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What is Third Party Maintenance?

When you have a lot of IT equipment, such as owning a data center or a large enterprise system, you need quality support to keep it running at its best.

For that support, you have a few options. You can rely on maintenance from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). You can house your own support staff. Or, you can contract a third party to take care of it all for you.

Each option has its pros and cons, but in order for you to make an informed decision, you need more information. That’s why today, we’re focusing on third party maintenance to clarify how it works and how it benefits businesses.

The Essence of Third Party Maintenance

In a nutshell, third party maintenance (TPM) is outsourcing. You hire a company to handle maintenance for your IT hardware and equipment. Most commonly, this service is provided for data centers, but TPM contracts are available for enterprise businesses and other scenarios as well.

The concept is that outsourcing this work can save money because you are no longer directly responsible for the costs of recruiting, hiring, and training your IT staff. Additionally, third party maintenance providers often have vendor contracts that can help them source parts and equipment at discounted prices.

How Third Party Maintenance Benefits Businesses

Clearly, the point of TPM is to lower costs and improve uptime on your IT systems, but the benefits are a bit more specific.

TPM can improve your IT flexibility, which creates options for your business and allows you to operate more freely. TPM is designed to maximize uptime by averting problems before they get out of hand.

On top of that, TPM providers come with industry expertise, and you can draw on that expertise to make informed decisions about your own business.

These benefits are fairly universal with TPM, and it’s easy to understand why when you look at the common services offered by TPM providers.

Routine Service

The bread and butter of TPM is routine service. This includes software updates, regular health checks, monitoring, and all of the things required to keep data center equipment in good shape. The routine services are designed to identify problems early and fix issues before they create significant work shortages or downtime.

In other words, routine services are preventative, and this is where a lot of your cost savings can be found. Any problem that is fixed early saves money downstream.

Replacement Service

It’s also common for TPM providers to replace parts and equipment as needed. In many cases, the TPM contract will include the cost of parts, so you won’t be billed separately for those expenses as they arise. Of course, that will depend on the specific contract, so keep that in mind.

Replacement services can fix damaged equipment or completely replace equipment as it becomes outdated and outlives its service life.

In datacenter and enterprise environments, equipment replacement is a common occurrence and essential to the preventative concept. It’s difficult for routine services to accomplish their goals when they aren’t paired with replacement services.

Multi-Vendor Support

A specific advantage of TPM is that it almost always covers multi-vendor support. If you count exclusively on warranty support, it’s difficult to take care of problems where different equipment vendors meet. For example, your servers are probably not made by the same vendor as your networking equipment or your cables. Getting support for everything, all at once, can be challenging.

TPM providers routinely work with all of the common vendors, and this simplifies work and maintenance. Instead of calling in a bunch of different warranties at the same time, your TPM provider handles everything through a single contract.

Post-Warranty Support

TPM providers also typically offer post-warranty support. Hardware warranties in the IT world usually span one to three years. TPM providers can extend support contracts well beyond those time frames, allowing you to get much more longevity out of your hardware investments.

Post-warranty support is often baked into TPM contracts. The point worth noting is that post-warranty support is usually more expensive (or even unavailable) if you exclusively work with OEM vendors.