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How to decide if changing technology vendors is worth the time, risk

(Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer, TechTarget) The recession has intensified some companies' need to shop around for new vendors and better deals, and in some cases is turning best practice for changing technology vendors on its head. Just ask Bill Yearous, CIO of The Seattle Times, where the IT budget has been reduced by half over the past three years.

When he saw the year-over-year pricing on his Oracle Corp. database increasing at twice the rate of his two other database products, he dropped the contract, ending a decade-plus relationship with the vendor widely reputed to have the industry's premier technology. "It used to be that CIOs would joke that you don't get fired buying the Oracles, IBMs, Microsofts of the world, companies with high service levels, whose software and applications are widely accepted. They are easy choices to make," Yearous said. "It's a little bit counterintuitive that the best technology turns out the be the technology that meets your business needs at the price you can afford, as opposed to who has the purest best technology."[...]

Changing vendors is never easy, even in good times and especially for a product as "foundational" as major software, according to Duncan Jones, an analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. "For software products, it really depends on the product category and what is involved in migrating data, retraining users and redoing integration," Jones said.

By contrast, switching service providers, or switching software resellers - moving from CDW to Insight or vice versa, for example, to source the company's Adobe Systems Inc. software - is less complex. Likewise, discrete niche products, such as a travel expense management program or e-sourcing, can be switched with relative ease, particularly if the software is delivered as a service

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