Ray Bahar, vice president of PROMISE Technology (www.promise.com), says:

No one likes to be locked in to something – it’s human nature. People today are all about choice. In the technology business the customer has a tendency to buy as many applications or products from one provider as they can – so management, training and integration are easier. Cost is also better as customers can demand more discounts if they’re buying in quantity. So even though IT doesn’t like the idea of being hemmed in because their choice is limited, customers often voluntarily lock themselves in because of the reasons given earlier. Having said that, IT doesn’t really want their decision making process restricted. They’d rather have the ability to replace a product if a company is bought and integration has to take place or if a technology strategy has changed and a newer competitive product is a better fit. It’s all about keeping your options open, while keeping costs low.

It’s often difficult to move applications and data from one vendor’s service to another vendor. Vendor lock-in results because of this difficulty. Last year, Forrester Research’s James Staten said that the lack of standards was hampering the portability of data and applications between systems. As standards become more accepted and the norm, the problem will be lessened. With standards, more adoption will take place, customers will find it easier to move from vendor to vendor for lower prices and better service and the problem will go away.