Top 5 Strategies to Minimize Your Dependency on IBM (Without Derailing Your Business)

Michael Welsh
Feb. 29,2024 | IBM

Feeling locked in with IBM? Has their latest renewal left you sour and searching for alternatives? You're not alone. Many large enterprises face similar frustrations – hefty price tags, rigid contracts, and a lack of transparency can leave you feeling powerless and overpaying.

At NET(net), we specialize in technology cost and value optimization, and we understand the complexities of navigating the ever-evolving technology landscape. We've seen firsthand the challenges client organizations face when heavily reliant on one supplier, particularly IBM. But rest assured, there's light at the end of the tunnel – and it doesn't involve burning bridges entirely.

Here are 5 actionable strategies to minimize your dependency on IBM without jeopardizing your business continuity:

  1. Conduct a Technology Audit: Know Your Enemy (and Your Options): The first step is a deep dive into your current IBM footprint. Identify every piece of hardware, software, and service you utilize. Assess their criticalityto your operations and future goals. Don't just focus on costs; evaluate performance, security, and flexibility as well. This comprehensive audit forms the foundation for your strategic shift.
  2. Explore the Competitive Landscape: Open Your Eyes to New Possibilities: It's time to broaden your horizons. Research open-source and alternative supplier solutionsthat address your specific needs. Pay particular attention to cloud-based options, as you may be able to get a transformative benefit by modernizing and improving organizational performance while you diversify your supply chain and lower your costs. Evaluate each solution based on functionality, compatibility with your existing systems, supplier reliability, and – crucially – total cost of ownership (TCO). Remember, the cheapest option isn't always the best; factor in long-term support and integration costs.
  3. Embrace the Multi-Supplier Approach: Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket: Over-reliance on any single supplier creates a risky single point of failure and gives the supplier the ability to exercise monopolistic pricing controls and other forms of tyranny. Diversify your portfolio! Integrate different solutions for hardware, software, and services. This promotes competition, giving you leverage for better pricing and termsin future negotiations. Plus, it fosters innovation and prevents supplier lock-in.
  4. Upskill Your IT Team: Build Your Own Tech Avengers: Investing in your IT team's expertise empowers you to be less reliant on external suppliers. Encourage cross-training and upskilling in technologies beyond IBM. Consider hiring specialists with experience in alternative solutions. A tech-agnosticIT team gives you greater flexibility and control over your technology choices.
  5. Negotiate Strategically: Use Your Knowledge as a Weapon: If complete decoupling isn't feasible, leverage your audit findings to renegotiatewith IBM. Armed with data on alternative solutions and their TCO, highlight areas where IBM falls short. Clearly communicate your willingness to switch suppliers if necessary. Remember, competition is your friend! Negotiating with confidence can secure more favorable pricing and terms.

Remember: Transitioning away from any major platform requires careful planning and execution. Minimize disruption by phasing out dependencies strategically, prioritizing non-critical systems first. Ensure smooth data migration and prioritize solutions with open APIs and data portability tools. Finally, never compromise on security and compliance. Conduct thorough assessments before deployment to ensure your new solutions meet your specific requirements.

Reducing your dependency on IBM is a journey, not a destination. By following these Top 5 strategies, you can build a more balanced, resilient, and cost-effective technology ecosystem that empowers your business to thrive in the dynamic tech landscape. At NET(net), we're here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today!

About NET(net) 

Founded in 2002, NET(net) is the world’s leading IT Investment Optimization firm, helping clients find, get, and keep more economic and strategic value in their technology supply chains. Over the last 20 years, NET(net) has influenced trillions of investment, captured hundreds of billions of value, and has helped clients cost and value optimize all major areas of IT Spend, including XaaS, Cloud, Hardware, Software, Services, Healthcare, Outsourcing, Infrastructure, and Telecommunications, among others. NET(net) has the experience you want, demonstrates the expertise that you need, and delivers the performance you demand and deserve. Contact us at, visit us online at, or call us at +1 (616) 546-3100 to see if we can help you capture more value in your IT investments, agreements, deployments, and relationships.

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