If you’re like most people, you have trouble remembering simple, everyday details. What did you eat for lunch last Monday? You’re probably scratching your head. Even important dates can easily be forgotten, for example, the pile of bills you receive in the mail each month. It’s surprising you remember to pay them on time when they’re all due on different days, right? You probably want to avoid having your electricity shut off because you forgot when the bill was due. Fortunately, you can designate one day out of the month to knock out those bills to avoid this scenario. Similarly, when the server your organization relies on to conduct day-to-day business fails, there’s nothing worse than realizing your support contract expired because you forgot to renew it. That’s why contract management is invaluable to businesses.
It is surprising how many problems can be solved through a little organization. Thus, creating and executing more efficient processes is the key to evolving. We channel this same concept when managing our customers’ maintenance and support contracts for the hardware and software we sell. It’s crucial to not only maintain continuous support for these products, but to also keep that support as current as possible. This is paramount to the success of your business. For these reasons, we’re shifting our focus from renewing contracts to managing contracts.
Using the previous process, businesses were responsible for keeping track of numerous expiration and renewal dates for multiple vendor products, which can be confusing and time-consuming. Subscription and Support for VMware Horizon View might expire in April, while Subscription and Support for VMware Site Recovery Manager might not expire until several months later. This is just an example of how different products from the same vendor were expiring at different times. As you can imagine, this could be a difficult task to manage when you’re also trying to run a business. Naturally, most of our existing customers have other responsibilities that require their attention, and it’s easy to put subscription and support contracts on the back burner. “Worry about it later,” you say to yourself. But, later might be too late. We decided to address this issue, streamline our process and provide a better way for you to manage your maintenance and support contracts, one that would provide a number of benefits. This new and improved process involves co-terming and consolidating maintenance and support contracts for your business.
This is how it works. Each time a renewal is due for a particular manufacturer, we research all of our client contracts for that manufacturer, and find opportunities to consolidate contracts and co-term support so they’re left with a minimal number of contracts expiring on the same date. And as you buy or renew support for additional licenses, we work with you to add this support to your existing contracts, where applicable. If you purchase or renew support through CMA, we make it easier for you by consolidating and co-terming those contracts. On the other hand, if you have support not purchased or renewed through CMA, all we need is your authorization to request a copy of your inventory from the manufacturer. Then, we look for opportunities to consolidate and co-term this support with your existing CMA inventory.
With this new process, all of a customer’s contract renewal dates for each manufacturer can now be displayed in a single color-coded spreadsheet for easy access, called a Maintenance Renewal Inventory Report (MRIR). This report lists all current maintenance and support contracts purchased or renewed through CMA, including all pertinent information, such as description of support, contract number, serial number and support coverage dates. A MRIR can be described as a “snap shot” of your entire support inventory found in one convenient location. It usually takes me roughly one week to create a MRIR from scratch. Consolidating all of your contract renewals into one requires a little extra elbow grease on our end, but it’s well worth the additional time and effort, simply because we want the best for our clients. Our top priority is ensuring business owners have the continuous and technical support they need to run their business efficiently.
Both small and large companies rely on complex technology to keep their business operations running smoothly. A lapsed service contract can become a company’s worst nightmare and should be avoided at all costs. If your business experiences a technical glitch during a lapsed service contract, it can come at a high price. Through contract management, we make sure that’s avoided by monitoring your contract expiration dates and providing ample time for renewal.
Renewing your hardware and software maintenance contracts on time can reduce operational costs by ensuring that you receive the latest and greatest in technical maintenance and support, at any given moment. Of course, you’re going to invest in the best technology solution for your business. But, technology isn’t always perfect and you need a back-up plan to prepare for the unexpected. If your product fails, it’s imperative your business has immediate access to the resources needed to repair or replace it in a cost-effective way. Also, if you know your technology is supported before a glitch occurs, then you have a little something called peace of mind. With reliable support and your technology investments protected, you can get back to running your business. The way it should be.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about CMA’s contract management using consolidation and co-terming. Please email your concerns to Casey, Sissy or myself in the Maintenance Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Angie Welch, Maintenance Renewals Department Manager, CMA Technology Solutions