Third Party Maintenance Providers: Top 10 Benefits
Previously we have explored what EOSL means and the general benefits of a Third Party Maintenance (TPM) provider to ensure your hardware has comprehensive support moving forward to extend the life of your equipment. We would now like to drill into those benefits further to provide a thorough explanation and comparison of TPM providers vs Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Support so that you can make an informed decision as to which is best for your business’ IT environment. Firstly, let’s just define what we mean by third party maintenance.
What is Third Party Maintenance (TPM)?
A Third party Maintenance (TPM) provider is an alternative to traditional OEM support. TPM is hardware support for your IT infrastructure such as server, storage and network equipment. This support is delivered outside of the OEM system often supporting hardware post-warranty.
Watch this explainer video from Service Express to have a visual understanding of third party maintenance.
There are many benefits of TPM providers vs OEM support which we will go through in more detail, however if this is the route you decide to take, make sure you check that your provider adequately covers all of these areas. A good, reliable TPM will maximise the return on your IT investment which is achieved through all of these key top 10 benefits.
1. Multi-Vendor Specialist Engineers & In-house Facilities
First and foremost, having a TPM provider on board will provide you with highly qualified and experienced multi-vendor engineers who are trained and certified across multiple Tier 1 vendor brands. This expertise is extremely beneficial, unlike OEM support that can only solve specific problems to a singular brand, TPM provider support gives you access to a much wider skill set and pool of technicians. Therefore, providing extensive support to maintain any IT hardware irrespective of the vendor. A third party maintenance provider may also have an in-house data center for testing and remote monitoring as well as extensive workshop facilities for refurbishing technology. Therefore, giving you quick access to updates, upgrades and patches through remote monitoring.
2. Single Point of Contact (SPOC)
Another important factor to consider is that a TPM provider will bring your business a single point of contact (SPOC) for all your IT infrastructure requirements. OEM support will usually mean that you have multiple vendors and multiple contracts to manage. However, a TPM will offer one point of contact with a simplified contract to manage all your equipment.
3. Customer Service
Excellent customer service and a dedicated 24/7/365 support Helpdesk will provide you with a stress free solution when a technical crisis breaks out. A variety of ways to contact support should be available such as email, phone, web chat and/or an online customer portal. A reliable TPM provider will have a good sized technical helpdesk team who are experienced and customer focused with a stringent incident response procedure right from the moment an issue is reported through to resolution. TPMs will often prove to have a clearer and quicker process for communications, keeping the customer in the loop every step of the way. You can check if a TPM is reliable by reviewing their service delivery statistics. Transparency is key and they should be open about their KPIs such as first time fix rates, SLA rates, average response times and CSAT scores.
4. Extended Life of Technology
With the right TPM you can extend the life of your technology through expert capability of legacy part supply and installation. A support partner with multi vendor parts and equipment will be able to offer a reliable same day or next day delivery service which will therefore reduce operational downtime. Choosing the right support beyond EOSL dates will ensure the life of your technology is extended and you will get the best possible return on your investment.
5. Tailored Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
A range of service level agreements are often offered by TPM providers, however, few offer SLAs that are tailored to your business needs and requirements. TPMs that offer comprehensive and flexible SLAs will bring even more reliability, cost savings and peace of mind for your business. Usually a TPM will offer differing coverage hours, onsite response times, onsite technical support, remote monitoring, unlimited phone support, guaranteed fix times, activity logs & reports and public holiday coverage; all tailored to your needs and within your budget. OEM support contracts do not usually allow for such flexibility and their costs are often expensive and fixed.
6. Cost Savings
A TPM support contract should save you money (up to 60%) compared to the OEM support contract. Extended contracts with OEM support often come with a price tag as they would rather you bought new technology than support existing old equipment. Most TPM providers also offer flexible contracts so that you meet the needs of your data centre within your required budget, therefore keeping costs to a minimum. You can usually save up to 60% on maintenance costs compared to OEM maintenance support prices.
7. Global Coverage
A leading TPM provider will be able to offer global coverage allowing you to use the same support company across multiple locations across the world. This service will also allow consistency across your business worldwide, now and in the future.
8. ITAD (IT Asset Disposition)
A TPM with extended services will also include ITAD management services. Having access to secure asset disposal will complement your TPM contract and provide reassurance of these services provided by a company that is both reliable and trustworthy.
9. Case Studies & Customer Reviews
A good way of exploring a third party provider is by reading their customer reviews and case studies on the company website. By reviewing company case studies, you can discover the challenges, the solutions and the results customers have experienced. Often customer quotes and reviews will also be available, which can be used as a reference. Reviews may also be available on platforms such as Google or Trustpilot which will also give you a good idea about the service a particular TPM provider offers. Customer reviews are often a very reliable source of information with an overall customer rating.
Look out for TPMs that have recognised accreditations such as ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 14001 and ISO 20000. These accreditations show that the company is serious about sustaining international standards and working towards continuous improvement and excellent customer service. The company’s certifications give customers an assurance that they are in safe hands.
Survey Results for TPM Support Users
IDC’s infrastructure support survey 2019 results revealed that 42% use a TPM and the reasons they use a TPM are as follows:
- Better Offerings (22.3%)
- Easier to do business with (22.3%)
- Provides multi-vendor support (20.7%)
- Same offerings but less expensive (19.3%)
- Less expensive (15.4%)
The survey also revealed that these are the most important support features in deciding what type of support services agreement to purchase for their business.
- Technical expertise and effective communication of support staff
- Support of operating systems and/or remote monitoring
- Ability to patch without scheduled downtime
- Proactive/preventative support services
- Quick access to updates/upgrades/patches through portal or website
- Price/cost of support
- Multiple ways to contact support (email, phone, web chat)
- Ability to provide consistent support experience globally
- Availability of on-line self-support
OEM vs TPM
Here’s a quick re-cap, OEM vs TPM, which is best to enable you to achieve your business’ IT objectives?
- Certified engineers
- High costs and hidden fees
- Inflexible agreements
- Flexible SLAs
- Reduced maintenance costs
- Extended life of technology
- Engineer expertise
- Maximise uptime
- Dedicated support
In contrast to OEMs, TPMs provide greater overall value. It is important to note that you can take a blended approach to managing your data centre hardware support. You can move some things over to TPM when the time is right. Newer technology can remain on support with your OEM until your initial warranty ends. Having blended maintenance support will ensure you have the best maintenance support of both worlds within budget. Check out our ‘IT Hardware Lifecycle’ whitepaper to discover exactly when to move to TPM support.
So what should you do next?
1. Assess your data centre support needs
2. Review the impact on your data centre
3. Discuss your options with a TPM provider
Third Party Maintenance Summary
It is an important decision whether to stick with your OEM vendor support (if still available) or to switch to third party maintenance support, the decision should be based on what is best for your IT environment and company objectives. Remember you can take a blended approach and move your hardware to TPM when the time is right, keeping newer items under support with your OEM.
Once you have assessed your data centre support requirements The ICC Group are the perfect choice for your TPM provider. We would like to help your business cost save on your IT maintenance, extend the life of your technology and increase the return on your IT investment. At ICC we can demonstrate all the qualities and benefits mentioned above which we believe mixed together provides the ultimate TPM support. To find out more, please contact us via email at Enquiries@TheICC.Group or call us on 0333 220 0413.
For more helpful resources, or to find out more on OEM support vs TPM providers, please get in touch!