Third-party maintenance: How can it help your business?

Constant hardware refreshes can incur hefty costs on a business. To avoid the costs of unnecessary hardware refreshes, businesses have benefited greatly from switching to third-party maintenance (TPM) for the year-on-year management of aging IT hardware, which has helped them save up to 60% off of OEM support costs.1 For those unfamiliar with TPM, let's address the most frequently asked questions about TPM to better illustrate the benefits of this robust solution.

How does my business lower costs as equipment ages?

OEM maintenance tends to be more expensive later in the hardware lifecycle, particularly after the original warranty has expired. The back loaded costs present a challenge for businesses trying to protect their IT equipment long term. When IT equipment hits the post-warranty stage, it is simply not cost-efficient for businesses to be paying a premium for OEM maintenance, considering the mileage and net value (after depreciation) of their IT equipment.

As hardware ages, the OEM is also likely to drop support altogether, which can be problematic if the equipment is a critical asset in your IT infrastructure. According to Gartner, hardware such as network equipment has historically had an MTBF (mean time before failure) of around 100,000 hours or 11 years.2 With planned obsolescence and quicker refresh cycles, OEM support for products has been drastically cut down to around 3-5 years. This lengthy gap between the OEM support period and the equipment's functional lifespan puts pressure on businesses to abandon functional hardware and jump the gun on a refresh, wasting valuable assets and money.

Axiom Maintenance Services (AMS) is Axiom's TPM solution, designed specifically to address this type of dilemma. AMS keeps maintenance costs affordable and provides product support deep into the product lifecycle. AMS enables businesses to upgrade equipment at their own discretion and in line with their budget needs. AMS also offers the ability to replace defective parts on demand, whether it's network, server or storage equipment from Cisco, HPE, Dell, or any of the major OEMs, with support for laptops and desktops as well.

Does TPM provide the same level of service across the board?

TPM is not a one-size-fits-all offering, much like how no two businesses are run the exact same way. AMS offers different service level tiers which cater to specific business needs and provide businesses with options to choose from. If your business runs operations around-the-clock, then a 24x7x4 (24 hours x 7 days x 4-hour response) service tier is ideal for helping your business minimize server downtime. For others, an 8x5xNBD (8 hours x 5 days x next business day response) service tier would suffice.

Not every business works best with a full TPM approach. In some cases, a hybrid approach can serve businesses better. A hybrid approach allows businesses to decide which equipment is better off under an OEM contract, which equipment would benefit from TPM contracts and where spares would be needed. Hybrid approaches have been gaining popularity over the years as well.3 AMS also offers a customizable service tier that allows businesses to pick and choose the types of service needed on a day-to-day basis.

What's the typical response time for TPM?

While some OEMs guarantee a response time as short as four hours, AMS responds from the service portal and starts the communication process within 30 minutes of a service request. OEMs will generally start working the call onsite whereas the experienced technicians of AMS take into account the type of hardware, current environment and history of the IT equipment before sending a tech onsite, should the need arise.

Axiom has a fully developed logistics solution with stock houses positioned in key locations across North America. With this extended coverage and closer proximity to your business, AMS can deliver spare parts and upgrades to on-site locations in a timely manner, if any replacement parts are needed.

Does TPM include support for both software and firmware?

TPM maintenance is focused on hardware, because IT equipment is more vulnerable to hardware failure as it ages. More often than not, software and firmware patches are released in the earlier stages of the product lifecycle as the OEM rolls out patches to iron out some of the initial software related issues. This means a majority of the software and firmware updates will be released when the product is still covered by the original OEM warranty. Even in the case that software and updates are needed post-warranty, software and firmware updates are often accessible without an OEM maintenance contract. AMS can also help your business obtain the necessary updates if needed.

How does my business track maintenance requests and contracts?

Contract management can be a headache for businesses without the use of a specialized contract management tool. AMS features Cover3IT, a cloud-based contract management platform that allows users to keep track of their collection of OEM and TPM contracts/assets on a centralized interface. Cover3IT digitalizes the contract management process and uses an in-portal ticketing system so that users can submit tickets anytime, anywhere. It also consolidates all contract related information into a single contract platform tool for the user's convenience.

What can I expect from Axiom Maintenance Services?

For over 25 years, Axiom has been a leading hardware solutions provider with a proven track record of helping businesses build out IT infrastructures. With a strong understanding of IT hardware, Axiom can help bolster the longevity and performance of your IT infrastructure with our TPM offering, Axiom Maintenance Services (AMS). Keep your IT infrastructures up and running at affordable costs with AMS. To learn more about AMS, please visit our website for more details.

References
1 "Competitive Landscape: Leveraging Third-Party Maintenance Providers for Data Center and Network Maintenance Cost Optimization, North America," Gartner, accessed April 15th, 2021, https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3256617/competitive-landscape-leveraging-third-party-maintenance
References
2 "Know When It's Time to Replace Enterprise Network Equipment," Gartner, accessed April 15th, 2021, https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/2123115/know-when-it-s-time-to-replace-enterprise-network-equipm
References
3 "Competitive Landscape: Leveraging Third-Party Maintenance Providers for Data Center and Network Maintenance Cost Optimization, North America," Gartner, accessed April 15th, 2021, https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3256617/competitive-landscape-leveraging-third-party-maintenance

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