Vendor Loyalty: When Is It Time to Call It Quits?

Apr 29, 2017 byJim Leida

We value loyalty as a trait. We seek out loyalty in friendships, relationships, colleagues and employees. It is an admirable characteristic, unless you’re referring to technology.

Technology is progressing at an exponential rate. The same amount of technological advancement that occurred in the year 2000, occurred every 66 minutes in 2013, and will occur every 30 seconds in 2020. Are you using the same phone you had 15 years ago? Probably not. Most of us were still sporting pagers in 2002! Why then are we still supporting our operations with archaic and unsupported technology that was built when the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” was still on TV?

We struggle to trade out our dated technology for various reasons: 

We struggle to trade out our dated technology for various reasons: 

  • Risk – We are risk averse and often default to truisms like, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” However, I can’t recall a time when it was good to do business with a devil. However, the devil you don’t might become an excellent choice once you invest the time in better understanding your technological alternatives.
  • Comfort – We like our old jeans because they’re comfortable and our beat down sneakers because we are used to the way they fit. Technology, on the other hand cannot be placed into the same category. Just because it is familiar and comfortable does not mean that it will continue to provide value. There is too much to lose by not progressing along with modern advances. Wouldn’t you agree, Kodak?
  • Mindset – Perhaps it seems as though there are not viable options available to you. We can lock ourselves into a mental jail, never testing the door, because we have gone so long without strong choices that we can come to assume that there are not any. If you find yourself stuck in that mindset, the reality is that there are options for your operation and GREAT ones at that!

In business terms, your “loyalty” could be hurting you in multiple ways:

  • Operationally – While our modern technological choices can provide us with many advantages, challenges can arise when appropriate technical support is not provided. In some cases, users (Universities/Municipalities/Private Operators) are stuck with their choice when it does not work or malfunctions. Such problems lead to frustrations and stress for individuals, but overall they amount to a loss of productivity, high overhead costs and, in some cases, even lost customers and revenue. To prevent such frustrations and losses, it is important to have strong technical support services from a reliable company that will address any problems right away. 
  • Financially – Loyalty to outmoded software can hurt your bottom line. Why? Because modern platforms are built to create greater efficiencies, deliver better purchasing options, and offer greater accountability. This is done through the inclusion of progressive components such as web services, open architecture, and flexible interfacing. These modern features are unlikely to be present in older versions of software. Furthermore, as it relates to the parking and transportation industry, new software can provide data that presents a clear picture of how your operation is performing (in real time!) That data is key to resource allocation.
  • Technologically – Years ago, standardizing around a single vendor may have made a lot of sense. You may have recieved beneficial pricing and reduced support and training costs. However, moving toward a monolithic architecture in the days of cloud computing should be carefully considered lest you end up with a significant investment in a platform that is expensive to maintain, inflexible, and no longer supported.  Choose poorly and you are doomed to a custom integration (and potential science project) to take advantage of any new technologies.

You have nothing to lose by exploring options. Yet, you have much to gain. There are innovative solutions available to you today, built on modern flexible platforms designed to scale to your needs and wants. Be brave, take a calculated risk and seek out options that are in line with your vision. Don’t let loyalty hold you back from taking your organization to a new level.

Further Reading

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