When it comes to running a business’s IT infrastructure, it’s almost always better to consolidate. Handling lots of moving parts can be unnecessarily time-consuming, not to mention more expensive in the long run.
In this article, Blue Chip’s Board and Maintenance Director, Lee Bailey, explains how a single multivendor maintenance contract can help organisations reduce costs and gain access to an enhanced level of customer service.
What is multivendor maintenance?
According to Lee, customers usually run a whole range of servers and storage facilities by different manufacturers in their data centres. Most manufacturers provide a 1-3 year warranty, at the end of which they begin charging the customer for maintenance.
An SME might have two or three different technologies, with various vendors and manufacturers involved, while a large IT-complex customer may have twenty.
“You’d be amazed at how much time customers spend managing multiple suppliers and different manufacturers,” says Lee. “The level of service each of these vendors provides inevitably varies, and all charge a lot of money after the equipment is out of warranty.”
How does a single multivendor maintenance contract work?
A single multivendor maintenance contract, is the consolidation of all maintenance contracts into one. As Lee explains: “Instead of the customer having to manage all of those different suppliers, whether it’s three or twenty-three, they only have to deal with us.’
Blue Chip manages inventory and sends its own highly trained engineers out to fix its customers’ equipment, reducing the spend and improving the overall experience. Why choose Blue Chip for maintenance?
- Unrivalled expertise
Blue Chip is the UK’s leading third-party data centre hardware maintenance company.
“We’re experts in IBM, Windows and Linux,” Lee confirms. “From V7000 and DS8000 systems to high-end EMC VMAX storage and DL580s, we’re able to bring everything under one roof.”
When Blue Chip decided to expand its multivendor maintenance offering, it set out to recruit the best technical support talent in the industry. Lee recruited Ian Adams, an experienced engineering director, who’s worked as a specialist maintenance provider for many years.
Lee explains that Ian helped Blue Chip hire “the very best technical support professionals”, ranging from “ex-HP technical support to lab-trained HP individuals working in our technical support, alongside our IBM lab trained technical support.”
Every Blue Chip engineer takes part in an ongoing training programme to ensure they are constantly upskilling, in line with the evolving technology.
- Reducing Opex and Capex
“We had a customer recently who had a challenge with a manufacturer,” says Lee. “The manufacturer in question said that the customer’s products were at the end of life and that the customer would have to upgrade to a new cloud-based version of their software.”
“In fact, we were able to say that we could confidently continue supporting their hardware for at least another two to five years. This saved them hundreds of thousands of pounds and meant they didn’t have to rush into a new solution.”
“With Blue Chip as their maintenance provider, they can upgrade at a time of their choosing.”
Lee’s anecdote isn’t uncommon. Some organisations aren’t able to upgrade their infrastructure yet. Others have an outdated application that means they’re unable to; they need to continue with support for a few more years until they’ve made the necessary changes to their application.
“That’s really where we come in,” says Lee. “We’re effectively providing a managed service wrap; we work with the manufacturers while their equipment is under warranty and when the warranty expires, we’ll pick it up for maintenance. We can bridge the gap.”
- Single point of contact
Blue Chip recognises that some infrastructure – around 20-30% – may still require manufacturer support or intervention. In other words, there might be a more qualified specialist out there who is better equipped to resolve an issue.
Even if this is the case, Blue Chip works with the manufacturer on the customer’s behalf and still acts as the single point of contact.
“If it’s a big customer and they’ve got an outsourcing provider, for example in India, the US or Eastern Europe, instead of them now having to have several different contact numbers for different technologies, we provide them with one help desk number they can call.”
- Highly responsive service
Blue Chip always aims to surpass the level of service offered by manufacturers. If, for instance, the manufacturer is offering a four-hour response, Blue Chip will ‘go one better’, including same-day fixes and 24/7 customer support.
Blue Chip also has a fixed Service Level Agreement (SLA).
- Access to technology
“There’s a myth that third-party maintenance companies don’t use genuine parts, but at Blue Chip, we use only 100% genuine parts,” says Lee.
“However, a lot of vendors don’t hold 100% of their parts in the UK and only possess what they call ‘common failing’ items – the parts that they have a high volume of calls on.”
This means that even if the manufacturer has access to highly trained technical support, there may be a delay because they must wait for the part to arrive from another country before they can fix the issue.
Lee confirms that his Blue Chip team has access to all vital parts.
“So right now, we’ve got the engineers trained to the right level and in the right locations. And we have 100% of the parts in the UK.”
“They get tested too,” Lee concludes. “We have labs where all the parts are tested and we’ve got complete machines, whether that’s the z13 or z14 at the mainframe end as well as a variety of other models – new and old – including Power.”
The 3 Ps: People, parts and price
Ultimately, Blue Chip has access to the people (engineers), parts (technical equipment) and the price offering required to be able to provide an excellent, all-in-one maintenance service to its customers.
Check out Blue Chip’s case studies to find out more about how customers have benefited from this unrivalled multivendor service approach.