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Third-party maintenance providers: A win-win for everyone

Third Party Maintenance

Third-party maintenance (TPM) providers are growing more popular, even among the most skeptical of organizations. Regardless of their size, the industry they’re serving, or the amount of hardware and software they have deployed, organizations are growing increasingly aware of the importance of TPM providers in cutting costs, improving equipment efficiency, and the overall peace of mind they provide to IT and system managers.

While cost plays a major role, it’s far from being the only reason why companies of all shapes and sizes are moving away from original equipment manufacturers (OEM) as sole providers of maintenance services for their gear.

Read on below to learn more about the reasons behind the rising popularity of TPM firms, and how OEMs fit this newly painted picture.

Renewal costs and fearmongering

We’re not saying this is the scenario with all OEMs, but for many - their number one goal is to sell you new gear. They’ll offer various incentives to get there, one of many being an offer of new gear, plus three years of maintenance included, for the price of a maintenance renewal quote for three-year-old hardware.

Many IT managers fall for this trap. After all, why wouldn’t they buy new gear, and get three years’ worth of maintenance, for the cost of just servicing their existing gear for the next 36 months?

Because this is a fear tactic, and their businesses would probably be able to make TONS of savings at this point. The hardware they use is probably in great shape and would be able to properly work for a number of years. With a TPM, the cost of maintenance renewals could be reduced by anywhere between 40% and 70%, which translates to millions of dollars for large organizations and enterprises. 

You must be wondering, if it’s *that* cheap, it’s probably not good, right? And if it’s not good, it could hurt the hardware, consequently hurting the entire business, right? That would be extremely bad for the organization and its bottom line, right? Wrong!

A quality third-party maintenance provider employs certified engineers, who are trained exclusively for the hardware the client is using, so they can be assured the engineers know their craft. What’s more, TPMs will usually have more than one reference IT managers can speak to, which will confirm the quality of their work. 

No two TPMs are made equal

If that’s the case, and if all TPMs are able to provide similar services, then businesses have no need for OEMs in that respect? That’s not quite right, either. No two third-party maintenance providers are created equal, and it’s important for every organization to find one that perfectly fits its needs and wants. 

What’s particularly important is for the client business to have a call-in number for OS support and troubleshooting. While most TPMs can fix broken gear, they’re lacking when it comes to high-level OS support. For example, if a company’s problem is something more complex than a fried chip, or a failed storage device, they should be able to talk to a specialist at the OS level.

Rendering OEMs irrelevant

The lesson here is not to ditch the OEMs altogether. There are still scenarios in which their support is much needed. For example, some jurisdictions require companies to always have the latest software installed on all of their devices. These are in the minority, however.

If you’re wondering whether or not you need continuous access to software and firmware updates, consider the following options:

  • Download the latest updates right before your OEM maintenance plan comes up, but install them at your own convenience.
  • When considering a TPM, think long-term. If your environment hosts critical applications that need to be updated almost constantly, an OEM would probably be a better fit. However, if your environment works on stable firmware releases, if it’s relatively static, if it’s recycled for a non-production role, or if it’s being replaced soon, a TPM would fit nicely. 

Pro tip: If you have gear that’s up for replacement, a TPM is your best friend. OEMs often require businesses to pay for a year of maintenance in advance, and if some of your gear is up for replacement in, say, eight months, it would probably make more sense to reach out to a third-party maintenance provider.