Alternative software and hardware support options are becoming more mainstream. If you haven’t considered this option, you could be missing out on substantial cost savings.
Third-party support is the typical term used for support provided by companies other than the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and publishers. The options range from hybrid offerings that combine support from OEMs and their certified partners, to independent third parties that are not certified partners and provide support services in direct competition to the OEMs/publishers.
The benefits are numerous with the most obvious being significant cost savings – often advertised (and realized) as half the cost of standard vendor-direct support. Third-party support providers can also give enterprises the ability to maintain fully functional technology assets that may no longer be supported by manufacturers or publishers, as well as the ability to avoid unwanted upgrades. Interestingly, third-party providers oftentimes offer improved support levels with senior engineers fielding tier 1 calls, and the best practice of healthy competition across your support contracts.
While hardware options are more prevalent than software, in general, there are certain attributes that make some IT departments more suitable candidates for alternative support options than others. These include:
- Static environments with minimal support issues and no imminent (or any) plans for upgrades
- Openness to pilots and an environment suitable for a POC
- Planned sunsetting of a system or hardware device that is 2 to 3 years down the road, and the replacement technology has not yet been identified
- Companies with clear mandates to reduce costs
Like any IT purchase or renewal, the first step in reducing support costs starts with knowing your options and evaluating which ones are suitable for your IT environment. More often than not, enterprises find that there is room in their IT operations for third-party support providers…and for the savings and improved service levels that ensue.