Those on the outside, looking in, generally don’t have an understanding of how complex IT can be, especially when it comes to dealing with multi-vendor situations in the organization’s infrastructure. C-suite management may say they want the best of the best for tools, but when that comes down to integration, it can be a nightmare to fulfill that demand.
Fitting a round peg into a square hole is the analogy often used in the IT world.
For years, there was no alternative. The best of the best may deliver a great tool, but when APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) don’t “speak” to each other, it doesn’t matter how good a system or tool is. And when it comes to function, whether the tool was the best of the best or something a whole lot further down the line, the result was the same. Systems can’t communicate, data is inaccessible and an integrated solution is a pipe dream. Fortunately, as the IT world grows and evolves, many proprietary platforms are moving towards standards that “play nice” with other elements in the environment. Even when they come from other suppliers.
The Challenges of a Closed System
Consider an IT employee who has training and Security+ certification. They know data needs to be pulled from infrastructure equipment in order to work on security analysis, but each infrastructure element has its own closed system when it comes to data. In cybersecurity courses and other IT training, professionals learn to work around closed systems, but the time and effort required aren’t worth it if there are other options. So regardless of whether the employee is working with security issues, network issues or something else, they are stymied if their tools don’t communicate when it comes to making shared connections like an efficient way to get the data they need quickly.
Some organizations have been able to implement standards-based tools that saw the necessity and became universal in their application and usage. Those who have Network+ certification have been part of the push for this movement because they recognize the absolute and essential need for systems to be aligned and integrated. Closed systems have been dismissed (even when they were the best of the best) in favour of just slightly off that top mark tools that allow for integrated API solutions. It means standards-based tools become the norm in favour of other, more complex systems even if the options are A+ instead of A++.
The writing was on the wall. As time has passed, more and more manufacturers are leaning towards integrated processes and more simplistic access to data. For them, it became a matter of making a sale through delivering what customers demanded or they would soon grow obsolete. The decision for these companies was obvious. They had to make themselves easier to use in a complex environment. It didn’t matter if it was a demand from someone with CySA+ certification, an IT director or the IT clerk, teams were making decisions up the line for elements that were integrated.
More than Integration is Collaboration
Of even greater benefit, IT customers are now in a position to watch their suppliers create tools that work with complementing supplier tools. The employee who has A+ certification can now look at systems that come from different providers but are designed to work together. It’s a far cry from what was available years ago.
It isn’t perfect. There are “hold outs” in terms of some manufacturers and some of the integrated solutions really don’t work together all that well, so IT professionals are still navigating work-arounds in order to do their jobs. In organizations where IT people have their say in what tools should be implemented, it is possible to get some of the cross- cooperative vendor systems into the network to make things easier.
Ultimately, the multi-vendor environment is improving. IT professionals have made their voices heard and their expertise has help swayed where dollars have been spent which has pushed for more access to data, integrated tools and cooperative partnerships. It isn’t smooth sailing yet, but multi-vendor environments can soon become a non-discussion for IT teams.