Hardware maintenance may not seem like the most glamorous topic in IT, but it’s absolutely essential for any business that wants to keep pace with digital transformation. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of guesswork and assumption that goes into how organisations decide they’re going to receive maintenance support – so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to clear up some common misconceptions about the difference between vendor-provided and third-party support.

Myth 1 – Vendor support is more reliable than third-party support

A lot of people choose vendor support because they think it’s more reliable than the support they can get from a third-party. That makes sense – a vendor has an obvious incentive to make sure their kit isn’t causing problems for their customers and, by necessity, they’re going to be experts in the tech they’re working with. But does that actually translate to more reliability?

To be an accredited third-party provider, engineers have to be trained to exactly the same standards as the vendors own personnel. The home-side advantage for the vendor’s support is also not as clear-cut as people believe – you’re never going to get the person who designed the hardware out to fix it for you, just a certified specialist that could just as easily come from a third-party provider as directly from the vendor. Ironically, it’s not uncommon for vendors to enlist the same third-party engineers you could be engaging directly to provide the support they offer you. Consequently, the two support methods don’t only boast the same skill levels, they can often be utilising the same people!

This means that when you opt for vendor support, you’re often paying a premium for the vendor underwriting the delivery of the support whether they do it themselves or not. Of course, there are times when that might be helpful – a welcomed guarantee on occasion, especially for critical pieces of infrastructure, where you want the assurance that the vendor themselves is looking after it. But, in a lot of cases, that’s not necessarily worth the price tag, especially when third-party support can work just as well.

But it goes a step further than that. Third parties tend to be a lot more flexible in what they can offer you and can build a support structure around the specific needs of your business. This means you don’t have to play by the vendor’s rules anymore, and can find support that better fits your needs, without unnecessary costs.

Myth 2 – The vendor can solve my problems faster

Well, the vendor may not be more reliable, but they’re incentivised to fix my issues as quickly as possible – after all, it’s their products on the line, right? Well, the opposite can be true just as often. Since vendor support almost always only covers the products of the vendor, their first priority isn’t necessarily to check the problems with their kit – it’s to determine whether or not they have to get involved.

In a multi-vendor environment, it’s not uncommon for vendors to shift blame to other products for a given problem and will sometimes refuse to get involved until definitive confirmation that these other products aren’t at fault.

That’s bad enough, but now multiply that problem by all the different vendors in your environment, and it gets a lot worse – you could be left bouncing between vendors all waiting for the confirmation that they need to step in. In this scenario, you’re left with little to no actual support, and yet you still have to pay for each vendor’s support offering.

Third parties can easily avoid this problem – since their support almost always has the capability to span multiple vendors, ensuring they can easily meet the needs of your multi-vendor environment. Since their main concern is keeping you running smoothly, third-party support takes a look at the whole environment, diagnoses the problem, and fixes it for you, without you needing to prove to them that it’s their problem to fix.

Myth 3 – When a vendor stops supporting a product, it’s time to refresh

IT teams everywhere are beholden to the lifetime a vendor lays out for a product – if you run a product past the vendor’s period of support, you have to accept a breakage, or upgrade to a product that is currently supported. But there is another option.

Third-party support can continue to maintain tech that’s passed the end of vendor support, helping to keep everything running while avoiding the hefty price tags associated with constantly replacing your hardware. A lot of businesses chose not to replace their technology during the pandemic, so keeping unsupported equipment running is especially important for avoiding the cost of replacing a lot of hardware at once.

The ability to keep hardware running longer allows you to get more from your asset, and gives you control over when you need to shell out for a replacement – meaning you no longer need to run your refresh cycles according to the vendor’s schedule. It’s genuinely not out of the question to double the lifespan of commonly used hardware – all without impeding the operational experience for IT teams.

What’s next?

Servium’s rich Services Ecosystem can help you connect with the support you need. If you want to get started with third-party support for any part of IT environment, or would simply like to scope out how it can benefit your business, contact your Servium account manager today.