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Your network is your everything. It’s your passion and more importantly, it’s the lifeline of your business. So it makes sense that you should be in control of its destiny, right? More and more, however, the manufacturers of hardware are trying to control the way companies buy, support and maintain their networks. Here’s a look at some of the scare tactics many manufacturers are using to put their sales agenda before your business needs.

Short Hardware Life Cycles

Manufacturers are increasingly shortening the lifecycle of products and declaring the end of life on products, to drive revenue. Talk to any manufacturer rep and they will be touting the latest and greatest product, trying to convince you how this year’s model will be faster, better (and more expensive) than the one you purchased last time. But the faster the manufacturers push out the latest and greatest products, the heftier your price tag to pay.

Budget-challenged network managers and cost-conscious CIOs are pushing back on manufacturers. They are no longer willing to write a blank check for continual forklift upgrades and expensive “migration paths” for the sake of bleeding-edge technology. Companies looking to stretch their IT dollars are keeping equipment longer and turning to pre-owned and refurbished vendors to help support products past the manufacturers’ end of life date. Don’t let the manufacturer scare you into thinking that once a product is end of life you must upgrade. The focus should be on your business needs not the manufacturer’s product cycle. If a product meets your business needs you should upgrade at your pace, not the manufacturer’s.

Limited Options for Partners

Not only are manufacturers trying to force you into buying their latest and greatest product offerings, but they are also trying to tell you who you have to buy them from. Most of them have “preferred” partner programs and “deal registrations” in place in an effort to keep the price of their product high and limit the competition between partners (that would result in a better price for the customer). Many of these programs are designed to limit the customer’s options and incent partners to toe the line on the latest and greatest products they are trying to push (many times regardless of the customer’s underlying business need).

Tired of manufacturers and partners schlepping their product du jour? Think independent!! Independent resellers not bound by manufacturer edicts and pricing constraints can offer solutions and alternatives based on your business needs, not the manufacturer’s desire to push boxes. Oftentimes they can offer better lead times and many even offer trade-in programs for your old equipment. Most customers feel it is beneficial to have a mix of both partners and independent resellers to realize the best support, cost and availability.

“Have-to-Have” Expensive Maintenance Programs

So you have the very expensive hardware that is, in many cases, overkill for the network requirements of your business. Now the manufacturers tell you that you HAVE to have their approved maintenance plans in order to receive replacement products and any updated features that you may require to make your hardware work the way it was intended. This is a scare tactic to get you to buy their maintenance program, but it is untrue.

Increasingly many forward thinking companies are rejecting the one size fits all forced maintenance programs offered by manufacturer’s. Many are freeing themselves from these expensive maintenance plans by self-maintaining their networks with onsite spares or exploring third party maintenance options. This helps them to lower cost and get a comprehensive solution that is both easier to manage and provides a better customer service experience.

Bottom line

It’s YOUR network. It’s YOUR right to make the decisions that will affect how you maintain your network. It’s NOT the manufacturer’s place to try to dictate what hardware to use, where to buy it or how to maintain it. It’s YOUR business, its YOUR network, its YOUR choice. Don’t let the manufacturer scare you!

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