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Save now. Pay later = The USP definition of “value”


As Vice President of HP’s U.S. Technology Services Sales and Technology Services Support Country leader, Tracy Galloway is responsible for creating the sales strategy to reach HP’s aggressive growth goals, as well as driving overall market share and margin performance. She serves on HP’s Enterprise Group Technology Services leadership council and many strategic task force teams. She spends time mentoring young professionals and has been a featured speaker many times at HP’s Diversity and other Leadership seminars. Tracy holds a bachelor's degree in Marketing from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, and is enrolled in the Executive Education Program at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  

Who doesn’t want to save a little money?  So when a service provider comes along, claiming to be able to deliver hundreds – maybe thousands – of dollars in savings, the natural tendency is to listen. And when the provider says that they will deliver those savings with support that’s just as good as HP’s, the urge to hear what they have to say gets even stronger. If that happens to you, I suggest asking them one question first:  “Are you authorized by HP to provide these services?”  If their answers is “no,” then yours should be “no, thanks” to their pitch.

It’s not that their services won’t cost you less in the short term. These unauthorized service providers (USP) are correct when they claim that their service plans are less expensive to purchase. But as many enterprises have discovered, this low initial cost can wind up being very expensive in the end. Here’s an example.

The trouble with firmware
Two different HP customers recently had similar experiences with firmware updates. One was a manufacturer. The other a defense contractor.  Both were aware of the importance of keeping their HP systems up to date, so they purchased software support from HP to get access to the latest system firmware, patches and updates. The HP agreement also included Proactive Select Credits that were used to get proactive assistance throughout the year from an HP Account Support Manager.  Both of these were excellent choices.

Unfortunately, their third choice wasn’t as wise. Both customers listened to the “lower cost” claims of an unauthorized service provider and said “yes, please” instead of “no, thanks” to hardware support from the USP. Everything seemed to be fine until the USP was unable to upgrade the firmware on an HP server.  After several unsuccessful attempts, the customers used their Proactive Select credits and called upon the HP Account Support Manager to complete the job. However, a hardware failure occurred and the system failed to boot. After some initial troubleshooting, HP recommended that the customer place a hardware service call to their USP.

As with the firmware upgrade, the unauthorized service provider tried and tried many times over several days to resolve the issue. During this time, both customers were experiencing costly downtime and finally decided that “lower cost” support was becoming way too expensive. They called HP who set up a Time and Materials agreement with them and dispatched HP engineers to their sites. Using proprietary diagnostic tools, the engineers determined that three cell boards (System Boards) needed to be replaced. An operating system restore would also be needed to complete the repair. After approximately six hours of work, the system was turned over to the customer.

Fix = good. Prevent = better.   
While it was great that HP was able to fix the hardware issues, the customers would have been even better served if they had selected HP support right from the start. If that had been the case, their systems would have been monitored with HP proprietary tools. The problem with the system boards would have been identified before attempting to upgrade the firmware, saving the customer valuable time and … of course … money.  

That’s why it’s wise to say “no, thanks” to the money-savings claims of unauthorized service providers. The cost of saying “yes” is just too high.  

-Tracy Galloway

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Shouldn't there be a description of the comparative costs? If you don't want to use actual dollars, you could use a much they ended up paying versus how much they would have paid if they used HP from the get go.

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