I was having a discussion about our business the other day with a friend and customer in New Jersey. We talked about the big storage vendors and how they try to get back charges for what they term ‘catch up support’; that is, they expect you to pay the service fees from the last time the systems were under support to the current time. This can run to several hundred thousand dollars for big storage system and really bothers customers. We joked, laughed, and wondered what kind of company thinks that aggravating customers is a good way to create customer loyalty. But the reality is that these vendors believe that they have their customers trapped into their smokestack solutions, and in the information age this is no longer true.
Zerowait is in the enterprise storage support business, and we have customers around the globe that depend on our service and support expertise. We are known as experts in NetApp equipment, but we have our own SimplStor product line also. The internet and the information age it has spawned allow us to be a global company in the niche of 3rd party NetApp enterprise storage and support. This niche is populated by customers looking for optimum value, with many looking for an alternative to NetApp for their large data storage requirements that are not tier one, but still require enterprise level service and support. These two markets both require personal relationships and outstanding technical support and the customers appreciate the honesty of a service contract that doesn’t penalize them for lapses in support. Our approach is to replace what is broken and cover the system; it seems to make sense to our customers around the globe.
The transition to an information economy is happening quickly, and businesses that are using the vertical integration of smokestack production models are going to have to adapt or they will slowly wither away. Hardware is a commodity, outstanding service and support depends on expertise and personal relationships. And those can’t be commoditized.