PivIT Global Blog

The Dirty Secrets of Some Third-Party Maintenance Providers

When things go wrong in a data center, the costs can be astronomical: on average, $5,600 per minute, according to Gartner. When IT stops, business stops. Every cent you’re paying employees is wasted, payments can’t come through, and the scramble to return to business as usual only compounds the problem.

Unfortunately, while the balance sheet shows the effect on your business, you’re not always able to see why things went wrong. Depending on your data center third-party maintenance (TPM) provider, there may be a barrier between your eyes and what they actually do. Your SLA promises certain resolution times, hardware on-hand and ready to be dispatched as spares and the buzz word “transparency” are often no more than a curtain concealing some dirty secrets. After you pull back the veil, there could be inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and even outright dishonest practices happening in near plain sight that cost your organization real money.

Let's look at two of these less-than-ideal situations in a bit more detail and how to protect your organization from this ever happening to you.

Spares. Where?

One of the most common dirty secrets in maintenance is false claims regarding where hardware spares are stored. Regardless of the agreed-upon SLAs, many maintenance providers use good ‘ol “Just in Time” (JIT) stocking principles to manage their hardware spare pipeline. Using JIT means they can save money upfront by investing less in initial hardware purchases and upfront shipping costs. When the hardware is needed, they have it brought to their facility or just shipped from another provider altogether.

But even though it’s “Just In Time” for them, it’s “Just Too Late” for you. While they were waiting for your gear to be shipped, downtime still means your organization is leaking money minute-by-minute. Another problem with JIT is expensive last-minute delivery costs. Who foots the bill for whisking hardware from who-knows-where to the data center? You guessed it: probably you. The expense is simply passed down to the customer, and it may also be inflated by a hidden mark-up formula weaved into the billing process.

On the other hand, the way it should work, when a TPM provider does their job the way it ought to be done, spares are dispatched from the field stocking location (FSL) within the resolution time-frame, bound by the maintenance contract, to the data center and downtime is chopped from hours—or days—to minutes. Doesn't that sound like a world you'd rather live in?

Untested Gear from Unvetted Vendors.

When maintenance providers say that your gear is in a FSL, ready to be dispatched at a moment's notice, but they can't seem to ever hit SLAs, it probably means that something isn't being done how it's supposed to be done. When spares aren't where they're supposed to be, many providers to turn other vendors to source your gear.

Drop-shipping works OK for waterproof shoe protectors, but for data center infrastructure? Not so much. In addition to the extra costs mentioned above, drop-shipping results in untested gear that gets hastily shoved into the network. While you’ll be hard-pressed to find a TPM provider that admits to not testing your gear, they sometimes hide behind semantics. When it doubt, ask for outputs!

When gear isn’t tested with context of its use-case, it is far more likely to fail upon installation—or soon thereafter. Dropshipping further exacerbates the risk by introducing countless variables that can damage equipment -- leaving with you the same impending doom when it arrives at the data center door. The end result: $5,600 per minute.

Remove the Veil:

What You See Is What You Get with OneCall

Even though these truths can be a little hard to swallow, you have a right to know. Further, you have the right to demand proof of the services your TPM provider claims they provide. OneCall, from PivIT Global, gives you exactly what you pay for—and provides the data, from serial numbers to outputs and locations, to prove it.

If you've experienced any of these things when dealing with a TPM provider, it may be time to evaluate solutions that WILL protect you from the expensive price tag of downtime. Even if you have not directly had these things to happen to you, they may be worth asking about next time you are thinking about renewing your contracts - save yourself the trouble on the front end!

Explore OneCall

Protect your organization, your job, all of the hard work you've poured into your networks!

Even if you're happy with your current TPM provider, make sure you are getting what you are paying for!  If it makes sense to look at a new TPM provider, consider OneCall!  Ultimately, whoever you choose to rely on for your hardware maintenance, it’s about having a trusting relationship in the end, and there shouldn’t be any secrets between friends. 

Reach out today to learn more about the OneCall Maintenance offering from PivIT Global. OneCall is a proud member of the Service Industry Association OneCall keeps its promises and we're here to help in any way we can.

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