By Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

Assuming you’ve already read Gartner’s report that 71% of the largest companies are now using independent (aka Third-Party Maintenance) support to effectively control OpEx, you may not have heard or read (from the same Gartner publication) that:

“70% of F100 companies purchased secondary hardware in 2016 | 57% of F500 companies purchased secondary hardware in 2016”

Gartner [ID G00327730]

As the research suggests, secondary hardware is a viable method of staving off an expensive OEM-driven tech refresh and controlling CapEx. We agree. In addition, the introduction of secondary hardware as an option, along with independent hardware support, is an incredible way of building negotiation leverage with your OEM. Building leverage is key to great negotiation.

Although these trends are headed in the right direction, in our opinion, there’s an element of the purchase process that seems as though part of the boat has been missed. There are still many companies that treat the hardware purchase (CapEx) independently of the hardware support purchase (OpEx). This is really quite odd to us! And it’s odd because you’re likely paying far more than is necessary.

When working with the OEM, don’t you insist on a “bundled” program when purchasing new hardware? Why not also do this for secondary hardware? It is our experience that if you are going to choose secondary hardware, that you should always insist that it be done as a “bundled” package to get the best pricing.

While there are hundreds of hardware resellers out there in a very commoditized industry, few of them also offer hardware maintenance, directly. Additionally, the reseller has built an infrastructure to support hardware sales – not an infrastructure carefully designed to offer mission-critical maintenance, rooted in service quality.

Instead of seeking out the hardware reseller for your bundled purchase, we believe you should bring your requirements to the “pure-play TPMs (Third-Party Maintainers).” Almost all hardware maintainers are already buying back-up parts from these resellers and have incredible negotiating leverage to get the best hardware pricing. Ask the TPM to be accountable for a bundled purchase and get ready to be amazed by the savings.

You can trust that the pure-play TPM has built an infrastructure to provide remarkable hardware support. But, the TPM that also directly sells secondary hardware has intentionally eliminated that indirect purchasing leverage that provides you the greatest pricing.

So, even though several independent hardware maintainers do not directly offer secondary hardware, it is your best choice to reach them for a bundled program and permit them to negotiate the hardware acquisition for you. Even more, the maintenance agreement becomes your warranty – a single warranty, one that puts the burden on the maintenance company and no responsibility on your company to battle a hardware reseller.

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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