What’s Vendor Lock-In And How To Avoid It?

Vendor lock-in is defined as a scenario in which an organization is forced to continue using a certain product or service and is unable to switch vendors due to expected costs, complexity or the expected duration of migration. Businesses are ‘locked in’ to a specific unsuitable product or service due to expected financial constraints, difficulties or potential disruptions to crucial business processes. Recent studies have shown that approximately 67% of CIOs would prefer to use cloud services from several different vendors to avoid vendor lock-in. However, 71% of these companies still rely on the same cloud solution provider.

Businesses should avoid vendor lock-in as much as possible as it can cause a wide variety of issues in terms of operations and scalability. It can result in users being unable to transfer valuable organizational data without incurring significant costs. It can be especially problematic for cloud-based solutions, as it can be extremely difficult to migrate established cloud databases. Therefore, modern, data-driven organizations must avoid vendor lock-in as much as possible.

How To Avoid Vendor Lock-In:

1) Build Portable Applications

The portability of an application refers to its ability to function on a wide variety of operating systems and platforms without requiring major structural changes to the underlying code. This can be extremely beneficial for helping businesses avoid cloud vendor lock-in. If your business creates an enterprise application that contains a primary function that is highly dependent on a specific platform, you may potentially be at risk for a vendor lock-in scenario.

Portable enterprise applications can make it significantly easier to move historical organizational data and insights to a different vendor. Your business should focus on creating portable applications that are loosely focused on cloud components instead of hard-coding external dependencies on third-party proprietary applications. If your business needs to switch vendors, loosely coupled enterprise applications are much simpler to migrate data from.

2) Develop A Potential Exit Strategy

One of the most effective methods for avoiding a potential vendor lock-in scenario is developing a possible exit strategy before signing an initial service or licensing agreement with a particular vendor. An exit strategy is a clearly defined plan that your company can create to ensure that vendors that support key business processes and operations can be efficiently and effectively replaced or replicated without causing significant disruption.

This is extremely important because vendors may become extremely uncooperative once they learn that your business intends to stop using their product or service. However, this could have extremely detrimental impacts on your business such as extended downtime, decrease organizational productivity and even loss of valuable historical data.

Therefore, a comprehensive and holistic exit strategy can help relieve the pressures of vendor lock-in as well as enable your business to ensure that migration to a new solution is as effortless as possible.

3) Prioritize Multi-Cloud Strategies

A multi-cloud strategy involves using two or more public cloud solutions from numerous vendors while retaining the ability to shift organizational workload between them when required.

Although a multi-cloud strategy requires additional protective measures to optimize the level of risk, performance and cost, it can be an extremely effective method to avoid a vendor lock-in scenario. Prioritizing multi-cloud strategies can help identify and address various risks associated with vendor lock-ins such as data loss and reduced profitability.

The key to a successful multi-cloud strategy is ensuring that organizational data and applications are portable and compatible across different cloud solutions and operational conditions. This can not only help avoid vendor lock-in but can also enable businesses to leverage the best available features, data infrastructure and architecture across multiple vendors. Studies have shown that approximately 89% of organizations currently utilize multi-cloud strategies.

4) Retain Data Governance

It is crucial to focus on retaining control and ownership over your business’s data and insights when entering an agreement with a vendor. More sensitive data such as consumer information can be protected by storing it in a private cloud or an on-premise data center.

Businesses can retain data governance by choosing a standardized format for storing data and avoiding proprietary formats that could potentially lead to a vendor lock-in scenario. As your business continues to store more data with a single provider in numerous different formats, the cost and time associated with migrating that data could potentially increase.

Adopting a cloud-based data storage solution is one of the best methods of ensuring that your business retains control over sensitive historical data.

5) Prevent Knowledge-Based Vendor Lock-In Scenarios

Vendor lock-in may also occur due to the knowledge, skills and expertise that the employees of your organization possess. When employees utilize a specific solution for an extended period, they may gain a large amount of knowledge of its tools, processes and configurations. While this knowledge may be beneficial for your business in the short term, this may ultimately lead to a potential vendor lock-in scenario.

If your company chooses to switch vendors, the familiarity that your employees have with the prior solution may result in difficulties transitioning and migrating to a new one. This not only means that you will have to spend a large amount of time training employees but you will also have to address employee resistance to new technological tools. Therefore, your business must ensure that employees are consistently encouraged to prioritize innovation over specific solutions.

6) Open-Source Platforms

Choosing a fully open-source platform can provide users with a wide variety of tools to help prevent a potential vendor lock-in scenario. Open-source solutions can not only provide businesses with complete access to source code and complete ownership over enterprise applications but can also equip businesses with the flexibility to completely customize applications and software. Open-source platforms can also allow users to easily migrate data between different platforms without having to deal with long migration waiting times or expensive migration fees.

Planet Crust – Avoid Vendor Lock-In Scenarios:

As modern businesses become increasingly data-driven, avoiding potential vendor lock-in scenarios is more important than ever before. Vendor lock-in could potentially result in loss of sensitive organizational data, issues in terms of data migration and much more. However, open-source low-code technology can make avoiding vendor lock-in easier than ever before.

Corteza, created by Planet Crust, is a 100% open-source, low-code platform that can enable your business to avoid vendor lock-in while still being able to efficiently and effectively analyze data. Open-source solutions like Corteza can equip businesses with powerful tools that facilitate flexibility, agility, security and integration.

Try a trial now so that your business can take advantage of the wide variety of benefits of low-code, open-source technology for avoiding vendor lock-in.

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