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Third-Party vs. OEM Network Maintenance | March 09th, 2017

Efficiency is everything in the IT world. From cost to labor to functionality, efficiency is the focus of businesses around the globe. As businesses adjust to the digital age, they expect efficiency among their IT professionals as well, which is one of the reasons — despite the skyrocketing workloads of IT professionals — IT departmental budgets only grew by $2,000 last year.

With such tight budgets, finding new ways to cut costs and improve efficiency is more important than ever. For many businesses, network support is one of the best places to start. Network maintenance and support costs take up to 70 percent of the average company’s IT budget, which is considerable given the costs of labor and equipment involved in IT. Most companies can reduce excess costs to their IT budget by finding a better source for their network upkeep.

Concerning network support, there are two options available to businesses today: support from your manufacturer or support from a third-party maintenance provider. It’s important to understand the differences between the two and what they mean for your business’ bottom line.

What Are the Differences Between Third-Party and OEM Network Maintenance?

Better known as OEMs, Original Equipment Manufacturers are the network equipment brands with which you’re familiar. From Cisco to Juniper to Alcatel-Lucent, OEMs often offer both equipment and support services for their users. One of these support services is network maintenance.

OEM-sourced network maintenance often appears to be the best option for IT professionals, and is marketed as such by the OEMs themselves. The most notable benefit for businesses using OEM support is the ability of the provider to ship spare parts from warehouses when IT equipment fails. Third-party providers often lack this option. With such detailed service and a deep understanding of the equipment, OEMs offer a viable support option for many businesses. It’s logical to think that OEM network maintenance providers must be the best maintenance resources for businesses, but they’re neither the best nor the only choices available.

OEM Network Maintenance services often come at reasonable prices immediately after you’ve first bought and set up your equipment. Some OEMs offer free support and setup services in the first few months after your purchase as a show of goodwill. After a few years, you may notice a sharp rise in your support bills. This isn’t a clerical error, and it’s likely part of your service contract. OEM support services do this intentionally.

The reasons for this price increase include the following:

  • Support Service Training: OEMs train their support staff to service any equipment currently in use. This means expanding their training with each new product line. The more equipment currently in use, the lengthier the training. This also means support staff takes longer to get from the interview to the phone line. By increasing the cost of supporting older models, OEMs encourage their users to update their systems. This makes it easier to phase out older models and omit them from their training programs. This is called the equipment’s End of Life, or EOL.
  • Bolster Sales of New Models: Increasing the pricing schedule of older models encourages their users to upgrade. This in itself is an attractive prospect for OEMs, as it increases the sale of new products and product lines. It’s also sensible from a business standpoint, as your current customer pool is your best source of new business. While good for the OEM, it’s inconvenient for users, incurring considerable costs either way.

Businesses using an OEM’s hardware and support service face a frustrating choice every time their OEM deems their hardware as outdated. They can either deal with increased service charges or switch their hardware out for the newer models. While the upgrade may seem the cheaper option in the long haul, hardware upgrades are extremely expensive in both the long and short term. Not only is there the immediate cost of the new hardware, but also the considerable labor needed to install the equipment and migrate data — plus the costs of potential data loss and corruption involved in the migration process.

Third-Party Network Maintenance is the alternative option to OEM network maintenance. While OEMs both manufacture and provide support for their hardware, third-party maintenance providers work primarily in support and resale services.

The lack of investment in hardware manufacturing is an important factor in distinguishing third-party service providers from OEM support services. The focus on affordable resale and maintenance services rather than hardware design and manufacturing means the incentive for these businesses is to provide the best service for the widest range of products, maintaining a wide range of OEMs and older product models. This is especially valuable, considering OEMs’ reluctance to service their older products.

What Are the Advantages of Third-Party Network Maintenance?

Third-party support providers are usually the most efficient maintenance service option for businesses of all types. A focus on service means your company benefits in many ways, including the following:

  • Cost Savings: Businesses of all sizes are constantly on the hunt for new ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. Switching from an OEM to a third-party network maintenance solution is one of the best ways to do that — but exactly how much do you save with third-party network maintenance? NetGuard alone offers savings from 50 percent to as much as 90 percent.

Third-party support services do this by customizing and streamlining your maintenance service plans. OEM support providers offer inflexible pricing schedules with hidden fees and seemingly random increases in price. This often results in a higher monthly bill for your company, no matter how minimal your service needs. On the other hand, third-party support providers offer transparent pricing schedules with more service options, reducing your bill while increasing the quality of your service.

  • Increased Efficiency and Flexibility: Most data centers use equipment from several OEMs. Usually, this is a result of cost, an OEM switch or simple IT staff preference. Whatever the reason, such a collage of equipment can pose an expensive problem when it comes to support. Using equipment from multiple manufacturers means you may end up talking to several OEM representatives every time there’s a problem you can’t pinpoint. Not only can this be frustrating for your IT staff, but it can also extend the length of your downtime. It’s also expensive for your business, resulting in massive support bills and lost business connections.

The solution for businesses in this position is a cross-vendor support service that offers basic support for a wide variety of OEMs. While some OEMs offer these kinds of support services, they run at a much higher rate than normal. For third-party providers, however, this kind of service is standard. Independent support companies are often certified at the same level as OEM support staff, and can troubleshoot a wider range of brands and equipment models. This way, you can deal with all of your network problems through a single point of contact.

  • Extended Equipment Lifespan: Most OEMs will advise you to replace your equipment before its EOL date. This is usually five to ten years after the release of the model. Once the EOL date has passed, the OEM will cut off their support for that hardware. However, the average functional lifespan of network hardware is often more than double what your OEM tells you, ranging from 18 to 33 years. Unfortunately, the lack of support from OEMs results in more than 85 percent of users prematurely tossing their old systems. To solve this dilemma, third-party providers offer support for older hardware up to 10 years after their EOL dates, effectively extending their lifespans and reducing replacement costs for their users.
  • Customizable Plans: Of all the problems with OEM service providers, the lack of flexibility is the most frustrating for businesses. OEM support services usually come at a single flat rate that covers all the OEMs’ basic support functions, most of which only apply to certain business types. As your equipment ages, this rate increases, as do any fees incurred for “special” support services. For most businesses, this means you end up paying extra for the services you need, while still paying a flat rate for services you never use. Third-party support service providers offer an alternative solution: customizable service plans. Instead of paying a flat rate for a fixed package of services, you can choose the specific services you know you’ll use. You pay for what you need — no more, no less.
  • Better Service: An incredible 81 percent of OEM users reported some level of dissatisfaction with their providers. Among the complaints filed was the claim that providers misrepresented the value of the services they provided. While OEM support providers often boast about the value of their services, their value is actually relatively low. Despite how much you’ll pay for an OEM service provider, the services covered in their flat rate are superficial, and any detailed troubleshooting or diagnostic services stay locked behind a steep paywall. When you choose a third-party service, you can expect professional-level support at a reasonable price.

These benefits have convinced many businesses to switch from OEM to third-party network maintenance. However, many companies still enjoy the benefits offered by OEM support services, particularly their ability to ship spare parts for failing equipment.

Instead of dedicating themselves to one option or the other, many companies choose a balance between the two types of network maintenance providers. These businesses usually seek basic support from a third-party provider, turning to an OEM when they have more specific needs.

A high-quality, third-party support service can help you to further minimize your OEM service needs. If that’s what you’re looking for, then Worldwide Services’ NetGuard Maintenance is what you need.

What Makes NetGuard Better than OEM Services?

When it comes to third-party providers, quality varies. Higher-end companies often mirror OEMs in their pricing schedules, while low-end providers offer a cheap option in both price and quality. It’s often tough to find a company that strikes a balance between quality and cost. NetGuard offers the best option in each category, offering functionality beyond that of most third-party support providers while keeping costs low.

Some of the most notable benefits of NetGuard over either OEM or other third-party service providers include:

  • Single Portal Service: Juggling multiple passwords for all the OEMs your company uses can be confusing. This is especially true if your company uses more than four OEMs. Netguard offers a simple solution — a single web portal that allows you access to all your maintenance agreements and plans, as well as past and future orders.
  • Vast Troubleshooting Capabilities: NetGuard supports over 200 past and present product lines from a wide range of manufacturers. From Cisco to Ciena to Oracle, our field-tested technicians know it all. With over 30 years combined experience in troubleshooting and managing major OEM brands, our team can handle anything.
  • Equipment Substitutions: Equipment fails, and when it does, so does your system. It can take days for replacement equipment to arrive, and every day you wait is another day your profits plummet. Be prepared for every situation with NetGuard’s Cloud-Sparing™ program. This program protects your critical systems from outages, arming you with ready-to-install spares. We’ll store this Worldwide Supply owned equipment on-site so you can deploy it immediately with the help of our 24-hour support line.
  • Impressive Response Time: Worldwide Services has service centers and warehouses around the world. Why? So we can see each one of our markets in person. As part of our service guarantee, we offer four-hour on-site service from our top-notch engineers and technical staff.

With all these incredible benefits, it’s no wonder Worldwide Services sports a customer satisfaction rating of 99.9 percent!

Learn More about NetGuard

Globally recognized as the premier networking equipment provider and partnered with over 14,000 businesses, Worldwide Services is a company that prides itself on its exceptional customer service. Regardless of the location or circumstance, we support each one of our customers with quality consulting and technical support services.

All our services keep up with the highest industry standards. We do it because, at Worldwide Services, we strive to offer our clients the best quality in the industry.

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CloudSparing™: Spare Parts Protection for Telecoms, Data Centers and Enterprises | January 13th, 2017

By: Worldwide Services

(A cost-effective solution to slash critical spares inventory overhead)

 

Worldwide Services is focused on satisfying our clients’ needs now–and down the line. We exceed expectations by solving problems before they happen. One of the most common risks for wireless and telecom operators is the ability to cost-effectively inventory spare parts.

An IT person’s worst nightmare can become a reality when a part or equipment fails, resulting in system-wide downtime. While waiting for the OEM to finally ship the part you need, profits are spiraling down the drain. But with Cloud-Sparing™, included in our exclusive NetGuard maintenance program at no additional charge, you’ll be protected with a cost-effective, stress-free solution which includes ready-to-install critical-need spares, if and when they are needed.

Exclusively for NetGuard third-party maintenance partners, Cloud-Sparing™ offers:

  • Worldwide Supply-owned equipment and spare parts inventoried at your site/s for immediate deployment.
  • Private and secure web portal and dedicated phone line for 24-hour delivery of spare parts orders.
  • 24/7/365 dedicated technical support provided by in-house, certified system engineers.

CloudSparing™ will immediately increase efficiency, slash inventory costs and diminish the chance of system downtime.

Why CloudSparing™ Will Save Time, Money and Outage Crises

For the majority of larger enterprises today, the networking team tells the purchasing manager (supply chain) how many parts they need, and the Purchasing team buys what they recommend. This method trades current OpEx $ for the comfort and safety of knowing a part is there when you need it.

But there is a flaw in this system:

Networking understandably wants to avoid any critical shortages, which could result in system downtime, so they will often “overbuy,” boosting inventory costs on a product that is not in use.

CloudSparing™ Protects IP’s, Data Centers, Utilities and Larger Enterprises from System Downtime

The added level of security Cloud Sparing™ offers is also a less expensive alternative to working with an OEM.  And the process is simple and direct:

Example: Steve needs 10 service routers on the shelf for next year, at a cost of $500/each. From experience, he usually requires about five routers a year; but increased volume is anticipated, and if he doesn’t build-in the request for multiple spares to this year’s budget, he may not be able to garner additional funding down the road. So to play it safe, he purchases 10 units at a total expenditure of $5,000.

Conversely, Joe talks to Worldwide Services and discovers CloudSparing™ is included in Worldwide Services third-party maintenance program, NetGuard.

Worldwide Services manages end-to-end (not just one OEM brand) network equipment maintenance for global, multi-site enterprises. Our system engineers and technicians have decades of on-the-ground experience and use this expertise to offset any potential system outages.

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Eliminating Spare Overbuys and the Platinum OEM Maintenance Stranglehold

IT professionals are quickly coming to the realization that the OEM’s mission is to optimize profits by securing overly stringent SLAs and inflating pricing for critical-need products. As a result, enterprises need to identify alternative sources who can provide the same (or better) products and services, at more realistic prices.

We welcome the opportunity to talk about your system needs and how we can improve the quality of your replacement products and maintenance service, at a cost far below what you are paying right now.

We’d like to learn more about your network equipment and maintenance protection needs. Then we’ll create a customized proposal to safeguard your system while keeping your budget in line. Contact us to learn more about Cloud-Sparing™ and NetGuard.

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NetGuard Maintenance: One contract, better coverage, less money | August 10th, 2016

When a publicly traded Telecom/Internet Service Provider (ISP) came to Worldwide Services asking if we could replace Cisco SmartNet with a more flexible, cost-effective equipment maintenance solution, the answer was easy—NetGuard Maintenance.

Developed in 2011 to help customers more efficiently support legacy routing and switching systems, NetGuard immediately slashed the ISP’s Cisco maintenance costs by 55 percent.

But the story isn’t over yet–

  • A year later, the ISP faced a similar problem with some HP and Dell servers. They came back to Worldwide Services again, and we promptly reduced their maintenance costs by more than 50 percent.

In both cases, our client was impressed with the quality of our service and our team and the relationship grew into their eventual purchase of our pre-owned networking equipment.

  • By year three of our relationship, they called us “We’re looking for an alternative to NetApp’s maintenance contract. Can you help?”

NetGuard replaced NetApp’s maintenance program, and the client saved more than 60 percent a year.

This is a classic NetGuard client experience–It started as “the SmartNet alternative,” and steadily expanded into one of the most robust, multi-vendor hardware maintenance platforms in the infrastructure management marketplace.

Upgrade Your Network Based on Your Needs—not the OEM

Just One End-to-End Hardware Equipment Maintenance Contract

A comprehensive third-party solution, NetGuard can cover all of your OEM brands under a single contract. With just one phone call or log-in to your NetGuard web portal, you can access all of the maintenance agreements (where you are saving more than 50 percent).

Our field-experienced engineers and technicians have deep expertise in managing all major OEM brands including:

Cisco ∙ Alcatel-Lucent ∙ Arris ∙ Fujitsu ∙ Ciena ∙ Nortel ∙ Tellabs ∙ Nokia ∙ Ericsson ∙ HP ∙ Dell ∙ NetApp ∙ Juniper∙ Brocade∙ Avaya ∙ Oracle ∙ F5 Networks∙ Harris

Worldwide Services global service and inventory centers make it possible for us to reach all major markets within 24 hours. We guarantee four-hour on-site service, provided by certified engineers and technical experts who have amassed 30+ years of technical expertise.

Why NetGuard Maintenance is a “No Brainer”

  • Add and manage any support contract–from any OEM network equipment provider–using NetGuard’s Portal as a single point of reference for all items under all contracts
  • 100+ fully-supported current and legacy OEM product lines
  • Global state-of-the-art 24×7 expert-level technical assistance
  • Personalized solutions: next business day parts and products, four-hour on-site spare service, and field support mobility
  • Multi-OEM vendor solutions rolled into one simple, customized contract
  • Private portal access to Worldwide Services web-based proprietary software
  • Contract management, ticketing system and KnowledgeBase technical library access

Few things in business today are “no-brainers.” But when you can slash expenditures by more than 50 percent, receive higher quality service and virtually eliminate OEM administrative headaches, isn’t it worth checking out?

Welcome to NetGuard.

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Seven Insider Tools to Know Before Moving Your Data Center to Third Party Maintenance | February 09th, 2015

Increasingly, enterprise IT managers are learning that adopting third-party network maintenance is not only exponentially less expensive, it also alleviates a mountain of administrative headaches associated with managing SLAs from multiple OEMs.

If your telecom, healthcare organization or enterprise is thinking about migrating from original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maintenance to save money and virtually eliminate labor-intensive administration, you’re not alone.

A little insider ‘heads-up:’

Clearly, the OEMs would rather you not know that third-party maintenance exists. When you break this news to your OEMs, they will promptly deliver a plethora of reasons why you should stick with them (obviously). Don’t buy this verbiage until you’ve had a few meetings with third-party network equipment and maintenance services.

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“Once we moved to Worldwide for system maintenance,

our costs were reduced by about 75 percent.

We saved thousands of dollars from day one.”

Global Telecom

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One of the biggest compliments we receive from new clients is their realization that we ultimately provide a higher level of end-to-end service, supported by lifetime-guaranteed equipment —at a significantly lower cost.

This success is attributed to our field-experienced OEM-Certified Engineering and Operations team, who has amassed decades of experience designing, configuring, testing, troubleshooting and repairing network equipment.

Your equipment OEM is in the business of manufacturing hardware and motivated to charge exorbitant fees for system maintenance in order to nudge customers to buy new (often unnecessary) products. Conversely, Worldwide Services specializes in providing higher quality, end-to-end network maintenance, at a markedly lower cost.

During your search for the best third-party maintenance service provider, we’ve outlined some tools to use which will help refine your search and help you choose the right third-party partnership for your network.

1. Schedule potential service provider meetings four to six months before your current agreement expires.

Take a look at your OEM service line agreements and when they will be up for renewal. This will provide a clear time frame for how long you have to conduct a proper vetting to find the right maintenance provider. Six months is an ideal period to complete candidate research, hold a phone meeting and then move to a live presentation. Doing so will also allow your team to have ample time to prepare for a seamless and error-free transition.

2. Speak directly with the technology team who will be handling your system on a day-to-day basis, not just the sales team.

At Worldwide, we have found that introducing our engineering team and technicians to a new client’s work team establishes a positive relationship even before work begins. As you narrow down the selection process, ask the candidates to bring along some of their engineers to discuss the scope of the project. Again, any reputable service provider will be happy to do this.

3. Ensure they have product inventory and field-experienced manpower close to your domestic and global sites.

Most enterprises have data center operations in multiple sites (and often several countries). Your new maintenance provider should have distribution centers and certified staff near all of your locations to optimally troubleshoot and replace products in the shortest time possible.

4. Ask for client references

Reputable, experienced third-party maintenance organizations will be happy to provide customer references with whom you can speak. The provider should also be able to put you in touch with a client reference who has a similar operation in size and scope to your own.

5. Unlike working with an OEM, your third-party SLA can be customized

One of the biggest complaints about OEM relationships is the lack of flexibility of services. Why pay for something you don’t need? Every network is unique just the way every organization is unique. A third-party maintenance provider will create a program that includes just the products and services you need, and nothing more.

6. Consider a phase-in transition approach

Starting with a segment of your network can be less stressful to the system than a full and immediate changeover. This isn’t possible during a merger or acquisition IT migration, but it can be a great alternative for businesses who are undergoing a less dramatic network maintenance transition.

7. Recognize that third-party maintenance can co-exist with OEM programs still in place

You’ll always find that flexibility is a keystone to third-party maintenance providers, including an occasional need to work in tandem on some networks, while a TPM is tested or during the transition, for example.  We frequently work alongside OEM partners to provide a complete maintenance solution.

One End-to-End Hardware Equipment Maintenance Contract

NetGuard third-party maintenance protects and maintains all of your OEM brands under a single contract and save more than 50% over OEM SLAs.

Our field-experienced engineers and technicians have deep expertise in managing most OEM brands including:

Cisco ∙ Alcatel-Lucent ∙ Arris ∙ Fujitsu ∙ Ciena ∙ Nortel ∙ Tellabs ∙ Nokia ∙ Ericsson ∙ HP ∙ Dell ∙ NetApp ∙ Juniper∙ Brocade∙ Avaya ∙ Oracle ∙ F5 Networks∙ Harris

Our global service and inventory centers make it possible for us to reach every geographic market within 24-48 hours. We guarantee four-hour on-site service, provided by certified engineers and technical experts with have amassed 30+ years of technical expertise.

Our field-experienced engineers welcome an opportunity to learn more about your telecom, healthcare system, optical transport, enterprise, telco or cable system.

 

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