By [Simon Stanford](https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonstanford?authType=NAME_SEARCH&authToken=vTsl&locale=en_US&trk=tyah&trkInfo=clickedVertical:mynetwork%2CclickedEntityId:4477565%2CauthType:NAME_SEARCH%2Cidx:1-1-1%2CtarId:1457614392734%2Ctas:simon stanford), Managing Director, O2 Enterprise Sales
Supplier consolidation has accelerated over the past few years, but it isn’t always viewed as a hugely innovative step. Well, I’m not just a great advocate for supplier consolidation; I actually think it’s revolutionary. Businesses like Netflix, Uber and Google might have prospered by challenging the old ways of doing things. But sometimes, something that you might not consider as game-changing can also deliver great benefit.
Supplier consolidation can have a really positive impact on an organisation. Where we’ve been lucky enough to be the chosen partner, I’ve seen first-hand what it can deliver. It’s a great way to cut costs. Introduce simplicity. Have just ‘one throat to choke’ if things go wrong. The advantages to the IT department can’t be under-stated either. It frees up the IT team’s time, ending the hassle of juggling multiple suppliers – and multiple monthly bills – and makes it much simpler if there’s just one partner involved end-to end.
But I think the benefits of supplier consolidation extend beyond the bottom line or the morale of the IT team.
To help me explain what I mean, think about the business world we’re operating in. Digital has exploded on all our markets, driven by cloud and mobile and the changing habits of the workforce and consumers alike. In such a maelstrom, the need for simplicity is paramount. But the way IT has grown over the past 30-odd years has been piecemeal. HR need to solve a problem, so Enterprise software is sought out and deployed. Accounts have an issue, but there’s a solution for that. As there is for Customer Service, and so on and so on. Of course, hopefully they’ll all operate together but that’s the nub of the problem. It’s often multiple towers, and multiple suppliers.
All of which means the focus of the IT team is on the technology and its complexity – which often detracts attention from the needs of the organisation’s greatest asset, its people.
That’s where’s supplier consolidation can come in. Reducing the number of suppliers you work with creates the right environment to focus on what’s needed to deliver productivity, to drive customer engagement. Not the tech alone.
I describe supplier consolidation as revolutionary because it reduces complexity and frees up time to focus on how people work. I’ve seen it happen ‘in the real world’ with several customers, and am thinking about one customer in particular as I write. This customer, a high-street big name, was looking to upgrade its WAN. They had multiple projects on the go, many driven from outside of IT, but knew they needed to keep the network up and running. By coming to us and hearing our approach, they got a new WAN – but more importantly we looked at how their people were working and their wider ambitions around improving the in-store customer experience. Now, along with the WAN, O2 Wifi has been seamlessly deployed. This provides the customer with a back-up network for resilience, and they’ve also got a tool that puts their people, and the service they’re delivering, first. And the wifi itself is attracting more end-customers into stores. What’s more, the insight we can provide around their in-store internet use is helping our client to improve customer service and extend the reach of services they’re able to sell.
So, while some might say supplier consolidation is just a matter of administration and the right choice of supplier so you can stay in control of your infrastructure, for me it’s revolutionary. Take out complexity, reduce some of your hassle and use your new-found freedom to help you focus on your people and the way they work – so you can really drive growth for your organisation.
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