Hardware Maintenance – Independent Multi-Platform Provider vs Original Equipment Manufacturer-Vendor

The days of all your business applications being based on a single mid-range or mainframe system are past. Today, few organisations are ‘single-vendor shops’, having acquired systems to meet specific purposes from several sources, as well as running key applications and file-serving on Intel-based servers.Given that you now operate a range of platforms, probably from a range of different vendors – what are your best options for maintaining them? This article looks at the benefits of using an independent multi-platform hardware maintenance service provider versus an Original Equipment Manufacturer for your mixed environment.Single Point of ContactWhen something goes wrong, you need help fast. If you have all your critical systems covered by a single independent hardware maintenance contract there is just one supplier to contact.An independent hardware maintenance service provider which is focussed on rapid response will provide you with a direct pager number for your dedicated service engineer, so you won’t have to waste time talking to an overseas contact centre. Your engineer will call you back in just ten minutes, and can be on your premises, often with the appropriate spare part, within two hours.Skills and ExperienceAn engineer dedicated to your account becomes familiar with your IT environment, your locations, your staff and your business imperatives. In other words, they become an extension of your team, working beside you to maximise system uptime and enhance the reliability and performance of your business systems.With Intel servers responsible for hosting the majority of business-critical systems today, their smooth operation is imperative. An engineer skilled in diagnosing and resolving issues across multiple vendor platforms has a far superior knowledge to a vendor’s engineer who only has experience of the one platform.And, as independent hardware maintenance providers are able to offer more varied and interesting work and better opportunities for career advancement, your supplier will have attracted the highest calibre of vendor-trained engineers with a can-do attitude and strong focus on customer service delivery.Streamlined Supplier ManagementBy combining all your equipment under a single independent hardware maintenance provider you reduce the administrative overheads of managing multiple suppliers and contractual arrangements.If a fault could be attributable to one of several pieces of equipment – for example your servers, routers or data storage – then having a single maintenance provider can reduce resolution times and avoid finger-pointing between multiple suppliers.Beware – many vendors offer a ‘total maintenance solution’ which includes support for platforms other than their own. But they subcontract the other equipment to third parties, which can result in confusion over the ‘ownership’ of problems and introduces risk.Economies of ScaleAnother benefit of having just one independent hardware maintenance service provider is the cost savings you can achieve by consolidating multiple hardware maintenance contracts across all your equipment at all your locations, regardless of vendor. Multi-platform service providers such as Interactive can provide volume discountsAgain, beware of equipment manufacturers offering a multi-platform maintenance arrangement based on sub-contracted services. You may be paying a single bill for all your hardware maintenance but, in reality, your critical equipment is being supported by multiple organisations, all operating their own processes and teams of maintenance engineers – and all needing to make a profit – which reduces the service value you get for your dollar.Many vendors require annual payment in advance – look for a third-party maintenance provider that bills monthly. Apart from the cash flow benefits, such an arrangement should enable you to add and delete equipment from your maintenance contract on just 30-days’ notice – which minimises the administrative overheads involved in reconciling invoices with inventory lists.FocusWhen considering whether to contract with a hardware vendor for maintenance – or going the independent hardware maintenance provider route – ask yourself about the core business and key objectives of each organisation:

Will they focus on upgrades and selling me more hardware – or will they be dedicated to helping me get the most out of my existing technology investment?

Are they truly focussed on minimising system downtime and maximising systems availability? Do they have the methodologies and processes in place – including optimum ratios of engineers and spare parts to systems under contract – to meet the service levels we need to support our business? (A good measure of these factors is their “first-call fix rate”, as this has a direct bearing on the time taken to resolve your hardware issues.)

Finally, will my vendor declare an arbitrary End of Service Life (EOSL) after which they will no longer offer maintenance and support, forcing me to upgrade – or can I extend the life of my equipment by using an independent hardware maintenance service provider?

While vendors tend to promote upgrades every three years, according to industry analyst Gartner, companies with hardware replacement cycles based on an asset’s true useful life within an enterprise – three to five years – can achieve savings of 10-20% on their overall hardware budget. The next article in this series looks at how an independent hardware maintenance provider can help you extend the service life of equipment, giving you a better return on your hardware investment.

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The Pros and Cons of Getting Payday Loans

In these difficult times, payday loans can be tremendously helpful to people who cannot meet their short term expenses. Moreover, they offer a reasonable and practical solution for serious emergencies. And perhaps, most important of all, they are easier to get than most other types of loans.Some Dangers to Consider when Taking a Payday LoanDespite these benefits however, short term loans do have their flaws and dangers. For starters, people who rely too much on them can easily end up accumulating a large amount of debt. Likewise, short term credits tend to have higher interest rates than most other types of credits, so they are more expensive to pay back. They are considered the most high-risk.This article will help you sort out these issues, and to provide you with some idea on what payday credits have to offer, how they can benefit you and also how they can turn into a financial liability.The Benefits of Payday LoansOne of the best things about payday credits is the convenience. You can get around $500 to $1000 in cash within 24 hours of your credit application. In fact, the application process is what’s great about short term loans. No matter how bad your credit history may be, you are still qualified to get a short term loan. The only requirement lenders will ask for is proof that you have a job or a source of income. Once that has been confirmed, you will get the credit that you want.Aside from the lenient requirements, it’s also worth pointing out that short term loans are ideal for emergencies, and not just when you run out of funds. The fact that you can get payday loans approved within 24 hours means that you can use it to pay for medical emergencies or automobile or other sorts of accidents.It’s also worth mentioning that the paperwork for payday loans is relatively easy to do. You will be required to provide your name, address, your bank account and, of course, your present source of income or job details. After you have provided all the necessary information, you can expect the credit to be deposited into your bank account within 24 hours.The Disadvantages of Payday LoansWhen it comes to credits, there’s always a catch, and payday loans are no exception. The biggest disadvantage of short term credit is that they only come in small amounts. At best, you can only get $1,000 for a single loan, and this is not nearly enough to cover serious medical emergencies or accidents.The most debated disadvantage, depending on how you look at this type of finance, is that the people that take out this type of finance cannot really manage their money as it is. So having more financial outgoings for the next month can be a disaster waiting to happen, and quite often does if you read the newspapers and forums.Another problem is that payday loans must be paid back quickly. In most cases, you will only get around two weeks to pay your payday credit. Failure to do so can adversely affect your credit rating. And although you have the option to ask for an extension, it will cost you a much larger amount than what you originally owed to the lender.And finally, you have to remember that payday credits have high interest rates. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that some credits will require an entire paycheck to pay back. So if you are going to opt for a payday credit, you need to make sure that you can pay it back quickly, otherwise it can become a serious problem.

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Bridge the Employment Gap

When you are seeking employment, there are a number of different criteria that you need to meet in order to even be considered for a job. There are a few factors that may affect whether or not you get the job that you want, but the most important of these is your employment history. What employers like to see is a nice clean history with consistent work experience. If you don’t have that consistent work experience then you are going to have a serious problem.Why are you required to have that consistent experience? The biggest reason is that it shows an employer you don’t have a habit of leaving jobs and that you have a good work ethic. The employer wants someone that will not only stick with the job, but that will also work their hardest at the job. It is widely believed that someone with employment gaps simply cannot meet the standard.In this economic climate, it can sometimes be very difficult to NOT have employment gaps, especially considering the sheer lack of jobs out there. So how do you avoid gaps in employment history? Let’s look at a few of the ways that you can try.First off, you should never leave any job unless you have another one lined up. This is very important. Even if the conditions at your job are terrible by your standards, always make sure that you look for other employment first. On top of that, employers will also be more likely to hire you if they see you currently have a job. This shows them that you have a good work ethic and are capable of holding down a job.Always put in your two weeks’ notice. Though this may have little to do with Employment Gaps, it does determine whether you will actually get hired. If you need to quit your job, make sure that you give them plenty of notice so they’ll be able to get someone else during the standard two weeks. If a potential employer calls your last job, you want them to say that you put in your notice, because if you failed to them you probably will not get hired unless you have a very good reason.When looking for a career some people are going to have actual employment gaps. Face it, people make mistakes, and luckily, there is a way to fix it. You can submit your information to a professional resume writer. These writers are great at making your employment gaps look good. It’s going to cost you a bit of money, but it’s worth it if you get the job that you want in the end.You can also consider doing some volunteer work. Though you won’t get paid for this, you can put it on your resume and most employers will count it as work history. There are many different things that you can do to bridge the gap, including working part time. If you do have gaps, it’s not going to easy, but with a lot of time, patience, and work, you can push through and get the job of your dreams. It all depends on how much you want it, and how much you’re willing to work for it.

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