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How to Decide between Third-Party and OEM Network Maintenance?

With a lot happening in the field of technology, businesses are demanding IT professionals to be more proficient while being cost-efficient. As per a report, it was reported that the average IT budget only grows $2,000 a year. In such a case, there is an increased in to formulate a strategic plan to invest the IT budget and develop efficient small business IT solutions. To optimally utilize the stringent budget at hand, most companies find it difficult to get an excellent support service for their data management. Here, third-party maintenance can be the answer for most small enterprises that cannot afford to invest too much of support services for the IT needs.

The Trouble with OEM Support
Most IT professionals are of the opinion that Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is the only support service available for them. Most find it the most logical solution. But a proficient IT consultant providing IT support services will tell you this is not the case. In the matter of hardware maintenance, relying on the OEM is not always a suitable option for businesses. Typically, an organization using OEM support service records a high maintenance cost on hardware after three years of the purchase. The main reason is that manufacturers us to upgrade the equipment to the latest technology. They raise the maintenance cost to incentivize the complete renovation of the hardware. But moving over to up-graded technology is very costly and involves the hassle of data transfer and migration.

Small business owners who are tight on their budget can consider third-party services over OEM. An MSP is proficient enough to provide support services to businesses of all sizes and shapes. The most significant shortcoming OEM maintenance has is that it fails to match up with the complex structure of a business’s IT environment. Since most IT infrastructure are formed putting together IT components from various manufacturers, the OEM may have a little or no expertise handling in equipment that is not manufactured by them. It, in return, makes the troubleshooting more difficult and time-consuming. With a third-party support team, a business can find solutions to all its IT needs under one roof.

Third-Party Maintenance Benefits
The most significant advantage opting for third-party support is it saves over 70 percent of business’s cost of support. But it goes without forgetting that it is always essential to partner with a support team that is efficient enough to provide the right support services. Many MSPs have OEM-level certification making them efficient sufficient in implementing better support solutions. They also group the IT infrastructure under one single SLA that frees businesses from the hassle of recertification fees and other charges.

With an MSP, businesses can be assured of on-site troubleshooting. The SLA can have terms and conditions and protocols during a crisis or significant network downtime. Many SLAs have a clear contract in case there is a need for part replacement or change. Having the stock location makes the availability of spare parts more manageable.

How to choose best IT technical consultant?

Always start with plan. Your consultant should begin by interrogating you and taking the time to extract your business strategy. As a client, your job is to articulate your business case as clearly as you can. Their job is to listen, offer advice and insights, and then translate that information into solutions that match your objectives. The problem is that if you fail to address those gaps early on, your project may fail too. Seek out consultants who have strengths as business analysts as well as IT technical consultants.

IT consulting firms in Virginia will be more interested in using innovation to get to a pragmatic solution that works than giving you what you think you want. In your initial conversations about strategy you should be gaining valuable advice and guidance – not just a sales pitch.

Evaluating a firm’s technical skill set starts with understanding their specific areas of expertise and their past experience as managers and developers. Beyond this, dig deeper by asking them questions that reveal more about their approach and their motivation.

Getting at the business strategy at the start of a project sets up the design/discovery phase for greater success. You should always have technical people in the room while you’re hashing out that strategy so they know how to map out the high level solutions you can all agree on. The design/discovery phase also should include project managers who are building out realistic timelines and milestones for development.

Your proposal should have detailed estimates, line by line, and a min-max range on your project’s tasks and milestones. It may be an estimate, but the more detail you have the better. A clear understanding at the outset goes a long way to keeping the lines of communication open between you throughout a project headed by IT consulting firms in Virginia.

If your consultant is following an agile development philosophy, they will consider you as part of their team. This may mean that you have access to their project management software and can see where things stand at any given moment down to the line item. This kind of transparency may seem like overkill to clients who don’t think they need that level of detail, but it is an important internal discipline for any technology firm. Clients should feel confident that their consultant isn’t hiding anything and that their questions and clarifications are welcome. There are always unknowns and change orders when building a project, and having a constant back and forth among the team keeps everyone in the loop.

Even during your initial conversations, a consulting firm should be able to articulate very clearly what their internal process will be for communicating with you throughout your project. This includes what to expect in terms of reviews and approvals, as well as what happens when change orders, hours over budget, and bugs occur.