INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: The Power of Diversity in Technology Sourcing.

Lyle Bunn


Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See


Buyers of technologies and the firms that provide it have an inherent dynamic.

Sellers want ALL the business if they can get it, while buyers want best value in each element of what they purchase. Meantime, each is challenged to be productive and economical in their sourcing or supply.

Where applications of technologies fit naturally in operations, it can make sense to try to benefit from the economies of sourcing and certainly of supply. Digital signage is a good example of this, where a range of display types and sizes (such as are available from LG) can be naturally bundled into a single selection, purchasing, installation and operational process.

But these economies break down rapidly when the sourcing becomes too widely encompassing. Digital signage networks require different elements to comprise a technology ecosystem and each of these have the requirement of specific subject matter expertise.

Comprehensive sourcing breaks down when elements in the technology bundle do not naturally fit together.

Technology providers cannot be blamed for leveraging its sales efforts, in particular when trying to enter new markets dominated by competitors, or trying to accelerate the introduction of new products.

But where every sales call is an opportunity for the hungry supplier, end user buyers must be diligent in guarding their time and attentions in their need to be as productive as possible.

Facility managers are particularly vulnerable to these calls on their time by suppliers. Conglomerates that offer many lines of technologies that have quite different applications can easily gather their lines of business under the umbrella of one-stop-shopping, but this umbrella can become an overhead where specialized applications expertise is a critical success factor and it is realized that different applications do not really fit together and supplier expertise and value is uneven across product/service lines.

Imagine a hospitality or health care example – A conglomerate may offers flat screen TV’s built for best value in in-room viewing, as well as commercial grade displays for digital signage in public spaces, state-of-the-art OLED displays to wow lobby and event patrons, shielded displays for areas sensitive to electronic interference and interactive panels for teaching and management environments. It may also offer security equipment such as cameras and control rooms, and energy-related products such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and even solar panels and environmental control systems.

Each has a different application and entirely different contribution to the success of the business. Each operates with different profit margins, support services, upgrade structures and a wide range of other aspects.

Just as a transit authority does not buy all its rolling stock from one supplier, as people buy apparel, sporting goods and food from different stores, and auto manufacturers source different components from different parts and sub-assembly providers, so organizations must look beyond one-stop-shopping to invest most wisely in the products that best serve their intended purpose.

Let the buyer always base their actions on what best suits their shareholders.