For those in IT that are involved in data center operations or data center hardware/services procurement, this short blog is intended to define an industry niche commonly known as “Third Party Maintenance,” also referred to as “TPM.”

Quite simply, Third Party Maintenance is in direct reference to an industry that provides independent hardware support for post-warranty servers, networking and storage hardware. This industry (and the providers) have no formal affiliation with the OEM, but instead operate in the best interests of the hardware owner, often permitting hardware lifecycle extension strategies and dramatic reductions to support costs. The name of this industry, and the words “Third Party,” are best explained below:

• First Party – refers to you or your company, the owner of the hardware asset
• Second Party – the original equipment manufacturer
• Third Party – a party who is involved in some way in an interaction between two other parties. In the TPM case, as a service provider.

To spell it out: If your company is the equipment owner YOU are the first party – the party that has the most interest in a successful outcome regarding their owned equipment. As the equipment manufacturer, the OEM is then the second party – the party which has an interest in your satisfaction with the equipment, because their business model is predicated on your company getting value and therefore continuing to buy their equipment.

Once TPM is defined, the origins and value propositions would be a logical next question, wouldn’t you think?

Then there is the enterprising actions of an independent, motivated, third party – a party that provides a service that the first party is either unable or otherwise unprepared to accomplish themselves. And, who when compared to the second party, has an interest that frequently aligns more closely to the first party, at least in certain circumstances.

Let’ dwell on that last statement and concept for clarity: The second party is basically compelled to provide service during the initial warranty period so that the first party has satisfaction with the equipment, but otherwise the long-term service delivery is frequently contrary to their business model. Let’s consider that, the long term and effective service for equipment older than three years is NOT in the OEM’s best interest. Selling you NEW equipment every three years definitely is their business model. In contrast, the primary interest of the third party is a long-term relationship with the client. Providing high quality and high value service is the best way this can be achieved.

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