Suppose you were to one day discover that your monthly bill has not been sent out by your messaging provider. Or that your orders and notifications to both suppliers and customers have simply been blocked! For instance, if the government has decided that all foreign providers need to pay a transaction levy which cannot be passed on to their customers. Or, say your provider, in defiance of a valid contract, has simply decided they would like to charge you twice the agreed rate.
Now, imagine that you send your messages by way of a provider that uses communication protocols which offer an enormous number of functions but are proprietary. You have adapted all your applications to align with these protocols, as have your customers. The perfect vendor lock-in.
To put it mildly, you would be facing an absolute catastrophe.
Sounds far-fetched? This is the situation which is now playing out in Australia, where Facebook was blocking news content. The political landscape has long seen ongoing disputes between publishers and giant tech platforms such as Facebook and Google in many countries. Disputes that result in responses like the German governments’ and the creation of the ancillary copyright law in Germany.
It’s true that this is not about business communication but “only” news content, which can also easily be published outside of the “walled gardens” of Facebook. However, this case does much to highlight that it’s certainly not advisable to build up your business on a platform you have little or no control over (even if a walled garden with proprietary systems is not completely comparable).
It couldn’t have happened with open standards
Let’s return to the fictional “vendor lock-in” situation described above. This only becomes a horror scenario if you allow yourself to be locked in. As long as you connect your applications and digital workstations to the services offered by your providers using global open standards, you can’t be locked in. In an extreme scenario where your provider for some reason breaches their contract and blocks your communication, you are still safeguarded against this emergency by being able to quickly switching over to an alternative solution.
Here’s just one example to underline this. Communicating with customers by way of popular OTT messengers may seem to be a good idea – for instance if you know that your target customers commonly use that specific messenger and you would like to take advantage of some specific features the service offers. That can quickly turn sour if the provider cuts you off, for some reason beyond your control. The same applies if the provider starts to infringe upon data protection regulations on a large scale, leaving you open to prosecution simply by using the service. You don’t have to look far to find better alternatives. Although it may seem less modern at first glance, notifying your target audience by means of email or SMS is sure to pay off in the long run.
By the way, Retarus uses open standards for all the services we offer, thereby supporting your efforts to sustainably digitalize and cloudify – with no vendor lock-in. Always secure, certainly compliant.