This time of year, I prefer to look forward to new beginnings and fresh opportunities than to reflect on everything I didn’t quite accomplish in the previous one. So, even though my crystal ball for 2018 is still coming into focus, there’s no time like the present to position 2018 as the best year yet.
Here are some universal suggestions for getting the year off to a great start:
Resolution #1: I will create a network value equation
Extracting the best return possible from all technology investments isn’t rocket science, but following a measured methodology and proven process sure helps. Topping my list of New Year’s resolutions is following this network value equation guide to figure out which network assets matter and cost the most to assist with business planning.
This guide is aimed to inspire and inform useful discussions, such as:
- How does my equipment support the business?
- Is there benefit to upgrading or is extending the useful life of the gear sufficient?
- What capex and opex strategies will deliver the greatest business benefits?
Resolution #2: I will not pay full price for data center and network maintenance
According to an inaugural Gartner Market Guide for Data Center and Network Third-Party Hardware Maintenance, “[TPM] contracts will offer customers an average of 60% savings off OEM support list prices.”[i] Who’s in a position to turn away that kind of savings?
This TPM guide offers sound advice on performing a maintenance optimization audit on all IT assets. We believe the results will provide informed recommendations about manufacturer support vs. TPM while compiling critical information about software licenses, update entitlements and end-of-service life data. The alternative? A whopping hit to your capex every three to five years when the manufacturer tells you it’s time to upgrade or pay more for support than your gear is worth.
And, while you’re at it, don’t overlook data storage as there’s lots to save as you lower both storage acquisition and ownership costs. According to Gartner, there are ample opportunities to leverage independent, vendor-agnostic storage maintenance to the fullest.[ii]
Resolution #3: I will negotiate the best prices on my next RFP
This sounds like a no-brainer, but getting the best prices on maintenance and support RFPs can be a convoluted process. The bottom line: There’s safety—and savings—in numbers, so invite multiple equipment sources to bid.
Also, be careful to avoid the biggest rip-off in networking: transceivers. Did you know common components like transceivers typically come with bigger margins, so there’s room to negotiate a better price? According to Gartner, “You can reduce transceiver costs by demanding discounts of at least 75% off the list price.” [iii]
And, when it comes to RFPs, don’t just settle for a list of devices—make manufacturers work for their money by offering detailed solutions. It’s what your boss asks of you, right?
Resolution #4: I will make friends with the finance folks
As with any relationship, the key to improvement is better, mutual understanding. Yes, IT and finance speak different languages, but don’t forget, you’re on the same team. While you know the pace of technology innovation is rapid and relentless, remember the CFO’s crew is facing more scrutiny than ever on budgets and forecasts. Instead of just accepting what you are given, what about offering to help build a five-year technology roadmap together?
Resolution #5: I will be more open-minded
Even if you do know everything, don’t admit it. Everyone has an opinion, so solicit input from sources not tied to one manufacturer or technology. Take a holistic view of your network, data center and storage environments and don’t feel pressured to upgrade gear or migrate solutions before you must. Remember, end-of-life doesn’t mean dead; rather, it means know your options for supporting and acquiring equipment nearing the end of its product lifecycle.
As you take the plunge into the New Year, avoid vendor lock-in and opt for solutions and services that give you the flexibility and freedom to always put your business first. Happy New Year!
[i] Gartner, Market Guide for Data Center and Network Third-Party Hardware Maintenance, Christine Tenneson, 9 August 2017
[ii] Gartner, Lower Both Storage Acquisition and Ownership Costs by Using Third-Party Maintenance, Stanley Zaffos, 3 March 2017
[iii] Gartner, How to Avoid the Biggest Rip-Off in Networking, Andrew Lerner & Sanjit Ganguli, 3 August 2017