Too Many Tech Partners? Retailers, Time to Consolidate IT Vendors
Heather Lockhart • CMO
America's top-tier retailers are making technology investments a big priority to fuel growth. But with each new vendor relationship, retailers also open the door to logistical challenges and confusion.
Having a different vendor for nearly every piece of technology in your store can quickly create logistical challenges and difficulties juggling and maintaining your vendor relationships. The result is employee confusion, dissatisfied customers, and lost revenue when a device or service goes down.
"Many retailers still spend significant amounts of resources on legacy systems and software — also known as 'keep systems running' expenses," explains McKinsey & Company. This tech debt is crowding out investments in other strategic priorities that would generate business value, they say.
Instead, invest in your tech but streamline. IT vendor consolidation can help maximize your dollars and drive improvements in customer experience. Retailers should look toward a vendor-agnostic end-to-end retail technology provider who can handle the entire system.
Here are three benefits your organization could enjoy with fewer vendors to manage:
1. Streamline Vendors to Reduce Costs
Consolidating vendors strips away the excess, lowering IT costs and allowing retailers to focus on other strategic initiatives.
The average organization may have up to 10 vendor relationships to manage — so what happens when something goes wrong? When a critical system fails during a major holiday shopping weekend, how many calls do you want to make? Preferably as few as necessary, to an end-to-end IT provider.
When technology challenges arise, many organizations tend to fall into a reactive state, causing them to seek out new providers to fix the problem, versus leveraging their existing vendors to address the issues they are facing. This is especially true in retail, where store employees may not know about specific vendor relationships and procedures to engage them.
Managing overlapping vendor contracts and SLAs also eats up administrative time and resources. The results are less productivity and higher long-term costs.
2. Increase Reporting and Data Accuracy
Getting an overall picture of the business can be difficult for retailers if they are involved with multiple IT vendors.
Data collection and reporting differ from platform to platform, and one IT solution may not read and display the data the same way as another. This could lead to reporting inconsistencies, leading retailers to spend more time comparing the data rather than making actionable decisions that will drive the business forward.
With consolidation, there will be fewer stories and more data consistency, making it easier for decision-makers to draw trends from the reports and drive the business forward.
A single data source can help prevent duplication and information loss, lowering administrative costs and reporting errors. The source improves your understanding of how your business is doing.
3. Improve Support Options
When something goes wrong, you don't want your frontline staff to do IT’s job or spend valuable time away from customers trying to find the right person to talk to.
Consolidating your IT providers means having fewer companies to deal with. Employees will no longer waste time calling numerous numbers or companies for support-related issues.
"When a critical system fails during a major holiday shopping weekend, how many calls do you want to make to fix it?
Preferably to a few as necessary."
With vendor-agnostic support options, you benefit from the one-stop-shop approach – where the provider can resolve most IT-related issues through a single source.
IT Vendor Consolidation for Retail Success
IT services and vendors are critical to the success of any retail business. In the post-pandemic economy, their technology and services are at the heart of the customer experience.
Instead of working with multiple vendors, each with its own SLAs, contracts, technicians, and areas of expertise, consider working with an end-to-end IT service provider. More than just a vendor, they can become a strategic partner, providing industry expertise and thought leadership to help you build the best experience for your customers.
Compucom is a vendor-agnostic solution provider and a trusted retail partner. We have the critical capabilities to support you from beginning to end — from technology planning and deployment to tech support field service and more.