06-25-2014 08:43 AM
In the past my company considered the idea of having multiple mobility partners. Normally, the partners offer similar products with similar functionality for the same markets/deployments. The logic is that with more partners come the opportunity to win more customers. I understand the perspective, but I just do not see how this adds up. Consider that when a service provider decides to use the technology of a particular vendor a lot of background work is required. First, there is the research involved. Whether a provider works with one mobility partner or ten, research is required. In comparison to the competition, the company should always compare offerings to ensure that the current partnership is technically and financially viable. The next research step is to verify that the mobility equipment functions as advertised. Basically, this is an internal bake-off. Provided that you have the resources, all service providers should perform this step as well. Once the technical and financial bake-off is complete, the provider should come to a conclusion. Chances are that only one of the vendors will meet all of the criteria (remember, technical AND financial) or most of it. At that point, pick the one that best meets the criteria and move one. In my opinion, when it comes to a mobility partner for particular market, Ricky Bobby said it best, "If you're not first, you're last." Once a company has determined what mobility partner best meets their needs, there is no need to spend any more resources on any other technology.
I understand that multiple mobility partners can give a service provider a competitive edge, but at what cost. For each mobility platform there is training for customer support, installers, data center administrators, system engineers, product managers, marketing, and sales. There is cost of equipment and equipment support for both the data center and remote locations. Most likely a managed service provider has their own internal systems that also require hooks into the systems of the mobility equipment. This does not include the cost associated with staging, housing, powering, managing, and maintaining the equipment and systems. When deploying a managed service, the initial investment is huge and for some products, the costs never end. So why do this more than once? I know that there are some companies that have multiple mobility partners, but do these companies make back what they put into it? Do they make a profit? If the mobility vendors virtually offer the same technology, s it really worth it?