The desire to get ahead of your competition is a part and parcel of doing business in today’s modern economy. Within the construction industry, we’ve seen first-hand the approach leading organisations have embarked upon; acknowledging the importance of implementing software technologies as a replacement to manual procedures with the purpose of improving competitiveness through improved business processes, employee productivity and efficiency.
Over the last decade there has been an influx of software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors moving into what was once an on-premise software and hardware space, offering specialised solutions for the construction industry. Whilst many of these services initially helped companies, today the landscape is so crowded with niche solutions that IT managers and executive teams are left scratching their heads at the range of confusing purchase options available to them. It raises the question for those in charge of enterprise resource planning: should your organisation adopt a single IT vendor strategy or partner with multiple vendors?
There are pros and cons to both strategies, but our experience has shown that our clients benefit greatly from a single vendor strategy. However, before explaining why, let’s look into the details of a multi-vendor approach.
The Multi-Vendor Arrangement
There are pros and cons to having a multi-vendor approach to address your construction solution needs:
- The world is your oyster. When you are looking for a solution, you have the ability to choose from a wide variety of vendors who claim to offer the best solution for one particular component of your construction enterprise resource planning.
- No vendor lock-in. Your arrangement with each supplier is pretty much flexible and at your command.
- Regular upgrades. Because you are using smaller and easy-to-handle platforms from each supplier, you will have higher chances of getting timely upgrades, whether it is with a platform as a service provider or a cloud computing services platform as a service
- Higher cost. Because you are using only one service from a vendor, you lose the ability to package items together, making the cost for what you get higher as compared to a single-vendor arrangement.
- Complex integration. Putting your ERP system in place is more time-consuming and challenging because you need to ensure that each component is compatible with the rest of the programs you have tapped for your IT infrastructure. Furthermore, there are risks associated with ongoing integration when one supplier changes components of their platform which may affect another.
- Laborious procurement. Getting in touch, negotiating terms and conditions, checking contracts and closing deals with different vendors will take up a lot of your time, not to mention confuse you along the way.
- Increased number of breach points. A risk with multiple vendors is that you have more exposure to the outside world and more data breach points which could be exploited. This requires more hours from your IT department to ensure compliance, that timely upgrades and patches are implemented and that everything is secured.
Why Opt for a Single-Vendor Technology Strategy?
One of the biggest challenges associated with a multi-vendor setup is the integration and compatibility of various software programs and having to deal with a number of vendors, all at the same time. We know that in the construction business, the number of contracts and transactions you have with different companies is already laborious. Adding a complicated ERP architecture risks an increase in the amount of time needed to coordinate with suppliers. And as mentioned, the risk of data breach increases with every vendor you bring on board.
On the flip-side, a more integrated system provided by a single vendor has multiple advantages. At Viewpoint we offer a range of packages designed to provide comprehensive solutions across a variety of aspects of your business. From our point of view, there are a number of important reasons why choosing a single-vendor model might be best in terms of your construction management solution.
- Lower upfront cost. Getting a comprehensive IT bundle with a single vendor means that you will have more features without the same capital expenditure. In discussing your exact SaaS requirements, we can determine the best price point for you.
- Lesser procurement effort. With the wide range of core business activities that you have to deal with, comparing vendors for your IT needs can just create unnecessary strain. By trusting your most trusted technology partner with all your ERP needs, you can focus on more important project management and construction activities within your organisation.
- Streamlined system. All components of your organisation’s enterprise resource planning system in this arrangement are compatible with each one and designed for ease of integration — even with future software upgrades.
- Faster training and utilisation. With a single vendor, you have a dedicated team ready to help. From design, through to training and even support, you have one team that can help you with multiple aspects of your platform — there is no need to ring around or log tickets hoping that one vendor can help.
- Efficient billing and coordination. Your finance department will no longer have to collate various invoices and payment receipts for numerous suppliers as they will only deal with one account and one vendor. Technical issues can be handled immediately too since you only need to contact one support centre number.
Ready to Take the Single-Vendor Approach?
In our minds, a single-vendor ERP system is more advantageous for every type of organisation, especially in the construction sector. If you are concerned you are not getting the best-of-breed solution for your requirements, let’s have a chat about our reliable, secure, functional, and easy-to-use solutions.
Speak to our Viewpoint experts and find out how we can help streamline your construction operations with an efficient, smooth, and well-integrated IT system.