CTO's 'Support' Hardware Vendors

by Julia Fernandes    May 27, 2004

The enterprise customer is always looking for quality service and support, mounting extreme pressures on the vendor community. From the looks of it, the vendor-buyer relationship couldn’t be better, with CTO’s posting reports of Â’excellent support’ provided by their sellers.

CXOtoday questioned a cross-section of CTO’s from diverse industry verticals, about the hardware support services being currently provided. Surprisingly, none of them expressed their displeasure; with almost all of them unanimously agreeing that support services received so far have been good.

Sharing her views was Ritu Madbhavi, systems director, FCB Ulka Advertising: “We use a mix of branded and clones (assembled PCs). While our servers were purchased from Compaq our desktops are clones, which have been purchased from a certified service provider of Compaq.”

“However,” maintained Madbhavi, “till date we have not encountered any issue with our partner- who is responsible for providing support for our servers as well as the desktops. On the rare occasion, when we did encounter a breakdown, it had been addressed efficiently and professionally.”

Echoing her thoughts, was S K Pandey, who heads the information technology department at LML, “Our servers are Compaq, while for desktops we use Wipro, with whom we have an AMC in place. I must add that through the SLA, the service we have received till now has been satisfactory.”

According to Alok Kumar, CIO, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra), “Although our first level of support is taken care by Tata Infotech, yet at the server level we do receive a 24×7 support, which until now has been consistent and timely.” The company uses Sun for its servers while HP rules at the desktop level.

Sanjeev Kumar, CTO of Pune-based Kinetic Group, has a similar opinion to share, “We get third party service with our support partners being ORG and ACCEL-ICIM, whose services have proved satisfactory. In fact, we have resident engineers working on campus from our support partners, eliminating the need of reaching out for the help desk for service and support.”

At the server level the company uses a plethora of brands such as Sun-solaris, IBM xSeries servers, HP and Compaq, while the desktops are Wipro and ORG make.

But how do vendors manage to provide and maintain the desired levels of service?

K.P. Unnikrishnan, country head Â- marketing, Sun Microsystems India, answered, “We have different support levels; a customer can either choose to opt for a service that any of their partners can provide or they can directly utilise the services from Sun itself. Even here the choice is narrowed down to multiple levels, for e.g. we have Sun’s spectrum service.”

“Moreover, service is provided based on the requirements of a customer. For e.g. some customers running mission critical applications, and which cannot afford downtime, are provided 24×7 service, whereas certain customers who can afford a downtime of say four hours subscribe to a different support level. Additionally, the company also maintains a spare parts inventory across the country,” explained Unnikrishnan.

With the hardware market heating up, and a dearth of resellers and channel partners vying with another to capture a chunk of the market share, no vendor can afford to adopt a lackadaisical attitude where support is concerned.

Although many CTOs prefer the politically correct statement of claiming that vendor support services were satisfactory, Pandey cautiously concluded, “There is always room for improvement.”

Tags: CTO�s