How to pick a third-party maintenance provider

At some point, any computer system will fail, often because of ineffective maintenance or malfunction. So, to minimize the impact of downtime, administrators must implement comprehensive support that ensures solutions are promptly available, proactive, and effective in solving any problems that might arise.

Business owners, systems administrators, or data center managers are responsible for procuring cost-effective hardware support services that involve professional technical support, proactive hardware maintenance, and much more.

Usually, after the equipment warranties expire, maintenance support can be continued through your OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) in the form of long-term maintenance contracts.

Or, the OEM may offer upgrades to your aging system.

However, highly capable and experienced third-party maintenance providers have evolved that tailor their services to provide the identical functions of the OEM’s maintenance programs but at a lower cost.

What Does a Third-Party Maintenance Provider Do?

Qualified third-party maintenance (TPM) providers offer support services that include:

  • Ongoing maintenance support
  • Server replacement or repair
  • Network support
  • Data-center hardware
  • Immediate on-site, online, or by-phone engineering assistance
  • Remote monitoring
  • Data storage solutions
  • Extended warranty service options
  • Maintenance coverage for all equipment, even from multiple OEMs

In most instances, a third-party maintenance providers are more flexible and responsive than the OEM representatives.

What Are Your Options When Your Equipment Warranty Runs Out?

Suppose the warranty on your equipment will be expiring soon. You must commit to some viable option since continuing without a maintenance contract is risky and expensive.

Until now, your systems have worked smoothly with the support of warranty-assured maintenance in place.

So, before your warranty expires, you have three choices:

  • Sign an extended maintenance contract with the original manufacturer
  • Consider an expensive upgrade or replacement of your system
  • Identify a qualified third-party maintenance contractor (TPM)

In the first instance, your OEM would like you to know that they are the only professionals with the knowledge and equipment to maintain and extend the working life of your system.

If your system is humming along with no issues and has been properly maintained from the beginning, replacing or upgrading the system is unnecessary.

The third option of selecting a qualified third-party maintenance provider has become the best solution for many companies. Certified and professional, these companies’ professionals perform all the functions of an OEM but at a lower cost. And your third-party maintenance company will be more focused on your company’s needs.

What Do I Look for in a 3rd Party Maintenance Provider?

As with any industry, competitors differ in their strengths and weaknesses. While the total cost of support is a decided advantage with TPM companies over OEMs, expenses should not be your sole criteria for selection.

Investigate the company’s ability to serve in four different areas. These are:

  • Certifications and Qualifications

Most importantly, are the company’s professionals sufficiently experienced and capable of maintaining all the equipment you use? Third-party maintenance companies hire and train technicians to work on a wide range of product brands and types. By contrast, OEM personnel are typically experienced in maintaining their company’s products, but not necessarily others.

Checking with some of the candidate TPM’s other clients, notably ones that are the same size with a similar mix of equipment, can help you decide. High grades for service, responsiveness, and professionalism are the performance standards you should be seeking.

  • Focused Support

Will the TPM company make your business a high priority?

Combining support for all equipment with a single company can eliminate confusion and potential conflict about who is responsible. Does the company have expert staff available to provide maintenance and technical support for all of your equipment?

How important will your business be? A regionally-based TCM is likely more capable of immediate response to your issues that a global OEM. In an emergency, personalized attention can be a substantial benefit.

  • Availability

Breakdowns and interruptions in information systems can be devastating to a company. A crucial question to ask all your TPM candidates pertains to lead-time for replacement parts. In most cases, with expedited freight and overnight shipping, replacement parts can be on hand as quickly as they would for the OEM’s technician.

Consider developing some hypothetical emergencies for the candidate to explain how and how quickly they might solve the problem. Can they provide an interim back-up solution?

  • Lower Cost

Whether maintaining your principal computer or a whole range of diverse elements, a competent TPM company can offer more for less cost.Remember, the principal function of an OEM is to sell their equipment. By contrast, the primary purpose of a TPM is to support and maintain equipment, focusing only on the system needs of their clients. As a result, TPMs tend to be leaner, scaled, and tailored to the demands of their clientele.