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Benefits of vendor support for problem resolution

Guest Author

Elaina Stergiades, Research Manager, Software and Hardware Support Services, IDC

As business leaders push for faster adoption of mobile, social and cloud technologies, CIOs and IT managers wrestle with the best approach to embracing these new delivery systems and “keeping the lights on” for important production systems.  With the relentless pace of change in technology in 2017, IDC research shows that most organizations have already started their digital transformation journey across all aspects of the business.  However, the reality is that for most companies, IT must integrate these new technologies with extensive production systems – and support them for the foreseeable future.  At the same time, CIOs must meet demanding internal and external service level agreements across the technology stack that can directly affect the bottom line – no easy feat in these complex environments.

With so much complex technology supporting revenue generation and customer-facing activities, business leaders rely on the IT organization to make sure that technology is operating at peak efficiency.  It doesn’t take much for technology disruptions to negatively affect the customer experience and the bottom line – and it can be difficult to repair that damage once it occurs.  As a result, CIOs and IT managers are looking for assurance from support providers that can minimize potentially harmful downtime when problems affect IT systems.

IDC believes that support directly from the original software or hardware vendors can be a good choice when navigating these complex technology landscapes.  Many patches for important software problems and any security update can only be delivered from the original vendor, which can be critical for enterprises with strict compliance requirements. In addition, IT organizations typically try to figure out technology problems on their own when problems first occur.  This self-diagnosis and resolution can be much faster and easier than always reaching out for help – and original vendors can include advanced tools and utilities in the code that other providers can’t offer. 

For CIOs and IT managers considering vendor support to enable accelerated problem resolution, IDC recommends looking for the following support features:

Immediate access to the latest updates and patches when problems are resolved, including security updates – a critical consideration with growing security threats

An extensive library of tools and information for self-diagnosis and resolution, including online portals, knowledge bases with advanced search capabilities, and a robust peer-to-peer community

Advanced remote diagnostic capabilities, including tools with direct ties into the software to isolate and identify complex software issues

Direct access to support staff at the original software vendor when problems occur

Well-established partner networks in support delivery, with the ability to support complex integrations of technology from multiple hardware and software providers

When considering vendor support offerings and packages, IDC also recommends looking for comprehensive offerings that can assure broad access to these deliverables.  Ideally, the support provider will offer add-on services as needed, both for additional support activities and non-traditional support related activities (like optimization services and upgrade services).   IDC research has shown that IT organizations spend considerable time managing contracts and relationships with vendors and suppliers, and anything that can help minimize that time is helpful.  As IT environments grow more complex integrating on-premises and cloud solutions, support deliverables that can help speed problem resolution will be critical for resource-strapped IT organizations.

Elaina Stergiades is the Research Manager for IDC's Software Support Services program. In this position, she provides insight and analysis of industry trends and market strategies for software vendors supporting applications, development environment and systems software. Elaina is also responsible for research, writing and program development of the software support services market.

Prior to joining IDC, Elaina spent 10 years in the software and web design industries. As a quality assurance engineer at Parametric Technology and Weather Services International (WSI), she led testing efforts for new applications and worked closely with customers to design and implement new functionality. Elaina also worked in product marketing at WSI, directing an initiative to launch a new weather crawl system. More recently, she was a project manager at Catalyst online. At Catalyst, Elaina was responsible for managing client search marketing campaigns targeting increased website traffic, revenue and top search engine rankings.

Elaina has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Babson College.

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