In the recent decades, markets have been highly influenced by hardware manufacturers. And organizations were convinced of the need to upgrade based on the cycles dictated by the original equipment manufacturer. Many opted for upgrading the entire network at once in order to avoid compatibility problems, bottlenecks and the end of maintenance contracts. That sounds logical, and for a time maybe it was. Because back then, we considered our IT infrastructure as closed entities, undividable and uniform. Therefore, our VoIP solutions, our data centers, our security systems and the routing and switching equipment in our networks were all subject to the same cycle of upgrade. Manufacturers’ contracts left customers with little choice in regards to when upgrades were required and what needed to be renewed. So if you wanted to break this cycle, by cutting the costs, you had no support and wished that you would not need replacement parts for equipment reaching the end-of-life stage, according to the manufacturer.
Differentiation of the lifecycle The increasingly detailed information about our business networks by IT analysts such as Gartner and Forrester has allowed us to acknowledge that not everything requires simultaneous replacement. LAN equipment behind the firewall modernizes at a different pace than high end data center equipment and firewalls. Security may be obsolete quicker than VoIP solutions. You might need a firewall with greater capacity, but would you have to also immediately replace all your routers and switches? When we differentiate between the lifecycles of the various parts of our networks, it gives us unparalleled opportunities for cost savings and efficiency improvement.
Targeted innovation In order to allow organizations to identify the elements of their IT infrastructure they wish to upgrade and the parts they want to keep, they need to adopt a hybrid approach regarding their network maintenance. Now, such approach is possible, thanks to the rise of Third Party Maintenance (TPM), which provides support and maintenance for companies, and for equipment that have reached their end of life according to the hardware manufacturer. The emergence of the TPM industry gives organizations the option to finally achieve a more effective, hybrid IT infrastructure, which not only saves money, but also creates space for targeted innovation.
Free and independent A hybrid method enables organizations to be liberated from OEM mandated upgrade cycles, which returns the decision making power to the Customer who knows their business needs best. Certainly, there are always parts of your network that will require an upgrade, but now we can identify those parts more precisely dueto the detailed insights mentioned. For example, a TPM partner does not have the same interests as the hardware manufacturer and does not need to achieve sales prospects for a new line of switches, routers or servers. The TPM partner is able to advise in an objective manner, unconstrained by the goals of the manufacturer and focused only on providing the most convenient service for the organization. A TPM partner can therefore not only help maintaining the simple network components, but can also advise you in regards to the innovation of complex parts. Thus, TPM gives back to organizations the control over the upgrade cycle and offers a degree of common sense into the IT strategy of the organization and commits organizations to innovation.
Who will you work with? Of course selecting the appropriate TPM partner, having the proven expertise is very important for your organization. But besides being technically capable, the chosen partner needs to have the logistic capacity. When a part of your network requires replacement, you want that to happen immediately, with no downtime for your organization. This implies that your maintenance partner should have experience working with large volumes, must have sufficient coverage in your region, sufficient international reach with a robust FSL (Forward Stocking Location) network and have the necessary import and export licenses for delivery wherever you need.
The best advice for anyone considering a Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) is to seek the consultancy of an independent analyst firm and find out their opinion about a potential TPM partner and what the market thinks of that partner.
The future is hybrid Innovation in business will always be a priority. For this reason, it is extremely important to differentiate our networks and break them up into several parts, according to their different priorities. Our budget is limited. By this approach, we will have the necessary understanding to identify more precisely which product innovations directly benefit our business and which products can only allow us to function for a few years. When organizations finally understand this, they will be able to cope with the fast developments in IT. Therefore, when analyst firms such as Gartner and Forrester note that there are considerable benefits to third-party maintenance and hybrid IT solutions, you should know that the market for this change on the large scale.