A recent statistic by Forrester suggested that on average 70% of a company’s IT budget is spent on maintenance. Because they are under constant pressure to contain costs, datacenter administrators must investigate whether or not it really pays off to pay a premium for OEM (original equipment manufacturer) maintenance support. In comparison to a third party service provider, the OEM price is often quite expensive, however OEM maintenance claims to offers the following benefits:

  • Factory trained, specialized technicians
  • Multiple levels of technical expertise to cover all service needs
  • Large warehouses of parts with immediate availability
  • Multiple levels of coverage

Although IT software and hardware are usually sold with a warranty, the warranty typically ranges from one to three years. If the product fails while under warranty, the vendor resolves the problem at no additional cost; but what happens if the failure occurs after the warranty has expired? If you call the vendor to repair the system, you have to pay for time and materials, sometimes travel time as well. It all adds up to a costly, unbudgeted expense. The solution to “after warranty care” is a maintenance contract. A contract provides you with an extended warranty for as long as it is in effect.

Take this scenario and multiply it by every different hardware and software vendor that you have purchased solutions from. For some organizations this will be in the hundreds. When there is a failure in your environment, the first order of business is pin pointing the malfunction to the specific piece of equipment or software. This will allow you to know which helpline to call.

The level of customer service and the standard protocol for initiating this service will be different for each vendor, so you won’t know what to expect each time, without doing a bit more research into your contract. In the urgent situation of equipment failure, you won’t have the luxury of spending 30 minutes investigating the T’s and C’s of a particular contract. Getting the correct issue identified, the correct vendor identified and the phone number in hand, will be the most important things to accomplish in an urgent situation.

Here are some other things to consider with OEM maintenance:

  • As the equipment gets older, the price goes up
  • Many use cookie-cutter SLAs
  • Less than desirable customer service has been reported
  • 40-70% more expensive than third party maintenance
  • Contract terms that benefit them—not you


Luckily, the manufacturers are not the only option when you are seeking a maintenance contract provider. Today’s business world is seeing the emergence of various third party providers of maintenance contracts. So the question is: Do you choose an OEM or a third party provider?

Multi vendor maintenance services provided by a third party are designed to make your life easier by providing the convenience of a one-stop-shop, improved standard service levels and the flexibility to customize terms and conditions as needed. What do we mean by this? The standard SLAs offered by third party organizations are many times more favorable than what the OEMs offer, plus you have the option of creating a customized SLA specific to your needs. If you need different SLAs for mission-critical equipment, just ask. If you need an engineer available on weekends, you can get that too. If you need an engineer working in your data center 24/7, that is an option as well.

Third party service providers are more likely to give you the one-on-one, personalized attention that you need. Your time is precious when something goes wrong in the data center. The right support, could have a huge impact on your business.

There are many advantages to using a third party maintenance provider:

Cost savings

third party maintenance services will save you 40-70% on your IT costs. You will pay the same price for the same level of service through the life of your equipment—even as it ages

Simplify your support strategy

Functioning as a single source for multivendor support, your staff can quickly get back to work on core projects

Avoiding downtime

With the OEM, you could wait almost four hours just for a technician to get back to you about your ticket. With third party services, you’ll likely speak to someone immediate, get a diagnoses, the required part on site, and the solution implemented within 3-4 hours.

Extend the life of your hardware equipment

Helping enable more predictable and consistent budgeting through better equipment lifecycle maintenance

Improve reliability

Relieving your staff of the day-to-day burden of IT management and allowing them to concentrate on critical business initiative

Enhance scalability

Providing more visibility into IT support costs and data, supporting more informed business decisions and investments

A maintenance contract is in place to ensure that your business does not experience loss of revenue because of downtime while waiting for parts and services. Maintenance services are designed to give you the peace of mind knowing that whatever happens with your hardware and software, repairs will being handled by expertly trained personnel in a timely manner.  From the above list, you can see that with a third party service provider, you gain value in every area of your maintenance plan. As a supplement, some providers offer contract management tools provide visibility, control and simplicity.

Contract Management from Flagship.

In addition to multivendor maintenance services, Flagship Solutions Group also offers a  Maintenance Contract Management (MCM) online tool. With this tool, you have a view of your company’s complete inventory of maintenance contracts, 24/7. This self-service offers simplified access, enabled electronic requests, easy views for billing and payment, avoids repetitive tasks and reduces errors.

The MCM Tool allows you to:

  • Have a single point of access to manage all maintenance requests – ONLINE
  • Facilitate easy communication and collaboration through a convenient web portal
  • Easily place or change requests about contract details
  • Have a repository with all the requests and their status
  • Have your installed machine inventory always up to date
  • Avoid situations where customer and OEM maintenance inventory views are different
  • Streamline your renewal process
  • Have your inventory database customizable according to your needs

Machine type, model and serial number are not always an effective search criteria.

You can also:

  • Identify machines using nicknames
  • Identify machines by location, Building or Room


You have multiple products in your data center, and when major downtime occurs, there is no guarantee that only one manufacturer’s machine is the culprit. Rather than dealing with multiple OEMs and referencing numerous contracts with different SLAs, consider a third party maintenance provider. When you sign one simple contract, your preferred vendor takes care of everything.

Flagship Solutions Group offers multi vendor maintenance and contract management support for all the major manufacturers, including: IBM, Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, Sun Oracle, and others. Imagine—one phone number, one call, one point of contact for every data center issue.

Schedule a consultation to learn more.

If you liked this blog, you might also like:  The “Ripple” Effect of Downtime

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