By Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

Data storage technology is just plain cool. And, the tech advancements in the last ten years has just made the world of storage technology even more cool. Both speed and capacity improvements are not only exciting but can deeply help business – like never before. These technologies allow one to dream of great possibilities and, potentially, deploy industry-changing ideas in their industry vertical.

Here’s where many companies are beginning to feel the rub: They want to invest in these new technologies, but feel deeply limited in their budget flexibility and simply do not have the executive buy-in to invest. “Budgets grew again this year by a few percentage points, but it would appear there is no way to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ so the new tech investment is possible.” It’s quite common to hear this lamented in discovery calls.

One of the most credible ways of raising lots of capital quickly is to take a “re-considered” approach to OpEx – specifically, hardware support budgets. More particularly, hardware support budgets for ANYTHING that is post warranty.

While trends within the storage sector are causing people to hold onto storage hardware for 5+ years (even 10 years, at times) due to stability and reliability, more storage assets than ever are post warranty. And, if something is post-warranty, why not consider alternative hardware support models other than what the OEM would lead you toward. Some of us refer to those strategies as the “OEM Refresh Treadmill” and that phrase likely resonates with your experience. Think it’s possible to build a better treadmill?

OEM Refresh Treadmill

Throughout the world, there is a rapidly growing independent support industry that has grown greatly in credibility over the last five years – even though several providers are more than 20 years old. For decades, this industry has been referred to as “Third-Party Maintenance (TPM).” Many of us in this industry really dislike that name because it does not directly address the real value propositions we offer to those who are more and more extending lifecycles of their SAN arrays, tape libraries, etc.

If you were to aggregate all your post warranty storage into one list, with annual OEM support costs itemized, this list would help you to garner support pricing from a few respected third party maintainers. On average, you’ll see aggregate annual support costs run 50-60% less than OEM pricing. Very old systems will see 70% savings because of OEM pricing models to fiscally force the tech refresh. But, even four-year-old storage assets will see significant cost reductions.

Over the years, we have witnessed hundreds/thousands of instances when a new client chose our company to support post warranty storage so they could drive savings necessary to conduct a capital expense for the latest awesome technology. It’s especially rewarding when the number of assets included permits the fiscal relief necessary to make the purchase – but far more savings than they expected, or even required.

In lieu of that OEM tech refresh treadmill that is hugely expensive, why not embrace a “TPM Treadmill” that allows you to buy the NEW cool stuff every few years. Quite frankly, once post-warranty is reached, the savings you’re seeking start to pile up exponentially. When “treadmills” were meant to be healthy, why not welcome a better model that directly serves your interests?

New to understanding the TPM industry? Here are four helpful white papers:

1.“Understand Why 71% of Fortune 100 Companies are Now Using Independent Hardware Support”
2. “Still Unfamiliar with the Benefits of Third-Party Hardware Maintenance?”
3. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Enterprise Trends in Hardware Lifecycle Extension Strategies”
4. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Financial Impacts from Hardware Support Strategy Remodeling”


Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

This year will be Mark’s 23rd year with SSCS Global IT Services. Beginning in sales, he was promoted to Vice President, Sales & Marketing, now responsible for all global sales activities, brand recognition, inbound/outbound marketing and primary messaging. In his previous employment in management with Ritz Carlton, Mark was highly influenced by their industry-leading customer service program, as influenced by the standards of the Malcolm Baldridge quality awards.

In his spare time, Mark is engaged is numerous activities with his daughter, plays the bass guitar and is a vocalist with a band and his church choir.

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