Maintenance and Support Contracts - 10 Management Best Practices Part Two
In our last blog post, we shared the first five of ten best practices for managing maintenance and support contracts. Disconnects between business operations and their underlying technologies can result in unavailable applications and wasted money. These best practices help promote cost-effective capital and operational cost controls.
Here’s a recap of the first five:
- Centralize and consolidate manufacturers’ contracts
- Identify the total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Get timely expiration notifications
- Determine the support level and support service
- Make informed decisions
Here are the remaining best practices for managing maintenance and support contracts:
6. Deploy similar support levels – Companies should deploy similar support levels across the supporting IT equipment for applications, projects, or application tiers. Make sure assets from different manufacturers for a given application environment or project are similar.
7. 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.
8. Track the relationship between hardware and software support licenses – You want the ability to view individual support contracts with detailed information, based on real-time data. Then, you can compare asset inventory support coverage across different manufacturers using generalized levels, or across project, location, and application dimensions. Link hardware and software resources together to illustrate connections between software licensed to specific application environments.
9. Determine if and when to renew maintenance contracts – Organizations find it difficult to conduct financial analyses without advanced notice of pending contract expirations and details of connected software products. Before support contracts expire, companies must determine whether to renew their support contracts or replace equipment with new assets. When your company has access to support and maintenance information, it can more effectively produce cost analyses for these support-renew versus asset-replacement decisions.
10. Identify and control asset information – To maintain data integrity and accuracy, IT organizations require proper access controls. You can easily establish these controls by rigorously managing asset and inventory information according to who can change it and which information should be viewable to which users. Only personnel who have direct ownership, management, or support responsibilities for the equipment should modify or update this information.
Remember, 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.