By Nathan Hock, CXtec Product Engineer
As the Avenger of your technology infrastructure, you know how important it is to be vigilant in researching every expenditure. It helps minimize risk and provide the best opportunity for smart investments. But despite all your diligence, there are times when things can get hairy… even for an Avenger.
Imagine it's the middle of the day, center of the city, and a red witch has just bedazzled your large green teammate. A rampaging Hulk in the city is a catastrophe! So what do you do? Just like Tony Stark, as an Avenger you have a contingency plan. You do what you have to do to save lives and call on every resource to mitigate damage and remediate the situation.
Is your network any different? Viruses, software inadequacies, and hardware failures can play havoc in an otherwise peaceful environment. Depending on the network in question, lives can literally be on the line. You need a contingency plan, but price is a factor and not everyone has a limitless Stark budget.
In today’s business economy, organizations are seeing dramatic increases in the cost of supporting their IT hardware/software. In some cases these can account for upwards of 60-70% of their budgets. According to its 2014 Market Segment Performance Analysis, Gartner estimates that the worldwide IT services market grew 1.9% (3.5% in constant currency) in 2014, from $937.1 billion in 2013 to $954.8 billion in 2014.
Many organizations’ budgets are being squeezed so hard, that they are foregoing support contracts altogether – a risky proposition. However, there are alternative solutions that can save significant operating expense (OPEX) budget and still provide the support you need. But first it’s important to be able to separate the facts from the fiction.
We all know what it’s like when the OEM rep is talking to you about the LAN upgrade you’re contemplating and they give you a series of reasons why you MUST have an OEM service contract – “cradle to grave” – and if you don’t, terrible things will happen. Keep in mind it’s in the OEM’s best interest to recommend support like this, but that’s not necessarily what’s best for you. The OEM generally doesn’t have any other options – you do. It’s just about understanding what you’re getting for your organization’s hard-earned money.
Depending on your business model, and the product you’re acquiring, you have a number of options that can simultaneously save you money and keep risk at bay. If you work with a vendor who provides refurbished equipment and third-party maintenance you can expand your choices and build a solution that works perfectly for your needs. You can combine:
The ability to blend any or all of the above support options gives you the best chance of succeeding at the lowest overall cost. You can cater a hybrid maintenance solution to your specific circumstances and needs.
Let’s say that a given organization, because of its Payment Card Industry (PCI) security requirements, must have OEM service contracts to maintain the latest and greatest software versions on its equipment. It could save money by simply purchasing a third-party 8x5 NBD replacement contract (as opposed to a more expensive OEM 24x7x4 contract), along with some refurbished equipment for spares. In this scenario, if a piece of equipment fails, it can be replaced as quickly as possible. The organization could then allow the OEM replacement to come with a slower hardware replacement turnaround time.
For organizations that are on a tight OPEX budget, but are not thoroughly experienced with networking equipment, it’s usually wise to use an OEM service contract for at least the first year to work out “the kinks.” Once the network is stable, then the organization can drop down to a lower-cost paradigm that might include any mix of third-party maintenance, hardware warranty and/or spares.
This option works best for organizations that don’t have any “latest and greatest” requirements and hate the cost of OEM service contracts. It’s the scenario that enjoys the broadest range of options for equipment and maintenance purchases. If an organization is willing to consider buying refurbished equipment and third-party maintenance, it can realize significant OPEX budget savings.
A quality vendor of refurbished networking hardware will offer a competitive warranty on its products (CXtec provides a lifetime warranty on equal2new® certified pre-owned equipment). This warranty can provide ample coverage for less urgent requirements. In situations where more insurance is necessary, a third-party maintenance plan can allow you to choose a quicker turnaround time for your replacements (See more: CXtec’s RapidCare® program provides NBD advance replacement). Then when you need immediate replacement, purchasing pre-owned hardware is a perfect solution. It allows you to incorporate hot swappable spares at a big discount off list price.
Understanding the concept of a hybrid support solution allows you to choose which options will provide the best coverage for your technology infrastructure, while still meeting that tight OPEX budget. Instead of considering going without support, know the options at your disposal. There’s no need to take on extra risk because you don’t feel you can deliver a solution that fits into your OPEX budget.
A hybrid solution will allow you to find the ideal combination that provides the coverage you need at the price that works best for you. And that would be saving the day at your organization, just like The Avengers!
To learn more about the definition of third-party maintenance and hybrid support, watch our informative podcast Third-Party Maintenance and the Value of a Hybrid Support Solution.
You can also view chapters of the podcast at the links below:
- Hybrid Support Options - 2:42
- The Advantages of Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) - 3:40
- The Benefits of Asset Sweating - Extending Useful Life - 2:08
- Hybrid Support Considerations - 2:21
- Simplifying the Hardware Support Model - 2:36
- Hybrid Support Case Studies - 3:04
- Three Key Components of Hybrid Support - 2:08
Interested in delving even further into the concepts of hybrid support and TPM? Download your free guide, The Value of a Hybrid Support Strategy, here.
- What is third-party maintenance? - Find out the definition of third-party maintenance.
- 5 Advantages of Using Third-Party Maintenance Instead of OEM Services - Learn the benefits of TPM over OEM here.
- How much could a hybrid maintenance solution save you? - Learn more here.
- How to avoid spending too much on hardware maintenance - Stop spending so much! Learn a better way here.
- Cisco SMARTnet alternative - Yes, there are alternatives to OEM support. Find out more about it here.
- A look at alternatives to Cisco SMARTnet - Understand the pros and cons between Cisco and the alternatives. Click here.
- Three quotes that prove Mr. Spock would love CXtec's RapidCare - Yes, even Spock knows third-party maintenance is just plain logical. Read his quotes here.