Are you asking your vendors the right questions?
Businesses who are looking to simplify support, and get better performance from their infrastructure at a lower cost, should be asking potential vendors several tough questions about their support plans, before signing on the dotted line.
So says Rich Schofield, vice president, Product Management Technical and Support Services at Dimension Data.
He says the key questions to ask are:
* Can you support a multi-vendor environment?
* Can you support multiple technologies?
* Do you offer a single contract to cover all assets?
* Is diagnosis time included in your SLA?
* Can you provide support in numerous local languages?
* Do you apply patches and configure replacement equipment for us?
* Do you stay on site until service is restored?
* Do you invoice in all our local currencies?
* Can you offer a single management portal giving me visibility of my whole estate?
* Can I vary the level of service on certain assets if they're mission critical?
* Do you keep an archive of all our configurations settings to speed up restoration?
* Do you use automation tools to perform MACDs faster and more accurately?
* Do you proactively find the root cause of problems to avoid future incidents?
* Will you keep configuration items up to date with version updates and patches?
* Will you co-ordinate with any third parties on our behalf?
* Will you provide a senior engineer who knows our environment to act as an escalation point?
* Will you do proactive polling to avert availability and capacity issues?
* Do you provide a Service Delivery Executive to handle operational and commercial issues?
* Do you offer automated asset tracking and analytics to improve configuration management and patching?
* Can you integrate your service management system with ours and all the other vendors in our estate for automated ticket exchange?
* Can you give us a roadmap for service evolution as we move towards a totally programmable hybrid IT environment?
Why are these important?
Schofield says that if vendors can't answer 'yes' to most of these questions, then they should consider a unified support service such as Dimension Data's Uptime because, this service can answer 'yes' to all of them.
"Uptime is a unified, tailorable support service for multi-vendor environments with high degrees of integration and automation." he adds. "It includes four levels of support that you can choose by asset, so you can have faster support on mission critical infrastructure, but you don't over-pay for a high level of service where you don't need it. This helps you better balance the cost of support against the risk of downtime."
The benefit is that organisations can also add a range of proactive support services, such as IT service integration, that accelerate process times, improve client satisfaction, and reduce overall cost of support, he explains
Moreover, he says Dimension Data's award-winning a management portal, Manage Centre, provides a unified view of the whole estate, with colour-coded charts that highlight priorities at a glance.