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Is your IT budget under stress?
Learn how a well-built support and maintenance strategy can deliver significant savings and operational efficiencies.
Where do you begin when asked to reduce maintenance costs?
We are often asked by our customers for recommendations to help reduce operational support costs.
When you’re asked to reduce your infrastructure expenditure, we recommend you start with reviewing your maintenance budget. However, with so many variables, it is difficult to know where to start, what is important inside your contracts and what could potentially be trimmed down.
Go back to step one – audit your environment
Businesses should begin at the basics and review their infrastructure expenditure. One way to reduce costs is to examine and interrogate the current approach to support management. You should start with an audit of your environment. We suggest to physically check their records to ensure what you think you have and what you actually have align.
The three primary checks are:
The assets to be supported
The role each asset plays in delivering business services
The active contracts you currently have
Take a business service view
Once you have a grasp on what assets you have within your environment, it is then important to review if those contracts are needed for your business operations. To do this effectively, we suggest taking a business service view and assess what you really need. Essentially, you use a business service view to get a consolidated summary of the business services in your infrastructure and to understand the overall health and status of the business services.
This isn’t anywhere near as time consuming as it sounds, but a baseline needs to be established:
Review with the business service being delivered
What is the infrastructure required to deliver the business service
Do you have any single points of failure?
What is the recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives?
Downtime is not an option for many organisations and recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives help businesses understand the impact of any outage. This is critical when taking a business service view of your infrastructure.
The RPO is the maximum allowable amount of lost data measured from a failure occurrence to the last valid backup of a device. Essentially, the RPO is about how much data you afford to lose before it impacts business operations. For example, for a banking system, 1 hour of data loss can be catastrophic as they operate live transactions.
RTO is related to downtime and represents how long it takes to restore from the incident until normal operations resume. RTO is the timeframe within which application and systems must be restored after an outage. It’s a good practice to measure the RTO starting with the moment the outage occurs, instead of the moment when the IT team starts to fix the issue. This is a more realistic approach as it represents the exact point when the users start to be impacted.
Understanding both the RPO and RTO for your business is essential to assist you in gaging what devices need to be under which service level agreements with your IT provider.
As a final step, consolidate the information from your asset audit and business service view and review your assets active contracts. This is the key to finding out where you can save money within your infrastructure.
The most common approach organisations take is to buy support contracts directly from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). However, OEMs are notoriously rigid in what they offer within their contracts and rarely thinks of your infrastructure as a whole. This is because each vendor product is deployed in isolation rather than under a collective agreement with other equipment. This strategy becomes messy quickly with various service level agreements, support numbers and contract renewal dates.
A simple solution we recommend is to assess and consolidate your contracts. Contract consolidation can help reduce the number of agreements in place, saving time and money from fewer contracts and leveraging the power of a collective spend.
Bringing it all together
Other IT services providers can perform contract consolidation, on-sell OEM support or resell you a third-party maintenance (TPM) service, but very few deliver all three as core business.
Many people know Interactive historically as an alternative to OEM support, but as the largest privately owned IT services company in Australia we provide support to our customers beyond the assets. As a Cisco Gold Partner and a partner with organisations like Juniper, Riverbed, F5 and the like, Interactive is uniquely positioned to deliver cost savings and improved service levels without compromising reliability.
Keeping ICT infrastructure running at peak performance is part of our DNA and is backed by our over 30-year track record of delivering premier support. Get in touch with our hardware maintenance experts if you’d like to learn more.
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