IT Vendors Say That OEM Maintenance is Necessary to Ensure Full Support…Is this True?

Will Working with a TPM Like Smart 3rd Party Damage My Relationship with the OEMs?

Scare tactics continue as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) still beat the drum that it’s risky to outsource your maintenance to Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) suppliers. They may even give the illusion of restricted access to parts or skilled field engineers (FEs).

The rapid growth of the TPM industry with major players offering across-the-globe services for most hardware is evidence of the success of TPMs. And there’s a continuing realization that end-users are much more sophisticated in buying maintenance and support using a combination of OEM, TPM, and in-house services.

Here we’ll attack head-on the significant concerns and how companies like Smart 3rd Party can put you in the driver’s seat with your infrastructure maintenance and growth strategy.

The First Goal Is to Put the End-User in Control

The best way to make this happen is to make sure the OEM is not calling the shots. Now, they’ll make it seem like that’s the only option, but if you bring in a good TPM at an early stage, they can help you set up an IT Asset Management System that puts all your assets under one system. Both new technology and legacy systems that may be 5 to 10 years old can be managed together so that the maximum use is made of each IT dollar.

You’ll have one place to monitor warranties. Very likely, in the early life of enterprise hardware, you will want to preserve your good relationship with the OEM and look to them for warranty and some post-warranty support. But you will have a picture of when that support can transition, either to the TPM or your staff. With someone like Smart 3rd Party, you will find that sweet spot that minimizes both risks and costs.

This type of system is very doable, and we would be happy to show you how our proprietary ITAM System, the Smart View Portal, can work for you.

The Smartest Asset Maintenance Program is the Hybrid Approach

With our partners, VARs, and brokers, we’ve worked for many years to develop an approach like the following, which evolves as your assets age:

This approach has been dubbed “The Hybrid Method,” and it’s a way of using the right blend of OEM, TPM, in-house personnel, and spares to manage the overall IT infrastructure. With technology continuing to change so rapidly and the epitome of global economic/political upheaval, it’s essential to have the right partners who can be nimble and respond to what comes next.

Well-known industry analyst, Gartner, has authored many studies on TPM and the latest spoke in-depth about this hybrid approach. Lead analyst Christine Tenneson had this to say:

“For those looking to engage with TPMs, the following steps are recommended:

● Develop a hybrid strategy. Develop a broad, optimized hybrid maintenance strategy that combines secondary hardware, OEM maintenance, OEM-independent TPM, and managed spares.

● Research, research, research. Ask about the satisfaction of customers of a similar size, in-country capabilities, financial stability, and ownership of the TPM, and on what technologies the TPM leverages in-house capabilities for L3/backline support versus leverages partners.

● Ask the TPM to perform a maintenance optimization assessment. Leverage TPMs that have built automated analysis tools that arm SPVM professionals with all the information they need to make recommendations about OEM support versus TPM support and critical information about software update entitlement and EOSL.

● Educate your organization about OEM policies for software licensing and updates. This is the most common area in which you’ll get questions from IT and other business leaders. Depending on the OEM and the device, OEM policies limiting access to firmware/microcode or forbidding the transferability of an OS on hardware exist. Some OEMs offer software-only support, which is for purchase separately.

● Beware of the risk of audits. Be aware that perceived violations of software policies may trigger an audit.

● Secure relevant references from TPMs. Speak with customers that leverage the TPM provider for the same OEM’s equipment supported in the same geographical region and on a similar scale. Vertical-specific matches are a plus.

● Start small. Often, customers “pilot” a TPM by using it for just one OEM’s post-warranty equipment or just in certain locations. Once a relationship is established, Gartner has seen that customers typically will evaluate moving other OEM’s equipment or other locations to the TPM. Or the customer will move other equipment to another TPM — for example, the customer starts with network devices at a network-focused TPM and then will evaluate moving storage to a storage-niche TPM provider.”

Christine acknowledged the approach we at Smart 3rd Party have been recommending for years, and she recognized us as a “Pure Play TPM,” meaning we don’t sell hardware to end-users; our focus is delivering the best TPM service.

What About Rapid Access to Replacement Parts and Certified Field Engineers for Our Mission Critical Infrastructure?

Most end-users don’t appreciate the interesting secret that no one OEM, TPM, or reseller has access to all the spares and replacement parts that enterprise hardware requires. Over time a hidden “Ecosystem” of parts and equipment has developed across the globe. There are regional stocking locations that the OEMs, TPMs and VARs know about and access daily to deliver infrastructure maintenance.

You can be sure that a good TPM will tap into this ecosystem and even create Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that will guarantee access to parts in the required timeframe that minimize your risk. As a global TPM, at Smart 3rd Party, we stake our reputation on delivering on time across the globe, and you can count on us working with you to plan your SLAs to keep you in business.

The same holds true for Field Engineers (FEs). Again, OEMs will give the illusion that only they have the FEs to respond to breakdowns. That’s simply not the case as many times, the OEMs are using the same network of FEs that are stationed across the globe to respond virtually and/or make field service calls. At Smart 3rd Party, we manage each account and SLA in conjunction with our partners and end-users to ensure we know when and how we can have the right FEs to respond to your needs.

Summary of Takeaways:


  • You can control your IT Maintenance plan and still maintain your relationship with OEMs by working with TPMs like Smart 3rd Party
  • The Best approach is the Hybrid Strategy which Gartner endorses.
  • This Hybrid Plan is a lifetime approach to IT Asset Management with OEM support more in the early years and a move to total TPM in later years.
  • Through partner TPMs and VARs, you will have full access to the global ecosystem of parts and Field Engineers to plan for a risk-averse maintenance plan.



Hybrid Approach

S3P Ebook:”3rd Party Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide”

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