IT infrastructure support services are a given in the portfolios of major technology vendors. What is sometimes lacking, however, is the ability for customers to pick and choose support offerings flexibly enough to reflect the fact that every IT environment is totally unique.
“We find that customers these days are demanding more flexibility and customization of IT support services,” says Russell Brooks, of HP Mission Critical Services. “They want to have more options available to them so that they can choose the appropriate types and levels of proactive and reactive support.”
Brooks says that much of the growth in demand for more customizable support can be accounted for by the move from complex, business-critical servers to a blade server environment. When they implement big boxes, customers know from the start that they need comprehensive support from the vendor, because the technology is complex and especially because business operations are so dependent on it.
With the advent of industry-standard blade technology, customers can handle more problems on their own, easily swapping servers and storage in and out in less time than it would take to place a service call. This doesn’t mean that support is no longer required—the fact that blade technology is new actually increases the importance of certain types of vendor support—but it does mean that customers are in a position to be more selective. Yet service and support packages sometimes require customers to take on services they don’t need in order to get the ones they do. Financial pressures can also put a packaged approach to service delivery out of reach of many IT budgets.
Pick and choose
HP has responded with an innovative new approach to technology support called Proactive Select. It’s not about offering new kinds of support: the innovation lies in the flexibility customers have to choose the level of support—and the price—that’s right for them. Brooks calls it an “a la carte” approach to IT support.
Proactive Select is a new way for HP to offer existing services that are already offered through programs such as Proactive BladeSystem Service, Critical Services, Proactive 24 (P24) and Proactive Essentials. Services include power and cooling assessment, firmware analysis, technical online seminars, patch analysis, storage/firmware and software analysis and management, blade technology assessment, system health checks and more.