5 Management Best Practices for Maintenance and Support Contracts
When companies can’t identify the IT assets required to run their businesses, they face a dangerous disconnect between their business operations and the underlying technology that supports those processes. This quandary not only endangers the efficiency of their current operations, but it impairs their ability to take advantage of new, cost-saving technologies and strategies that can reduce capital and operation expenses. In these situations, the inability to react to change drives up costs and reduces the availability of business applications.
We’ve identified 5 best practices for managing maintenance and support contracts that can help promote cost-effective capital and operational cost controls. Here they are:
- Centralize and Consolidate Your Contracts
To get started, it’s a good idea to centralize and consolidate all your manufacturers’ contracts into a comprehensive repository, viewable from a single dashboard. You want the ability to view individual support contracts with detailed information, based on real-time data. This information must be both available and accurate if you’re going to make informed decisions about your IT infrastructure and budget. And from the dashboard, you should also be able to search, sort, and group asset information according to your business needs.
- Track the Relationship Between Your Hardware and Software Support Licenses
Proper handling of application environments includes proactive management of the underlying hardware and software infrastructure. To illustrate connections between software licensed to specific application environments, be sure to link your hardware and software resources together. Then you can compare asset inventory support coverage across different manufacturers using generalized levels, or across project, location, and application dimensions.
- Identify the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Efficient data center management demands the ability to account for assets and optimize them for the future. That’s why it’s important to identify the total cost of ownership (TCO) for your IT environment based on your asset inventory. This allows you to accurately determine how much your organization currently spends on its application services and how much these services will cost in the future. These calculations will ultimately help you develop plans, implement budget controls, and curtail expenses.
- Get Timely Expiration Notifications
Before your support contracts expire, you need to determine whether to renew your support contracts or replace equipment with new assets—but it’s difficult to conduct financial analyses without advanced notice of pending contract expirations. Once you’ve centralized your contracts and gained access to accurate support and maintenance information, you can more effectively produce cost analyses for these support-renew versus asset-replacement decisions. Just make sure you can view each support contract associated with each business application environment, including support contract and individual equipment expiration dates.
- Budget and Forecast Support Costs
Profitable businesses require the ability to forecast support costs across various timelines so they can plan projects appropriately. To do this, try to provide asset line-level costs for current contracted products normalized to an annual or monthly period.
Managing application infrastructures is a very demanding endeavor, and most companies struggle to manage their application environment cost-effectively. Business applications require extreme vigilance from IT departments and ongoing maintenance and support for their underlying infrastructure.