Stone Group’s Paul Flack explains how to reduce maintenance costs without sacrificing support quality
How much are you spending to support all the equipment in your company? Depending on your company size, IT hardware support costs can potentially consume up to two-thirds of the IT budget. So how can you drastically reduce the costs of maintaining your hardware without sacrificing the quality of support you receive?
1. Use flexible support contract offerings
Customise a support solution to fit your needs
Choose a support provider that offers coterminous maintenance agreements to have all your support contracts renew at the same time. This saves time and money by reducing administrative hassles for your team, and redirecting that effort in more productive ways.
Every business is unique; they have individual needs and priorities, and their hardware is not any different. That is why IT support is not a ‘one size fits all’ scenario – it needs to be tailored to suit each company’s unique requirements. Third-party support can provide valuable customisation by allowing you to only pay for the services your equipment actually requires, without forcing you into a service-level agreement (SLA) for your hardware that you do not really need. Not all organisations need level-one response for every piece of equipment, so flexible SLAs enable you to customise the level of support for each piece of equipment as needed. For instance, if some parts need four-hour-on-site response and less critical equipment only needs next-business-day parts, you can tailor a support solution specific to your environment. Additionally, third-party support can give you the ability to change or modify the specifics on your service agreement at any time.
So, if you have equipment that has lapsed in maintenance coverage, you can add it to your maintenance service agreement without having to worry about potential recertification fees to put that equipment back onto support.
2. Conduct an equipment audit before purchasing or renewing a support contract
Do not leave money on the table
Keeping accurate and up-to-date information about your assets and system configurations can help ensure that you receive support pricing quoted specifically for your equipment. Support quotes typically take multiple factors into account other than SLAs, including the age and type of the hardware, the physical location of the hardware and the configuration. If you do not have a full understanding of the equipment you have, you may be overpaying for support you do not need on equipment you no longer use.
‘Third-party support can provide valuable customisation by allowing you to only pay for the services your equipment actually requires.’
Prior to renewing your maintenance agreement, conduct an internal audit of your equipment. This will help ensure that you are not renewing support services on equipment that is no longer active. Having accurate information about your hardware will allow you to get the quote you need the first time around.
3. Extend the life of your hardware until you are ready to upgrade
Take back control of when and what to upgrade
When you purchase storage, server, or networking equipment brand new from the an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), that hardware comes with a warranty for a certain period of time. After the warranty expires, the OEM will typically spike the cost to support the post-warranty equipment, in an effort designed to push you to upgrade your hardware to the newest generation of product.
No matter what service-level agreement you have for parts replacement, ask your support provider about the testing process for spares, so you can feel confident that the replacement part has been tested and certified to work when you need it.
However, the hardware could still be valuable in your organisation for several more years before you may decide to upgrade or replace it. One way to save money on hardware support is by using a third-party maintenance vendor to extend the life of your equipment. Third-party support protects your equipment after the OEM warranty has expired at a fraction of the OEM maintenance quote – typically 30-70% less. Not only will you be saving money on the support contract, but you also will not have to upgrade and replace your hardware as often, allowing you to retain the control of choosing what to upgrade and when, as it fits your organisation’s budget and needs.
4. Match the SLA to the equipment’s needs
Consider next-business-day parts replacement for less critical equipment
Unless all of your equipment is mission-critical, it is likely that you do not need to have same-day service for parts replacement for that equipment. Mismatching SLAs to the equipment’s needs is a common way to overspend on your hardware support. Service-level disparities on your equipment may be caused by a provider requiring the same SLA for all equipment in your environment, or may be another result of poor asset management and incomplete decommissioning of equipment. Your organisation may require the most comprehensive SLA on all your hardware, but then again, it may not, so you should try to match the SLA with equipment type and use to avoid overspending. While it may seem safer to put every piece of equipment under a high SLA, at a certain point, over-provisioning that level of support will become wasteful and expensive. By adjusting your maintenance service agreements to next-business-day parts replacement for equipment that is not mission-critical, you can end up saving a considerable amount of money in support costs.
Want to start saving?
These money-saving tactics can be used to trim the IT maintenance budget without having to sacrifice the level of care you need for your hardware. Third-party support can maintain your equipment at a cost up to 70% off original equipment manufacturer support prices.
The next step: choosing a trusted third-party provider for your IT support
As third-party support can offer such cost-effective benefits without negating quality, the next step for organisations is deciding on a supplier that you can rely on. Stone Group has nearly three decades’ experience of supporting technology for thousands of organisations in a variety of industries and thus we have firmed our position as one of the UK’s leading IT providers. We understand that every business has diversity in their needs and priorities, and that is why we put you first; you provide the vision and we help you achieve it.
Stone Managed Support Services
To meet our customers ever-changing IT environments, we provide tailored Stone Support packages to ensure that investments made in IT enables efficient and effective services to be delivered to your users. Our flexible approach to support allows you mix-and-match SLAs across all your technologies, to create a bespoke package to your needs.
Our support processes are based on the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) – adapted to the specific needs of remote diagnosis and maintained by subject-matter experts from our network operations centre. This, underpinned by robust processes and dedicated Stone staff ensures that our customers receive a highly responsive support service over the period of their contract with Stone.
At the heart of all of our managed services is a dedicated ITIL-compliant service desk, a central place for all call logging and remote support activity. The service makes the most of a broad range of enterprise-level remote support tools, while providing a familiar level of support from an on-site team. By choosing a managed service you will benefit from:
- A dedicated support portal providing a single point of contact between the customer and Stone, where you can log incidents, obtain help and request change.
- A comprehensive software and hardware support package, providing you with support on your critical infrastructure and devices through our dedicated support desk. Supporting globally recognised vendors, ‘Stone Assured’ provides a competitive alternative to traditional vendor support packages.
- A specialist systems support team, experienced in supporting complex IT environments, based in our Network Operations Centre in Stafford. Our team will deliver practical maintenance and automated service restoration.
- Network monitoring and preventative maintenance through the systems support team. A named consultant will proactively monitor, review and document your IT infrastructure to ensure the integrity, security and operational effectiveness of your service.
- Service management, including service delivery manager visits, service-level monitoring and reporting, service review meetings, financial management, ICT service continuity management and continuous service improvements.
- Commercial and customer management, including assistance for all commercial and contractual elements of the project, and a Stone account management team for ongoing for ICT visioning and strategy.
Stone Implementation Services
Stone specialises in the delivery of a wide range of professional projects, from wired and wireless networking, mission-critical server and storage infrastructure, through to desktop client and mobile device deployment. As a company set up for working with you on all aspects – from consultancy and design, through to implementation and support – we will provide you with total peace of mind when deploying and supporting your critical services.
‘Our experience means we have developed a variety of tried-and-tested implementation strategies.’
Our experience means we have developed a variety of tried-and-tested implementation strategies to ensure that we fully deliver on all customer projects and priorities. And such, our commitment to delivering quality services tailored to your organisation’s individual needs, teamed with our customer-first ethos, is embodied through all of the services we can provide, including:
- Solutions architects – our subject-matter experts take responsibility for the design and implementation of complex IT solutions using our methodologies underpinned by our years of experience.
- Site surveys – Stone can undertake a variety of site surveys that provide different levels of accuracy for different points and purposes in a project.
- Project management – we offer full project-management services, to ensure a smooth and successful implementation, delivered on time using our accredited methods of practise.
- Deployment – each of our installations are based on an agreed scope of works that will be generated by the Stone solutions architect during the detailed design phase of the project. The aim of our design process is to provide you with a comprehensive, detailed design document that encompasses all aspects of the solution, matching your aspirations and requirements.
- Service management – we ensure your service will be continually monitored by a dedicated service delivery manager who will provide reports, key performance indicators and ensure we meet our SLA’s.
- Training – Stone can deliver detailed training for key staff in your technical team to ensure a complete knowledge transfer is carried out.
- Support – we provide a comprehensive support service to proactively monitor your network and to assist your technical team. Our support mechanisms encompass the methods of best practice and are available by phone, by email and online.
- Moves, adds and changes to your service – as your needs evolve, we can provide the ability to flex your provision to ensure that the service we deliver is optimised for your users.
The best step: choosing Stone as your organisation’s trusted third-party IT support provider
Choosing Stone means you will benefit from our extensive experience, our expertly trained support teams and technicians, and quality service, all while saving costs. Most importantly, by choosing Stone as your IT support provider, you can be guaranteed that you will receive a service completely bespoke to your organisation.