Have you ever tried to raise a support case on your networking equipment, only to find that your support contract had lapsed, or your network device was End of Life. Or has the Service Desk asked you infuriating questions, e.g. “is the device plugged in? Have you tried turning it on and off again?”
Frustrating isn’t it. Read on!
Keeping your support and networking equipment current is important but arduous at best—a task made all the more difficult as each and every vendor in your network has different rules for obtaining service and renewing support. So here is a list of items I believe you should be looking for when shopping for a support contract.
Providing support on a global scale is always going to mean compromise—compromise on language, local knowledge, and compromise on service offerings and client knowledge.
A local provider is able to address these issues by providing an array of services specifically designed to address their local or vertical markets. Ensure that your chosen support provider is certified by the vendors they support. This guarantees that they know the product well and have access into the vendors support data as well as fast access to software support if required.
Case History and Reporting
How effective is your current support provider? Do they proudly publish their service statistics to you or are you left to guess? Can you access their records to look at individual case effectiveness or equipment issues?
If not, you could be getting better service. Look for a service provider who will give you secure access to your service history, case details, support email exchanges with your staff, etc. Network support providers should be completely transparent with their clients.
A network outage is not the right time to find out that you are no longer under a valid support contract. At best it slows down getting assistance by hours, at worst it leaves you with no assistance at all.
Ask your support provider how they will notify your business of contract renewals, product and software end of life announcements and security issues. Will they be proactive in notifying you or do they expect that you and your team will check their website for updates? Look for network service providers who are committed to keeping you up to date on support related information, and who don’t just rely on their vendors to do so.
Co-terming of contracts
Ever wondered why, with every year that passes, the number of quotes you receive for support renewals increases? Most network vendors insist that all new orders are accompanied by a minimum 12-month service contract. So with each Purchase Order (PO) you raise for new networking equipment, software, or software licensing, you also get a new service contract. That contract will be due for renewal 12 months after your purchase date. You can see how it can quickly get out of control.
Insist that your network support provider goes to the effort of co-terming your support services each year. This will ensure that you have an annual support renewal rather than having to raise multiple small support POs each year. Get your network support provider to round up all the service contracts that have been generated by new purchases you have made the previous year, and bring them together to a single renewal date.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but if you cover these four major points and add any requirements specific to your business, you’ll be a long way down the path to getting a network support provider that actually adds value.
ICT Networks is a support partner to Juniper Networks and Huawei, with unrivalled experience in the delivery and administration of network hardware support contracts. Follow the link below to have a look around our service portal demo, and for more of our ideas on how support should be delivered.