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How a Multi-Vendor IT Support Strategy Helps You Save

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Data center managers and technicians have a lot on their plates. Computing and storage systems, network devices and various other equipment must be installed, managed, monitored and maintained. Ensuring smooth operations requires regular troubleshooting and constant vigilance.

But what about that failed hard drive? Is the warranty still active on that server? Or what about that old storage system you took offline last month? Are you still paying support on it? Have you ever considered the need for battery support for the UPS devices that power your data center?

IT professionals who are consumed with day-to-day matters don’t always have time to plan and organize. That’s why it’s good to have another set of experts available who can tend to the small details that make up the big picture.

Simplifying Complex IT Architecture

There’s a reason that multi-vendor solutions dominate data centers. While a “one-stop shop” model may seem more efficient, the reality is that many organizations require power and functionality that no one vendor can provide. And over time, when their needs inevitably change, they find it practical to acquire the most promising new technologies, regardless of their origin.

“Most of our customers have at least six different manufacturers in their data center,” says Marilyn Sanford, maintenance contracts manager, Evolving Solutions. “The single shop is going away for a lot of reasons. Between storage, computing and migration,many different players in the market offer a variety of solutions, and customers appreciate having these choices. They don’t want to be stuck with one manufacturer anymore.”

Challenges of Multi-Vendor Environments

Nevertheless, multi-vendor computing environments present many challenges. Again, your data center employees manage your servers, install software, monitor performance, etc. Day to day, they keep everything running. But in the meantime, other routine considerations may go overlooked. Little things fall through the cracks. Do you know how many physical servers are running in your data center? Not everyone does. Not everyone has time to figure it out.

“We have customers that give us a list and say, ‘We have these assets,’ ” Sanford says. “So we work with them to pull inventory reports or at times even do a physical inventory. We’ve told customers, ‘You gave us a list of 10 but here are these other five.’ And the response is always, ‘Oh. I didn’t know that.’ ”

While alarming, this situation is also understandable. Machines constantly come and go. Contracts are being signed, agreements are expiring. But with a multi-vendor support contract, you don’t have to worry about those details. A support contract through IBM Multi-Vendor Support can streamline support for multi-vendor IT environments. As a premier partner with IBM, which has been providing multi-vendor support for more than 30 years, Evolving Solutions can help.

Simplify Your IT Inventory 

In addition, managing inventory is a unique service. The Customer Asset Management Portal (CAMP) houses accurate, regularly updated inventory information. Say you’re experiencing an outage and you need to know serial numbers as well the status of your relevant contracts and support and warranty information. Just pull up the portal, 24-7, and all your inventory and contact information there. In a manner of moments, you’ll be placing that call.

Evolving Solutions strives to help you keep IT costs in check. As your IT equipment comes up for renewal, advisors conduct cost assessments to help you decide if renewing a contract or purchasing new equipment is a more prudent course of action. Advisors also work with you to consolidate support contracts and ensure you have appropriate levels of support. Over time, as support agreements accumulate, holes or redundancies in your coverage can crop up. For instance:

  • Is 24-7 coverage needed for servers running in your test environment?
  • Are you paying support on hardware you no longer even have?

These lapses can and do regularly occur in busy data centers.

“We work with the customer to make sure we have the right coverage, and then we work to co-term and consolidate,” Sanford says. “Rather than have 10 maintenance contracts, let’s get these down to two or three so you’re not paying throughout the year.”

“Our mission is to simplify these things for our customers,” she adds. “We’ve invested heavily in these tools to track our customers’ assets and contract information, and we’ve found oftentimes that it’s more accurate than the manufacturer’s data. We understand our customers’ needs and goals, and we work to be their trusted advisor.”

Evolving Solutions, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area-based provider of IT technical and support services, can help you manage your multi-vendor computing environment. Our experienced advisors can simplify the complex and time-consuming processes of inventory tracking and life cycle management. And through its partnership with IBM, Evolving can make sure you’re getting the best possible value for the support services you need.