5 service qualities of a reliable third-party maintenance provider

More CIOs are gaining greater understanding of the IT infrastructure equipment end-of-life process and how big of a problem forced upgrades are. This has led many IT decision makers to explore flexible and affordable alternative services to replace their existing rigid and costly OEM maintenance contracts.

This can only be achieved with a trustworthy and reliable third-party IT infrastructure maintenance provider that is able to:

1. Design a hybrid maintenance approach that prioritizes business needs

The mission-critical parts of an infrastructure should be supported by leading-edge equipment that delivers the highest performance, capacity, efficiency and availability. Yet, many other parts of the business could continue to use what is still working.

A good provider should design and deploy a hybrid maintenance approach that makes selective use of OEM support package and third-party maintenance at the right places. This enables businesses to boost productivity and decrease operation cost without added risks.

According to the results of a recent Service Attach Rate study conducted by IDC, company policy was the top influencer of what drove support decisions.

But for company policies on maintenance to fulfil technology and business needs, the team responsible for maintaining the highest levels of network availability should have the flexibility to determine the optimal services and support partner.

2. Offer flexible and customizable contract coverage with modular pricing

A hybrid maintenance strategy allows businesses to reclaim control of their network and decide their IT assets’ useful life. A maintenance provider who offers comprehensive contract options and modular pricing structures best fits business budget and requirements. Such a vendor can also support multi-generation and multi-vendor network assets, even those declared end-of-life by the OEM.

In a Forrester study, 81% of the respondents that bought maintenance from OEMs cited little value due to misrepresentation of cost savings, new fees and inflexible pricing schedules.

3. Provide 24×7 tech support and convenient access to trained experts

When a disruption occurs, businesses should not have to navigate through a contact center and an elaborate escalation process to speak to an engineer. A reliable vendor will aim to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

For example, Curvature’s NetSure technical services are backed by global distribution centers that reach every major market in 24 hours, forward stocking locations for 4-hour replacement, and global 24×7 first call access to OEM-certified technicians. NetSure provides these facilities, as well as onsite sparing and field support, at 50% to 90% savings over traditional maintenance contracts.

Additionally, most customers want to avoid mundane tasks of deploying assets. This is where service organizations with flexible offerings can help defray both the costs and headaches of routine installation and deployment activities.

IDC also reported that, on average, companies spend 70% of their IT budgets just to maintain the current network and ‘keep the lights on”. This is an added burden on IT budgets. So, companies should reduce hardware maintenance and data center support without compromising uptime.

4. Enable robust SLA support and scale

Robust service-level agreement (SLA) fulfilment, with advanced hardware replacement options, next-business-day delivery and field support, is necessary for a geographically distributed network infrastructure. Businesses should also look for quality assurance and testing processes that guarantee warranty. This requires a vendor that has a proven track record, vast quality inventory, and sophisticated logistics across the globe to support robust SLA requirements.

Companies that adopt Curvature’s NetSure gain responsive customer service, quality processes, speedy equipment delivery and cost-effective field support that complement their existing OEM support.

Complementing the hybrid support services are Curvature’s global lifecycle management solutions that include robust hardware fulfilment services for both new and pre-owned networking and data center equipment, and asset recovery solutions.

5. Provide customer-centric contract management and service ticketing system

To get the best value for infrastructure support using a composite of OEM and third-party maintenance contracts, businesses should choose a vendor that has an easy-to-use contract management system. The system should which allow users to log service tickets online or offline, track their status and also monitor contracts from multiple vendors from one place.

IDC’s study revealed that customers prefer consolidating multiple contracts from multiple vendors to achieve a single point of contact. The result streamlines both support and ongoing operations.

NetSure customers can access Curvature’s Contract Management and Ticketing system via the internet to centrally manage their NetSure and OEM server, storage and network maintenance contracts and warranty agreements with multiple partners around the world.

Meanwhile, Curvature’s recent acquisition of CSU Industries helps to “extend both the reach and depth of our third-party maintenance from the data center to the network and the cloud,” says Mike Sheldon, president and CEO of Curvature. “Together, we provide more than 3,000 global customers with best-of-class support for hundreds of thousands of devices from over 550 locations around the world.”

The bottom line is that despite the fear, uncertainty and doubt generated by OEMs over the viability of independent third-party maintenance services, companies have options and alternatives to consider. More than half of the 500 worldwide enterprises surveyed by IDC use third-party maintenance to support about half of their equipment support needs.

“Our NetSure product maintains items that OEMs have determined are end of support,” says Glenn Fassett, general manager for Asia Pacific and EMEA at Curvature. “[Although] an OEM partner is not allowed to offer a competitive maintenance product for in-life equipment, they could work with, let’s say Curvature, on end-of-life products [without breaching their agreement with the OEM].”

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by Curvature.