Report: Businesses better off using one network vendor

A recent report says businesses benefit from using a single vendor for all of their networking needs. But is that true, or is it just a marketing pitch from vendors that want customers to buy more? 

The report — conducted by Deloitte and commissioned by networking vendor Cisco — says that single-vendor networks cost the same as those built with components from multiple vendors, and that customers are more satisfied when they use a single vendor.

Those conclusions are based on interviews with 15 of Deloitte’s enterprise customers, as well as information already received from hundreds of other customers. According to Deloitte, Cisco didn’t know the identities of any of the companies used for the report.

The report’s main conclusions:

  1. Despite popular belief, businesses don’t save money by picking and choosing network products from different vendors — though initial purchases prices may be lower, that’s cancelled out down the road by support and maintenance costs.
  2. Companies can add products more quickly when they use a single vendor because they can be more confident they will work with what they already have.
  3. Companies find single-vendor networks to be more reliable, with a lower risk of downtime.
  4. Securing multiple-vendor networks is more difficult than with a single vendor.

Not all tech experts agree that businesses are better off with a single vendor. For example, a 2010 Gartner report, “Debunking the Myth of the Single-Vendor Network,” found that introducing a second networking vendor could lower total costs by 15% to 25% for most businesses.

That report specifically disagreed with earlier claims made by Cisco about increased operational costs due to working with multiple vendors. Most businesses studied actually said their networks became easier to manage when they added a second vendor.

So which approach is best? The answer, as usual, is that it will be up to each company to decide what works for their particular situation. To judge its merits for yourself, download Cisco and Deloitte’s report.

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