When searching for a technology consulting partner, the first and most important choice is just what type of agency to choose: vendor-agnostic or vendor-tied.
A vendor-agnostic technology consultant is one who is not tied, contractually or otherwise, to the products of any one company or brand. Vendor-tied consultants, however, typically have an agreement with one or more vendors to only recommend the specific products that these brands provide. There are benefits to each approach, but in the end, a vendor-agnostic consultant is going to provide the most comprehensive and customer-centric solution.
What Are the Benefits of Vendor-Agnostic vs. Vendor-Tied?
It should be noted that there are benefits to a vendor-tied technology consultant.
Vendor-tied consultants will likely be very familiar with the suite of products they offer and will have a deep understanding of how these products can be applied to help a business achieve their technology needs. They will likely also have a very good relationship with their technology partners. However, with so many solutions available, the odds that the best solution is also the specific one the vendor can provide are not very likely.
Vendor-agnostic consultants have relationships with multiple providers and bring many advantages to the table.
First and foremost is versatility. Not tied to a single product or suite of products, the vendor-agnostic consultant is able to look at each individual need and choose the best product available. This helps ensure that the functionality provided more accurately reflects the specific needs of the customer.
Another huge benefit is a greater ROI. When choosing a technology consulting partner, cost will always be an important consideration. A wider range of products available means options covering a wider spectrum of investment dollars. This allows the vendor more flexibility to work within a specific budget. Applications needing more robust solutions can be filled with more expensive and comprehensive products, while applications with more minimal requirements can be paired with a more cost-effective product. This ensures that the technology solution budget is efficiently, maximizing ROI by minimizing waste.
Many companies are tied to their tech — they may be using a legacy application, for example, because it fits a specific, unique need. A vendor-agnostic consultant is much more suited to this type of project than a vendor-tied consultant who is not willing to work with an older solution from another vendor.
The Choice is Clear
While both vendor-agnostic and vendor-tied technology consultants have their role in the marketplace, it is easy to spot the advantages of the vendor-agnostic approach.
A customer-centric consultant specifically targeting the needs of the customer, unshackled by the limitations of contractual obligation to a certain vendor, will always be the smart choice.