Network maintenance solutions abound, and the price differences are enough to make your head spin. According to Gartner, network maintenance costs can vary by as much as 60 to 70 percent between providers.
So how can you effectively review your options, find the best solution, and not break the bank?
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. – George Bernard Shaw
Low-Cost Network Maintenance Providers
Instead of asking why some providers are so expensive, ask why some are so cheap.
The networks that support large organizations are complex, and the certifications earned by the professionals that support these networks require years of study and experience to obtain.
So how is it that some network maintenance providers can offersupport at rock-bottom prices?
The simple answer is this: they employ inexperienced and uncertified technicians.
Technicians that cannot resolve complex issues and are limited by an on-screen script to troubleshoot and diagnose issues.
We have all been stuck in a poorly staffed “support” loop…
Is the equipment turned on?
Is it plugged in?
Have you rebooted?
Questions like these are frustrating and only prolong network downtime.
The worst part is that low-cost providers often lack access to experienced engineers, so their only option is to keep you in the lowest tiers of support until you give up or a replacement part is issued. Immediate resolution is not even an option.
Let the buyer beware. - Proverb (Click to Tweet)
High-Cost Network Maintenance Providers
So, the more you spend, the better the support, right?
At the other end of the spectrum are those companies that can charge a premium for support simply because their name is on the box.
While this does ensure (eventual) access to an experienced technician, it in no way guarantees expedient access.
In most cases, lower levels of support at the OEM are outsourced to the same, low-cost providers that many organizations strive to avoid.
As the cost of supporting equipment increases, these companies look for ways to cut costs.
Employing a team of experienced and educated engineers to support all levels of incidences is expensive. Outsourcing provides a cost-effective way to mitigate payroll costs while still providing minimum levels of support.
Clients who utilize OEM support are paying for the name and (eventual) access to OEM-certified technicians (only at the highest levels of support). That’s it.
Since it is so difficult to navigate through OEM tiered support, many clients opt to replace equipment as the quickest path to uptime. This feeds the true plan of the business: selling newer and more expensive equipment.
Change is the heartbeat of growth. – Scottie Somers
What Else is There?
Independent network maintenance is provided by organizations whose primary business is service.
Their interests align with the client at uptime as a service, not hardware sales.
Instead of employing uncertified and inexperienced technicians, independent network providers employ engineers with years (often decades) of experience working in enterprise-level network support environments. These engineers understand what clients are facing and what they want and need in a support experience.
In short, they have mindshare.
Mindshare comes in two ways:
- Covered infrastructure
- Professional experience
The best network maintenance providers support a large install base with experienced engineers. This means that their teams resolve issues faster because they have seen it (or something like it) before.
Secondly, these engineers have long tenures, which give them a historical perspective of your specific network. Instead of starting over with each new incident, you quickly connect with an engineer that has worked on your network’s issues in the past and can bypass time-consuming learning curves.
Network maintenance is not a cut-and-dry, a “you get what you pay for” endeavor. Instead, at each end of the cost spectrum, there are opportunities for improvement.
Do not make a network maintenance decision based solely on price. Review the terms of support carefully and fully understand who will be providing each level of support.
Your network maintenance provider is an extension of your team – know whom you are hiring, how they are qualified, and how you will gain access to their expertise.