University IT Professionals Face Special Challenges

Posted on May 19th, 2015 by Joel Nimar


Problems Within the ‘Ivory Tower’ Are Not Unique

In an effort to better serve our clients, Pyramid Technology Services recently conducted a survey among industry IT professionals regarding their primary concerns and common problems when dealing with computer resellers, IT service providers, and IT staffing. Today, I’d like to share some of those issues and comments from university IT professionals, but their concerns are not unique.

Dennis, an admitted “hardware junkie,” wrote: I shop specification — not price, but I’m inundated with resellers wanting to dump underpowered hardware on the university. . . . When I do raise the spec then the price point rises too sharply.”

  • As an independent reseller of new and refurbished servers, storage and networking equipment, Dennis, our approach involves forging relationships with a wide range of manufacturers and distributors, and we do not maintain a large inventory that we have to sell. Our highest allegiance is to you, our customer, and we pride ourselves on our ability to source the right solution at the right price, and to do it quickly to meet your needs.

Dennis also spoke about his surprise at the “lack of pure project management by service providers.” He noted that he expects “a full time ‘boss’ making sure my project is managed in the field.”

  • We address this concern at the outset, by beginning every project with a detailed discussion, followed by a comprehensive Statement of Work. Pyramid assigns an account manager who monitors the project regularly to make sure we reach client goals.

Another respondent, Dean, noted: “They (other providers) typically offer basic services that we already handle internally and the SLA is out of our control.”

  • Let’s face it, Dean, you need a vendor who will customize a plan to meet your needs. We at Pyramid do just that, whether your need includes hotline telephone support, onsite engineering, parts logistics or all three. We will customize the hours of our plan, let you mix and match service levels even at the same site with similar systems. Be sure to tell us exactly what your needs are and we’ll go to work to tailor our service accordingly.

Christopher, also a university user, wrote that prime concerns are “parts reliability, after-sales support (or warranty services), supply chain issues, . . . and pricing, pricing, pricing.” He also expressed his concern about “long term support vs. new sales,” emphasizing that he buys for the “long term,” and does not appreciate any attempt to “flip our investment into the next up sale.”

  • To those concerns, Christopher, let me say that we pride ourselves on our long-term relationships. Because we don’t support a large R&D budget, we keep our costs down so we can pass on the savings to you.  We have no reason to want to lead you to new products on a regular timed schedule. If you are satisfied with your equipment and your service, whether it’s a period of one year or five or more, we will do our best to maintain it even after the manufacturers stated “End of Life” or “End of Service Life.” Pyramid has no reason to want to “push” inventory that won’t meet your specific needs. We do our best to search out exactly the parts you need to meet your specifications at the best possible price. We maintain an open line of communication, and we urge you to communicate fully with our “point person,” not only your expectations for the equipment, but also your pricing requirements.  We also fully test our parts and systems, and provide you with a test report.  Every project has an assigned account manager who monitors progress and regularly assesses goals. It is always a two-way street.

Christopher also mentioned that he had no problems with IT Staffing firms because his university has a contract constraint which doesn’t give him the option to hire even part time, temp staffer for project work. This has been a problem for his department.

  • Hiring a contract worker can often make good financial sense for any organization. Sometimes projects are short term or a contract worker can have a skill set not currently available on the existing IT team. Contact workers are also good for roll outs and temporary projects.

If you are dealing any of these issues, and you do not feel that you are not getting the level of support that you need and want from your supplier, then give us a call to address your needs.

We want to hear from you! Please contribute to our survey question and we will send you a $10 Amazon gift card!

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