Enterprise IT teams around the world are frustratingly familiar with the process of vendor contract reconciliation, the annual process of ensuring that the support contracts for devices in the network are accurate. For enterprise IT teams, this process ensures that hardware in the network is where it's supposed to be, performing accordingly, and covered by the OEM contract.
On the surface, that might not seem like a difficult task. However, large-scale enterprise networks often have hundreds or thousands of pieces of hardware from multiple vendors, and each one must be reconciled on an annual basis. In many cases, information about such hardware is maintained in spreadsheets that have to be updated anytime there are changes.
Not surprisingly, there are many points of failure in this process: Spreadsheets are placed in the wrong location, making them difficult to locate; people forget to update the spreadsheets or just don't take the time to do so; information is not updated correctly; there are multiple copies, owned and updated by different people; data isn't entered accurately and so on.
Ensuring the accuracy of such data directly correlates to bottom-line costs, as hardware vendors are compensated for each device that's part of the contract. Without proper reconciliation, enterprises typically spend tens of thousands of dollars annually to support devices that aren't even on the network.
Likewise, the cost of reconciliation directly correlates to the length of time it takes IT to complete the annual process. In most cases, the reconciliation process is extremely labor-intensive. An engineer must manually login to each device to verify or clarify information in the spreadsheet – this is expensive, time-consuming, and unnecessary. Not only does the process disrupt the normal daily operations, it adds hours and days of work to already resource-strapped IT teams.
Such was the case for one North America digital media and entertainment company with thousands of devices under contract from multiple vendors. The size and diversity of the network turned the reconciliation process into a massive multi-day headache.
When the Forward Networks team learned about the issues this customer was having with reconciliation, they devised a solution using the data already collected within the platform. Forward Enterprise had already built a mathematical model of their network, including thousands of hardware devices. In a matter of minutes, Forward Networks provided visual documentation of the devices, their location, and their serial numbers, enabling the IT professionals to quickly identify the devices in their network that should be part of the vendor support contracts.
Their director of IT shared this feedback; "Before we began using Forward Networks, reconciliation was a best-guess operation. We have so many devices that it would take days to reconcile what the vendor said we had versus what we thought we had. Doing this through Forward Networks gives us much more detailed information and is much more accurate in terms of what we actually have, saving us money and time on the backside."
To learn more about how you can use Forward Networks to overhaul your vendor contract reconciliation process, schedule a demo today. Keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs in this series about how Forward Networks is impacting enterprise networks around the world, including Six-Figure Savings: How A Financial Institution Banked On NQE For Massive Returns; Confidence In Action: Investment Bank Uses Forward Networks To Verify Automation Software; and $6 Million Savings: How Rapid Insights Led To Valuable Network Upgrades.