As Managing Director, EMEA and APAC, Ian has overall responsibility for the growth and development of Park Place across EMEA and Asia. Ian brings a wealth of Third Party Maintenance experience, having joined Park Place Technologies following the acquisition of Computer Computer (Com-Com) Limited in September 2016, which he had owned and operated for 24 years. During a successful stint as General Manager of Europe for Park Place, he was heavily involved in the acquisition and integration of his own former business as well as the two subsequent UK acquisitions of Prestige Data Centre Solutions and NCE computer Group into the Park Place family. Ian is a business graduate of the University of Sunderland.
In an age of rapid digitalization, businesses are increasingly struggling, with the challenge of meeting high technology demands for data centres, while simultaneously optimizing costs. These IT demands can be broadly listed under four main categories:
- Storage maintenance & support
- Server hardware support
- Network maintenance
- Hardware sales
Ensuring that these sectors run smoothly and with the most efficacy might be too intricate and complex for a company to handle, from both their staffing and cost optimisation perspectives. In order to bring order to the hardware and technology chaos, companies are becoming more aware of the benefits that are introduced when they partner with a knowledgeable and experienced data centre networking and optimisation provider to handle part of the load or oversee all of the company’s IT hardware maintenance needs.
3 common scenarios in hardware maintenance
While preparing an enterprise hardware maintenance roadmap there are three key scenarios that the IT team need to be cognisant of.
- Public and Private Cloud: When outsourcing elements of a company’s IT operations, the team needs to be aware of the potential challenges that can arise. The strategy should be to balance cost effectiveness provided by the Cloud with the control of the internal IT team. In the Cloud, vendors own and maintain the hardware – unless it’s a private Cloud where the ownership of the hardware lies with the company. However, the company’s IT team is responsible for the maintenance operations on their internal hardware. A well-staffed IT team is still required for an efficient IT setup.
- Data centre colocation: In this setting, the company has control and ownership of its own hardware, even if it has a private Cloud hosted in the facility. So even while outsourcing IT, businesses need to keep in mind hardware maintenance and system support that will be required.
- Ownership of IT services: Most companies give complete control of IT hardware maintenance to a third party when outsourcing. What is important and a requisite though is that IT managers carefully study the SLAs to know exactly where and with whom each responsibility lies.
Cost optimization with outsourcing
Keeping costs minimum while achieving business goals is the balancing act confronting the majority of IT teams today. One way to navigate that successfully is to outsource hardware maintenance to a specialized service provider. There are 3 distinct areas where significant improvements can be gained in service delivery at lower price points:
- Reducing warranty costs: An extended warranty from an OEM usually costs more than getting a solution from a third-party provider – in some cases costs can amount to approximately half of what it could have costed. The reason for this is that while maintenance is a secondary service for OEMs, for the third-party provider it is a core competency. It ensures that service quality is not compromised on. A third-party service provider can offer competitive and attractive price points because their competency is more refined and focused operations management.
- Eliminating unnecessary capital expenses: Disposing of IT components can be an incredibly expensive and sensitive process. Hard disks, for example, contain specialized elements that must be disposed of following proper protocols. They also need to be erased and then completely destroyed to ensure data is entirely inaccessible. Performing this task for hundreds of hard disks can be incredibly expensive. Throw in the expense for servers, storage arrays and network systems, all of which have precious metals and hazardous materials that require special disposal processes, and IT managers can be left spending heavily in terms of time and even consulting help just to cast aside old hardware. A third-party hardware maintenance plan delays the waste problem by extending hardware life cycles. At the same time, many vendors also offer specialized disposal services in which the service provider takes care of the IT waste. This holistic approach to IT infrastructure lifecycle management can prove integral to keeping costs under control.
- Specialized waste disposal strategy: Disposal of the huge quantities of IT waste typically generated by a company can be an extremely expensive and complex process. The hard disks, servers, network systems, storage arrays, etc. contain harmful materials that need to be destroyed under very specific conditions. Then there is also the sensitive data residing on hard disks, etc. that needs to be erased and made inaccessible to anyone. This is a huge time and cost burden for the IT team. A third-party vendor not only delays the whole waste generation and disposal process by extending the hardware lifecycle but ideally, also offer specialized disposal services that keep costs under control for the company.
With increasing demands and complexity of the IT hardware infrastructure and pressure on keeping costs low, outsourcing part or complete hardware maintenance makes a lot of sense for businesses. Issues of ownership and the delegation of responsibility for different hardware systems and data will continue to remain with the company’s IT leaders, while a minimal internal IT team is required to oversee function and operations.