) and open-source software (is it surrounded by a vendor's proprietary code?).

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In a procurement report titled, "Maintaining Control of Vendor Relationships by Avoiding Vendor Lock-In," IDC analysts make several recommendations, including "conducting audits assessing vendor lock-in vulnerabilities." The goal is to manage the technology portfolio in a way that puts the enterprise customer on equal footing with the vendor.

"By evaluating technology portfolios with vendor lock-in considerations in mind, an enterprise is better able to assess its leverage points heading into major negotiations with vendors," the IDC report says. "Furthermore, decisions to implement competing technologies in parallel with each other may help create leverage points for the enterprise that help combat the control points set by the vendors."

Register to download the IDC report, "Maintaining Control of Vendor Relationships by Avoiding Vendor Lock-In," to read more analysis and specific recommendations.

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