OEM Reseller Support, Secondary Reseller Support, and Pure Third-Party Maintenance — What’s the Difference?


Parker September 26, 2017

There are a lot of terms tossed around with regards to IT hardware support, as various types of providers try to distinguish their business model and offerings from others.


Of course, the baseline is OEM support, the warranty and enhanced support contracts offered by the original equipment manufacturer and usually well branded. But these are far from the only options. Here are some others.

OEM Reseller Support

If you’re among the vast majority of customers purchasing IT equipment through an OEM-authorized reseller or channel partner, you may have purchased OEM reseller support. Some support contracts bought through channel partners are straight from the OEM, with service delivered by the OEM. But other partners operate what Gartner describes as “co-delivery or collaborative support, where the end-user customer calls the partner for support, and the partner still contracts with the OEM for Level 3/backline support.”

A distinguishing factor is that in both OEM contracts and OEM reseller support, the OEM is getting paid.

It is worth noting that some OEMs reward or incentivize their authorized channel partners based on their ability to limit use of Level 3 support, which is delivered by the OEM itself. This can mean that the much-touted “access to the OEM” for engineering expertise can be a blessing or a curse. Customers may benefit from an ability to contact someone on the inside, but they are just as likely to be discouraged from escalating issues to Level 3. In this way, many premier third-party maintenance providers may be preferable if they have a policy of immediate escalation to Level 3 engineering, as Park Place Technologies does.

Secondary Reseller Support

Although it sounds a lot like the OEM reseller support, secondary reseller support is a form of independent, third-party maintenance. It is provided independently of the OEMs and may go by one of many terms: third party maintenance (TPM), alternative maintenance, or (when the OEMs are being disparaging) unauthorized maintenance.

Secondary hardware resellers were finding that customers were interested in additional services, such as spare parts management, and many have added such offerings as a new revenue stream. Without the need to pay the OEM, they can usually offer some good discounts. As we cover in our TPM comparison, few have field engineers, however, so you’ll likely be working with various subcontracted partners.

Pure-Play Third Party Maintenance

This is the field where Park Place Technologies plays, as an independent TPM provider without any interests in hardware sales. These providers tend to offer the most robust maintenance contract features and do more of the work in house, from spare parts management to field engineering and Level 3 support.

This is definitely true of Park Place Technologies, which operates over 100 spare parts depots around the globe, offers immediate escalation to Level 3 support with no questions asked, and maintains an extensive network of field engineers we directly employ, train, and monitor. These advantages are a big part of why we beat even the OEMs in spare parts quality and first-time fix rates!

But don’t limit your research to this blog. You can grab the Gartner 2017 market round-up, which covers all of these terms and gives an overview of various providers. We’ve making complimentary copies available through this link.


About the Author

Parker, Park Place Assistant