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General Manager, EMEA
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Date: October 30, 2018

How to Create Certainty in Uncertain Times

How to Create Certainty in Uncertain Times

I’m certain of one thing these days: Businesses are facing more disruption than ever. While our world in general is experiencing this, in particular, the entire European Union is struggling to assess the impacts of “The Brexit Effect.” 

Two years after the UK voted to leave the EU, companies across all industry sectors still are reeling and bracing for what lies ahead while seeking clarity on how to move forward. As far as how this relates to IT investments, the best advice is proceed cautiously and, if possible, avoid any major outlays of capital expenditures.

After all, investing heavily in technology upgrades and equipment refreshes is not necessarily a wise choice with continued economic upheaval on the horizon. Instead, a more prudent and less risky approach would be to extend the useful life of existing IT assets until the economy gains sustained stability and predictability. 

In reality, hanging onto your legacy equipment longer isn’t just a Brexit survival tactic, it actually makes sense overall. It’s just not an option you hear often because manufacturers have been pushing customers to undergo premature IT upgrades for decades. Instead of adhering to the norm, typified by three- or four-year refresh cycles, keep your current gear in place longer. Most network and data center gear have productive and reliable lifespans that extend well beyond manufacturers’ recommendations. 

Frankly, coming to this understanding now is a safe move when no one seems to know what lies ahead. Retaining IT equipment longer is an excellent strategy for reducing capital expenses, so start by revisiting your current IT assets and reconsider longstanding procurement policies.

Our experience over more than three decades and serving some 15,000 customers worldwide is that most organizations don’t need the latest and greatest IT gear to meet their business needs. It comes down to understanding your business and whether you truly need the most powerful processors and cutting-edge technology to support mission-critical applications. If you don’t, then keep equipment longer and avoid the capex.

Also, look for ways to reduce your operational expenses by opting for third-party maintenance (TPM) offered by independent service providers. TPM is gaining rapid momentum as a strategy for reducing both capex and opex. After the manufacturer’s original warranty expires, consider TPM and the opportunity to slash maintenance costs in half. 

While I don’t know any company today that can afford to overlook these kinds of capex and opex savings, that’s just the start. Leading TPM providers are happy to provide an independent audit of your current IT environment to best understand where savings are possible. Included should be a thorough compilation of your IT inventory as well as suggestions for next steps and recommendations. The savviest TPM providers utilize automated analysis tools to show where TPM delivers the biggest impact.

In most situations, the recommendation is a hybrid maintenance strategy. This blends existing manufacturer maintenance where absolutely necessary with TPM for previous-generation gear. Plans also typically include the use of managed spares and taking advantage of pre-owned hardware where best suited. TPM is at its best protecting devices that still perform dutifully but have exceeded initial support timeframes.

Third-party providers also can consolidate all your maintenance contracts to streamline management. In addition, leading TPM providers can ensure you have the proper SLAs for each device. Not only does this mitigate risk, it assures you don’t pay too much for certain gear or too little for others.

In these uncertain times, adding third-party maintenance to your environment not only helps save money and achieve stability, it emits a clear call to manufacturers: The decades of enduring strong-arm tactics regarding upgrades and rising maintenance costs are over.

Embracing TPM is a sound strategy—of that I’m certain.

Questions? Comments?

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