In every case reviewed by Gartner, the firm found that organizations did not require additional staff to manage a dual-vendor network compared with a Cisco network. Also, total initial capital costs and ongoing maintenance expenses were "clearly higher" in a Cisco-only network -- the interviewed organizations achieved capital cost savings of 30% to 50% less than competitive bids from Cisco; and savings on maintenance costs ranged from 40% to as much as 95% less than what was previously paid for Cisco's SMARTnet services for similar infrastructure and coverage, Gartner found.
"Sole-sourcing with any vendor will cost a minimum 20% premium, with potential savings generally reaching 30% to 50% or more of capital budgets when dealing with premium-priced vendors," Fabbi and Curtis state in the report. "Network architects and CIOs who don't re-evaluate long-held incumbent vendor decisions (with any vendor) on a periodic basis are not living up to fiduciary responsibilities to their organization."
In an e-mailed response, a Cisco spokesperson defended the company's single-vendor strategy:
"Cisco believes that an architectural approach provides substantial operational benefits for organizations looking to leverage the network to seize tomorrow's business opportunities. These organizations require an agile, robust, secure, and reliable information infrastructure -- one that can, for instance, ensure the quality of video communications, enforce consistent policies across employees, partners, and customers and enable secure, transparent mobility while reducing energy costs. For these organizations, the benefits of access to highly skilled network engineers (through our CCIEs) are key and an end-to-end architecture is critical."
The Cisco spokesperson also attached a November 2010 document to the e-mail, prepared for the company by Forrester Research, which Cisco claims supports its stance. In the document, entitled "The Total Economic Impact of Cisco's Borderless Networks," Forrester notes that a North American organization employing 5,000 people with 50 global branch offices can achieve $5.4 million in mobility productivity savings; $700,000 in security benefits and cost savings; and $2.4 million in Wide Area Applications Services benefits and costs savings.
Cisco Borderless Networks is an enterprise architecture that includes routing, switching, mobility, security and wide-area network optimization.
That same organization can gain a breakeven payback in 12 months, and a risk-adjusted ROI of 163% over three years, Forrester found.