Data Center IT Hardware Maintenance RFP Content that Yields Accuracy & Completeness from Your Responders

By Therese Williams, Top Gun

Sourcing and Supply Chain departments, working in collaboration with their internal IT partners and business partners, can drive significant savings by structuring a formalized vendor evaluation (RFP/RFI) process that is well-aligned with business and technical requirements. With Top Gun’s decades of experience in responding to Hardware Maintenance RFPs, RFQs and RFIs, we can confidently recommend necessary details that enable independent, Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) and hardware support providers to develop more accurate and complete responses to RFPs.

Beyond the questions that you will include in your RFP that evaluate a vendor’s technical capabilities, your background and configuration details become foundational in avoiding these (3) common pitfalls:

  • Receiving multiple “no bid” responses due to missing configuration details
  • Encountering “surprise” pricing increases after contract finalization
  • Receiving responses that solely focus on price over total partnership value.

First and foremost, gathering detailed asset configurations, including internal components, are foundational to all independent/TPM hardware support providers. Unlike OEMs that can retrieve your configuration details within their warranty system, independent support providers must rely on the information you provide in your RFP. At a minimum, work with your internal IT team to gather asset details, including:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Serial number
  • Physical site address
  • Desired SLA
  • Number of processors
  • Type of processors
  • Amount of memory
  • Quantity and capacity of disk and tape devices
  • Number and type of adapters
  • Details on attached external devices
  • Internal third-party components
  • Date of warranty expiration
  • Start/end dates of coverage
  • Annual or multi-year term
  • Annual incident data by device
  • SLA requirement for each asset
  • Planned refreshes/upgrades

In addition to asset configuration details, helping respondents understand your current and future-state plans will allow their responses to be more targeted to your needs. For example, sharing your asset lifecycle roadmap will provide essential information to providers that can enhance their response by including total asset lifecycle solutions. Consider including these items to help your providers respond with a total solution that increases overall value of their partnership with you:

  • Include your company’s overview and growth objectives
  • Share functional org charts that show how IT aligns to business units
  • Note whether there are any mergers and acquisitions in progress or planned
  • Explain if you’re leveraging any other service providers in your environment that will interface with your hardware support provider
  • Provide a high-level diagram of your overall hardware and application architecture
  • Include a 1–3-year roadmap of your planned infrastructure changes
  • List strategic transformations that are in progress or planned
  • Provide a list of your ITSM (and management) tools that you would like to digitally integrate with your chosen provider
  • Explain whether you require special billing codes to support internal chargebacks
  • Provide timelines for your decision-making process and onboarding goals
  • Describe any site access and compliance requirements such as background checks, or other regulatory requirements related to data erasure and part disposition/retention
  • Define any self-maintenance ongoing in the environment and how you manage your own inventory. For example, state whether you need parts-only or full support for each asset type.

(Tip: Do not assume that SLAs must be identical to your OEM’s SLAs. Independent support providers often have more flexibility on SLAs and can better tailor their offering.)

As a global independent support provider, Top Gun consults clients on how to achieve significant cost savings and service improvements by optimizing their global support strategies. In doing so, we often encounter clients that may not be aware of their third-party hardware support alternatives, especially if they have relied on standard OEM-based warranties and shorter refresh cycles. If your goal is to extend the useful life of your data center hardware investments and identify your ideal service partner, then it will prove beneficial to invest the time to capture the above details as you build your maintenance RFPs. For a more comprehensive guide to building your IT hardware maintenance RFP, click here to review, Prevent Unforeseen Risks by Asking “Sharper Questions” of your TPM/Independent Hardware Maintenance Providers.

To discuss how TPM can serve your business initiatives, visit us at: Please know that I welcome any new LinkedIn connections and inquiries!

Blog Author Details

Therese Williams

EVP, Global Alliances & Strategic Initiatives

Top Gun

Therese’s LinkedIn Profile