Janne Kokkaret, SSCS Service Delivery Manager, Nordic Countries

When I consider the top three most important elements of Service Quality (Technical Expertise, Communications & Tools, Parts & Logistics), I suspect that hardware support buyers most often feel their chosen vendors are under-delivering in Technical Expertise. And, when there is buyer’s remorse, that dissatisfaction is less about the onsite field engineers and more concern for the support network in place to help those onsite engineers.

Although it is important to have field technicians that are cross-platform and multi-OEM trained, I believe many independent hardware support providers have respectable onsite technicians. And, the techs from these independent providers do not have the shortcomings of the techs from the OEM. Instead, independent technicians are free thinking and holistic in their approach to troubleshooting. The OEM techs are constrained by protocol in 2018 and less permitted to think. In my opinion, I believe the best field engineers/technicians are working in this field of independent hardware support (also called Third Party Maintenance).

But, now let’s consider the technical teams that are supposed to be in place to support that onsite engineer. Not every independent support provider has Level III or Level IV experts available around the clock, or designed for a global client base. This is even true for several of the largest TPMs that have their senior-level engineers based in only one country. In these instances, your onsite engineer is supported by a back-up, who is usually not higher than Level II. That creates a level of risk that may not be acceptable to you. So, please be sure your vendor vetting questions cover important subjects, such as this.

It is possible that your hardware support provider (even OEMs will do this) has hired another company for backline support. Has your support provider been transparent about the partner’s existence? Are you familiar with the technical depth of that backline support provider? How does that backline support relationship prioritize the attention necessary for your account? Or, do they handle critical situations at their own accounts, first?

How do you choose a vendor to trust? I strongly agree with our other SSCS bloggers that the decision is weighted too heavily these days in “lowest price.” This is really short-sighted, yet too many in IT procurement seem to be disassociated with what are acceptable risk levels and incented too much by saving money.

If hardware support decision makers want to improve MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) and mitigate risk levels, you should be looking for vendors that are committed to obvious transparency, yet have also built the infrastructure of technical expertise necessary to meet your unique requirements. The best support providers, those least likely to cause buyer’s remorse, will be obviously transparent in their discussions with you.

Janne Kokkaret, SSCS Service Delivery Manager, Nordic Countries

Janne joined SSCS in 2014 as Service Delivery Manager for the Nordic region, but has 14 years of experience in IT support roles and support team management. His background includes EUC (End-User Compute) assets, as well as data center servers, storage and networking hardware support. In addition to his technical role, Janne also leads business development activities throughout his region, working with clients to meet the unique needs of each.

From his home near Helsinki, Janne enjoys spending time with his wife and children, any outdoor activities and is a member of a unique club of Tesla owners. This club meets regularly to test the limits of their Tesla, while proving to the world that performance is not sacrificed by choosing a Tesla automobile.

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