Winning with third-party maintenance

Third-party maintenance (TPM) is rapidly increasing in popularity. While companies were once skeptical of an independent entity’s ability to support the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) hardware, they now largely realize that it has its place, even for the biggest of customers. Cost is a considerable factor for companies considering third-party maintenance and support. The motivation is understandable, considering OEMs are offering renewal quotes high enough to make you feel like you should hand over your first-born child.

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What is more aggravating than the high prices of the OEM renewal quotes? The reason behind the inflation:

Mr. Customer, why buy a maintenance renewal quote on your three-year-old hardware when you can buy the latest and greatest hardware around the same cost, with three years of maintenance included?!”

It may be difficult to refuse such an offer without a significantly superior alternative. This is a fear tactic used by the OEM and it would behoove you not to fall for it. For most organizations, this renewal offer is perfect timing for a conversation with a third-party provider. The hardware you are operating on is most likely doing its job and not yet in need of a refresh.

In the iconic words of Admiral Ackbar:

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Typical third-party providers will reduce the cost of your maintenance renewals by 40% – 70%. For a small company, that might mean several hundreds of dollars, but to an enterprise organization, it may equate to millions of dollars in savings!

A rational individual would certainly question the quality of service associated with tremendous savings, especially when discussing vital hardware. Have no fear! A quality third-party provider will employ engineers certified by the OEM and trained specifically on the relevant hardware and associated operating system. They will also be able to provide multiple references to speak to the quality of service.

You may be thinking, “Does that mean all third-party providers who offer the above are good choices?”

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No, it doesn’t mean any third-party maintenance and support provider is the right choice for your needs. Make sure you have a call-in number to get OS support and troubleshooting. This is where the real distinction between the top third-party maintenance providers comes into play. Many third-party maintenance providers are great with break/fix scenarios, but lack significantly in providing high-level OS support and troubleshooting. For example, if a customer calls, and the problem is something more complex than a disk failure, the customer should be routed to a specialist who can help him or her troubleshoot at the OS level.

By now you might be asking yourself, “Is there really any benefit at all to staying with the OEM?”

Under specific circumstances, yes. There are instances where compliance and regulations require companies to have access to the latest software updates. Less than 10% of all organizations have this as a requirement, though. If you’re in the 90% of organizations that don’t, you may still be conflicted about whether you need continuous access to software/firmware updates. For you, here are some considerations:

  • You are welcome to download all existing updates before your OEM maintenance plan comes up for renewal, which will allow you to install updates at a later time (and on your own time).
  • When evaluating a particular system for TPM, consider its future role within your environment. If it is a production system hosting critical applications that frequently require their own updates, third-party support may not be a good fit. However, if the system is on a stable firmware release, fairly static in the purpose it serves, being repurposed for a non-production role, or just being phased out over time, third-party maintenance becomes very practical.
  • Speaking of “being phased out over time,” most TPM providers are more flexible than the OEM. If your goal is to be entirely off of a system within 6 months, then why pay for a year? A good TPM company should be able to provide a 6-month contract that renews on a monthly basis just in case you need more time.
  • EOSL (End of Support Life) hardware no longer has software updates and is an ideal candidate for third-party maintenance and support.

Interested in learning more about third-party maintenance and support at ReluTech? Reach out today – you won’t regret it.