7 minute readWhat is Third Party Maintenance?

When the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) gives you a hardware and maintenance support plan that doesn’t fit your timeline or budget it can be a bit frustrating. Especially if they are pushing you to refresh your hardware, when your equipment seems to be running perfectly fine, it can feel like you have limited options.

There has to be a better way to get what you need, exactly when you need it, right?

We think so too. 

Third Party Maintenance IT Engineers

This is where third-party maintenance comes in.

Third-party maintenance is essentially an alternative to OEM support. This support is offered for your server, storage, and networking hardware. 

The best aspect of using third-party maintenance (TPM) providers, is that it gives you more flexibility than the OEM. Instead of being told what to do, and when to do it, you have the freedom to choose. This means you decide what terms, pricing and coverage works best for you, rather than what works best for the OEM.

When to choose third-party maintenance

When your data center hardware is EOL or EOSL this is the best time to consider TPM. When your OEM announces EOL or EOSL, you will most likely need extended coverage, or you might simply want to keep your data center stable. Instead of feeling forced to refresh all your equipment, third-party maintenance offers you more options. 

It is pretty obvious that options are good, and it’s even better to have more than one solution to choose from. The difficulty is, when you decide you might be interested in choosing TPM, and start taking a look at what TPM vendors are offering, there’s A LOT of information to look at. 

What do all TPM providers offer?

Typically all third-party maintenance providers seem to be offering the same thing, they will help you:

  • Save 50-70% on hardware maintenance compared to the OEM
  • Offer multi-vendor hardware support under one contract
  • Flexible, custom SLAs 
  • Global support delivery
  • Expert engineers
  • Quick response times 

The problem is that all TPM providers promise to help you save. That promise includes saving you time, money, and peace of mind. 

With the number of options available, and if all of them are offering the same thing, how do you choose a provider? 

Finding a TPM provider

One way to begin finding a TPM provider would be you could start calling, emailing, or chatting with a website bot. If you do this, you will need to mentally prepare yourself for the flood of follow-ups and sales pitches, another option is you can pass it to the new sysadmin and hope that delegating pays off.

If you are looking to do a bit of research yourself on different TPM providers, you know that you need to choose someone you can trust. In order to pick a provider, there are a few things you can look out for.

Make sure they are global

Your TPM provider should offer global delivery and support. This means that whether you have operations in the United States or all around the world, you want your TPM provider to be able to work with all of your locations.

Global Coverage

Your provider should have FSLs (Forward Stocking Locations) as well as sparing depots which will help you to access support whenever you need it, at any time of day. Additionally, if your business requires service in another language other than English, your TPM should provide this as well. 

Check your providers sparing method

The method by which your provider practices sparing is very important. You should ensure that all hardware parts under contract are tested and spared at a location close enough to meet your service level agreement (SLA). 

When interview providers, they should be able to explain their sparing process down to every detail. You should know what parts they own, which parts have been tested, and how fast it can be deployed. 

Be sure that they carry certifications

One way to differentiate between good and great TPM providers is with industry-recognized certifications. Certifications will help you to be sure that your provider adheres to quality and security standards. Certifications to look out for include:

  • C-TPAT: This certification is led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This focuses on improving global supply chain security.
  • ISO 9001:2015: This certification is given to those who comply with a comprehensive quality management system (QMS). It requires robust controls for organizations involved in telecommunications. The International Standards Organization hands out these certifications, and only a small level of equipment providers achieve this level of quality control.
  • ISO 27001:2013: This is a very well recognized certification, and is considered very prestigious. Organizations with this certification are considered fully ISMS compliant. If a company holds this certification you will know they are in line with the latest industry standards and best practices.
  • R2 Responsible Recycling: This certification provides a common set of processes, as well as safety measures, and documentation requirements for businesses that repair and recycle electronics. It ensures that your products are being handled environmentally responsibly.

Confirm you will have access to high-level engineers

With any TPM, you should confirm that you are given access to great engineers that are able to diagnose any possible problems and resolve issues immediately. 

There is no reason you should need to speak with four different operators in order to receive a proper answer to your question. This means that you should be directed immediately to the right department, and correct engineer, to help you with your issue. 

24/7, 365

You should be picking a TPM that offers great customer service and technical support every day of the year, and 24 hours per day. Regardless of where your business is placed in the world, your TPM should offer service centers around the globe, to help you at any hour. 

Looking for an easier method?

If you are looking for an easier option you check out this comprehensive resource: What is Third-Party Maintenance? The Complete Guide. In this guide, you will get the answers to the questions you really need, in order to make the right decision. 

Want to learn more about Third-Party Maintenance? 

If you have any questions or inquiries regarding TPM, We’re here to help. 

Connect with a Reliant expert today, discuss your environment, and discover your options to save with third-party maintenance.