The payoff of moving to a Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) hybrid model can be worth it: Lower cost, reduced risk and disruption, and better oversight of your infrastructure

A recently issued report from Gartner, ‘Competitive Landscape: Partnering with Third-Party Maintenance Providers for Data Center and Network Maintenance Cost Optimization’ (July 2017), finds that TPM providers can deliver cost savings and operational efficiencies not possible with support contracts provided by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Cisco.

According to their analysis of conversations with thousands of CIOs, IT Managers and network engineers, organizations can optimize their maintenance budgets by adopting a hybrid strategy of TPM support in addition to existing SMARTnet coverage. The report’s findings suggest that third-party maintenance can bring a useful objectivity to diagnosing problems and impartiality in sourcing new and pre-owned equipment and replacement parts. Additionally, the presence of pure-play TPM support providers and secondary hardware TMPs are enabling enterprises to gain measurable fiscal, operational, and oversight advantages:

  • Customers gain better coverage for the entire IT infrastructure due to multivendor support and remote monitoring across a wide range of server, storage and network assets from virtually all manufacturers
  • Enterprises can optimize maintenance budgets by reducing Capex spend due to TPMs offering lower-cost alternatives to OEM contracts and equipment pricing
  • IT managers see greater flexibility in support contracts and overall benefit from more customized support and a higher degree of responsiveness such as short-notice shipping and on-site technical assistance
  • Risk is reduced by avoiding unnecessary equipment upgrades and software updates triggered by OEM End of Life/End of Sale/End of Support policies which can destabilize the infrastructure
  • Most OEM contracts are rather inflexible. By contrast, a robust third-party maintenance contract can be designed to provide short-notice support. TPM contracts offer several levels of on-site support, including engineering assistance and replacement parts in 4 hours.

In summary:

The author of the report, Gartner Research Director Christine Tenneson writes that the TPM market is growing as a force within the industry, both in size and in appeal to clients in a variety of industries. She notes that as hardware maintenance becomes increasingly viewed as nonstrategic IT spending and procurement, those responsible for making support buying decisions are moving to lower cost alternatives from TPM providers, and reducing their exposure to more expensive OEM maintenance contracts.

For further reading on this topic and to download a the Gartner report, visit