Keeping customers on firm ground

from Paul Timms, Operations Director of The MCSA Group – March 2014

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The decision by HP to enforce more rigorously their intellectual property terms in relation to firmware, is already causing some rumblings.

Some have already pointed out that the other major service providers do not have such a policy in place – not yet anyway – and small businesses will almost inevitably respond less than positively to the prospect of needing an ongoing service contract for simple software downloads, most of which are for fixing a problem.  No one wants outdated firmware in the field, but then no one wants to pay for bug fixes either.

Others have observed that bigger customers, who have a single service contract, will need to find a way to give access to their hundreds of technologists that need access to drivers. This could potentially lead to management issues for them in their environment, even if a multi-tiered login process is created that allows for hierarchical permissions for a single contract. It will simply feel like an unwanted and unnecessary administrative process.

Some have gone so far as to suggest that this is a case of forcing people to pay for coverage for an extended period of time to fix issues that HP failed to notice or resolve in a timely fashion.

It could get messy.

For our part, we respect the right of one of our major partners to pursue the strategy that they feel is right for their business. What we need to do is focus on taking care of our customers.

As many of our customers will know, we cannot supply any firmware as we are not the IP holder – this has always been down to the customer to provide and so this announcement does not change our relationship or nature of delivery with regard to our support of HP items.

However we are offering the following advice and guidance:

If the customer has an HP item under warranty or HP Contract (Carepack) then they have full access to the firmware for the unit.

Further to our substantial investment last year to become an HP ServiceOne Expert Delivery Partner we can offer our customers a firmware uplift service or a proactive firmware uplift service on any items they feel they require firmware cover on.

For example, if after 3 years there is a risk of instable infrastructure and the need for further patching, or that it is likely there will be a requirement for parts with the latest firmware on them, or there is simply discomfort about a current “Right to Use” status – then we would encourage a conversation about specific requirements around firmware access and deployment.

With firmware uplift we still act as the engineering service provider and we are able to access the correct firmware on behalf of our customers via a direct link into the HP delivery system. In the event of an issue the usual high standards of The MCSA Group care, attention and account management will be provided..

As part of our investment we have also achieved Platinum status with HP and proud to be 1 of 9 top HP resellers in the Enterprise market. This means we can provide access to the best possible HP deals and then add the warranty or carepacks to existing contracts to be managed under one roof.

It’s not for us to judge the actions of others, but we will always try to react positively and ensure our customers have the best solution for their needs.