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Third-Party Maintenance Takes Center Stage at Gartner EMEA IT Event

Last month, I presented at the annual Gartner IT Financial, Procurement & Asset Management Summit in London as part of our world tour of six Gartner events this year. As I sat in the keynote delivered by Gartner Research VP Jo Ann Rosenberger, I was expecting to hear practical yet familiar advice on how to better identify and analyze IT costs, play hardball in software contract negotiations and tighten software support policies.

So, imagine my delight when Jo Ann, an expert in all areas of IT procurement, started talking about the merits of third-party maintenance and alternative procurement! She broached the topic in advising summit attendees to continually exploit cost optimization opportunities. Her insights echoed my own presentation, which addressed strategic choices facing IT when it comes to hardware refresh cycles and support.

Afterward, we spoke with Jo Ann, reiterating Curvature’s purpose for being there. Not only did she understand our value proposition, she offered to cite Curvature’s pre-owned hardware procurement and NetSure third-party maintenance at the next Gartner Summit. What a watershed moment—to be validated by a well-respected analyst after years of shouting to be heard over the constant din of misinformation spewed by OEMs. Could it be, after decades, that OEMs’ escalating maintenance costs, forced equipment upgrades and premature end-of-support declarations finally have hit the wall?

It seems the tide is beginning to turn. During my session, there were lots of head nods in agreement to the capital expenditure constraints caused by vendors, namely Cisco and EMC, forcing premature upgrades. Clearly, this point and many others resonated with attendees in my jam-packed session.

I started out asking for a show of hands to answer the question: “How many of you felt pressured to make a capital expenditure in the past year based solely on an OEM upgrade?” More than half of the people in the room raised their hands. All hands stayed up for my follow-up question: “Would you be interested in an option that enabled you to avoid making that upgrade until the business needed it?”

I held their attention by exposing other upgrade and maintenance myths while offering tips for extending equipment lifecycles. The attendees were engaged; I could tell by the number who were taking pictures of my slides with their cellphones. Then the Q&A extended long after the session was over. There were plenty of chances to debunk the usual OEM FUD. My favorite question came from an attendee who asked whether Cisco could deny him SMARTnet support on any of his equipment if it wasn’t on everything. While his Cisco rep advocated this “all or nothing” approach, I explained why it’s completely false.

So, while there’s plenty of debunking work still to do, it does seem as though there’s growing momentum for our industry segment and Curvature. Activity at our booth was brisk, with lots of questions and obvious interest in our answers. This particular group seemed pretty open to third-party maintenance options, perhaps because Cisco allows European resellers to sell their own shared services in addition to SMARTnet. Perhaps the time has come for companies to be more clear-eyed when it comes to seeing OEMs’ exorbitant maintenance costs and restrictive purchasing practices?

That’s one of the reasons we’re looking forward to participating at the U.S. version of this show, which comes to the Dallas area in early November. We expect more lively discussions about the ever-increasing role that alternative procurement and maintenance strategies can have in driving IT transformations.

What’s your take on this topic? Would you have raised your hand to my question about forced OEM upgrades? Interested in learning what other events Curvature is involved in? Visit our News, Events and Press Releases to learn more.


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