How To Avoid the Vendor Lock-In Headache

Even though cloud-based services should make life easier for businesses, certain aspects can cause more problems than solutions. One such issue is vendor lock-in. If you’re new to cloud computing, this blog post will cover what this issue is and how to avoid the vendor lock-in headache. As long as you keep these tips in mind, you and your company shouldn’t have to worry about this problem.

What Vendor Lock-In Is

While the term “lock-in” might sound scary on the surface, it’s not quite as bad as it seems. It’s mainly a figurative term that states that changing providers whenever you want will become a challenge when you start using the proprietary services a cloud-based company offers.

However, there are times when you’ll hear the term used more literally. While this practice isn’t as common these days, some companies still require you to sign a contract upon joining that says you can’t change vendors during the allotted time.

Ways To Avoid It

Fortunately, regardless of the type of lock-in you’ll have to deal with, there are ways to make the transition process less strenuous for your company. Some strategies are best to do before a switch, while others are good to do after switching.

Find a Compatible Vendor

Whether you’re looking into using a cloud-based service for the first time or your company wants to change to a more suitable vendor, the key to avoiding lock-in is finding a provider that best fits your company’s wants and needs. If you know which apps and services you need for your procedures, you’ll want to take the time to find a company that offers them all. On the other hand, if you’re unsure, a vendor that either provides a wide range of services or has ones that are open-source and easily transferable would be the better option.

If you want to avoid a contractual lock-in, this is the time to make sure the vendor you’re interested in doesn’t have one hidden in their sign-on packet. If they do, but you’re OK with the idea of being in a lock-in contract for a few years, make sure you determine what kind of penalties you could incur for breaking it early. As we mentioned, though, these kinds of agreements aren’t as common these days. However, it’s still important to keep an eye out for them.

Make Changes Before Migrating

If you’re leaving your current vendor for a new one, one vital step is making any necessary changes with your current apps and services before you migrate over. Whether that entails upgrading to the latest versions or reworking significant sections to make your tech sync with the new system more smoothly, you need to do this before leaving. It’s much harder to make these changes after the fact since you will no longer have access to your old system.

Create an Exit Strategy

One more critical step you should take before starting with a new cloud vendor is to plan out a potential exit strategy. Even if you have no plans on leaving, the system may someday close an essential service or drastically change its pricing. This may make you change your mind about exiting. If you go in with at least some idea of what you need to do if you need to switch providers, it’ll make the process easier.

Avoid Apps You Don’t Need

This tip is best for companies new to these services. If you want to dip your toes into one of these services but don’t want to find yourself pinned down to one yet, avoid proprietary services from the vendor.

If you use these types of services, you’ll struggle to find a suitable replacement, or you’ll find that trying to change is more trouble than it’s worth. After you gain some more experience and knowledge about cloud services, you can make a more informed choice on which services or vendors are best for you.

Focus on Portability

Sometimes avoiding proprietary services isn’t possible, though. If that’s the case, you’ll want to focus on either programming your apps to be more portable or picking ones that utilize open standards that you can easily integrate with other programs in the future.

One such example is SAP. Applications that utilize these open standards can effortlessly migrate between other services that use them. For those searching for an SAP-integrated service, look no further than Atmosera. Our SAP on Azure capabilities allow you to easily scale your company and follow specific industry compliances. You can even integrate non-SAP data with our service.

Consider a Multi-Cloud Approach

As great as it is to format as many of your company’s processes to cloud-computing as you can, it comes with an unfortunate side-effect. If you do this, no single vendor can provide you with every service you need. That’s why many larger companies have attempted to use a multi-cloud approach. This allows them to pick and choose which services they want to use from separate vendors.

The important thing to remember when attempting this, though, is that you’ll need to use vendors who have compatible services. This won’t be an issue as long as you focus on the previously mentioned portability strategy. Utilizing an open standard will allow all your services across multiple providers to effectively communicate with each other.

Just make sure you take the time to organize and plan it out. Failing to do so will lead to complications that will cost a lot of time and money to fix. Plus, if any potential vendors want you to sign an exclusive contract, that will keep you from freely using other services.

The Key to Getting Around the Headache

There’s a good chance that all this info seems like a headache on its own, but we’re here to tell you that it’ll be much worse if you jump in without planning and try to figure it out after the fact. The key to this guide on how to avoid the vendor lock-in headache is to give yourself a little headache now to avoid the bigger one down the road. As long as you follow all these steps, any future issues will be smaller and more manageable.

How To Avoid the Vendor Lock-In Headache

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