Author - Brent Eaton

Is IT Overrun by Competitive People? How to Keep Your Cool and Succeed

Is IT Overrun by Competitive People? How to Keep Your Cool and Succeed

A manager talking to an IT employee about his competitive work ethic.

A manager talking to an IT employee about his competitive work ethic.

Brandon is an IT manager at a Midwestern manufacturing company.  He is smart, enthusiastic and is doing what it takes to prepare himself to move up the management ladder at his company.  Even to the point of working nights and weekends, missing time with his family and friends.  He is concerned that one of his co-workers views everything as a competition and Brandon feels like this co-worker is always trying to make himself look good in front of the group’s VP.

Zeriva understands that IT managers face a lot of problems not necessarily related to the operation of the company’s fixed IT assets and networks. You deserve the resources you need to do your job.

Whether that’s information on how to be a better worker or manager or on how to implement your 3 year network upgrade plan.  Zeriva has been in business for 17 years and have helped literally thousands of IT departments.

Below is a quick overview of some of the things Brandon does to manage overly competitive people.

It can be frustrating when every task at your job feels like a competition. This is especially true if there is an overly competitive worker at the company who leaves you feeling as though your work isn’t good enough. Outside of work, if someone is overly competitive and not fun to be around you can just take your ball and go home. However, you cannot do the same thing at work. At least not without quitting your job. Even then, you could find that the competitive spirit follows you pretty much wherever you go.

There are ways of dealing with overly competitive people at work. There are mindsets that you can adopt that will make them less annoying. In this post, we’ll break down some of the reasons that you shouldn’t let competition feel like a bad thing and what you can do when employees take it too far. By the end of it, you’ll be prepared to take on the day and be a happier and more productive version of yourself.

Here are some things Brandon now knows about competitive co-workers and how to use them to his advantage:

  • The Good and the Bad of Competition
  • Dealing With a Competitive Manager
  • Dealing With a Competitive Co-Worker
  • Dealing With a Competitive Employee


The Good and the Bad of Competition

Healthy competition is a good thing for a work environment. Psychologist Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. explains, “Competitive people get things done and have much self-discipline, perseverance, and stamina, typically not giving up easily in the pursuit to be the best at whatever they are aiming for. Because competitive people are frequently very motivated and perform at a high level, they can often inspire others to function and perform to the best of their abilities as well”

The problem, she says, comes when people become so competitive that they are unable to turn it off. Indeed, there are times when a team needs to come together and work as a unit. Someone who is hypercompetitive may impede that from happening. This can have the opposite effect that healthy competition has, making the team less efficient and decreasing morale.

How to best deal with this depends on the competitive person’s relationship to you. Far different strategies need to be employed if the person is your boss than they do if the person is your employee. Let’s take a look at some ways to deal with overly competitive people from a variety of different relationships.

Dealing With a Competitive Manager

The power dynamics of dealing with a boss can make it difficult to work with them if they are hyper-competitive. While you may be able to talk things out with an equal co-worker, your boss will likely not be receptive to complaints about their demeanor. The job of a good manager is to be a leader. Managers that are overly competitive are not particularly good at being leaders, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help them along.

The first thing to do is to understand that it is rarely personal. The boss has a certain level of performance that they are expecting and you must try to match or exceed that performance. Pay attention to how your co-workers deal with the boss. Are there any that get along well with them? If so, try to emulate their demeanor and work ethic.

If none of the employees get along with the manager, then you can certainly attempt to be the first. Remember, the manager has expectations that their competitive nature has kicked into overdrive. Try to put aside your own perceptions of your performance and understand their perspective. Figure out exactly what it is they want from you and try your best to give that to them.

Dealing With a Competitive Co-Worker

If a co-worker on equal footing as you is being competitive, the first thing you must do is determine the nature of the competition. Remember, some competition is good. If your would-be nemesis is being competitive simply because he or she wants to be the best at their job, then you should see this as an opportunity to step up your own game. After all, your own career is only advanced when you show yourself to be one of the best at your job as well.

Sometimes though, a co-worker’s competitive nature gets in the way of teamwork. In these instances, you must try to remind the person that they are a part of a team. It can be as simple as responding to their competitive nature by speaking collectively. “That’s a great idea! It’ll really help us meet our goals!” is an example of the type of language that can gently remind them that their work is a team effort.

If that is not enough, and the co-worker is still not quite getting the hint and is bringing down the morale of the team, try being a little more direct with them. Remind them very explicitly, but politely, that you are all in this together and that things will go much more smoothly if you all work together.

Dealing With a Competitive Employee

As stated earlier, one of the key roles of a manager is to be a leader. If an employee is being hyper-competitive, it is likely because they are trying to get ahead. They want to advance in their careers, but their behavior is creating friction that will impede their advancement and act as a detriment to the productivity of everyone who works with them.

In other words, this employee needs guidance on how to best manage their career. This is the perfect time for you to step in and act as a mentor to them. Explain to the employee that you appreciate their enthusiasm. The goal is to get them to tone down the competition, not crush their spirit. After that, let them know that their behavior is too much and that by working more cohesively with the team they will be a larger benefit to the company, and therefore on a faster track for the advancement that they desire.

Learn More About Traversing the Competitive World of IT

Not having enough resources to manage your career and your network means that you can’t accomplish your goals.  It may also means that you have to work later or work nights and weekends; missing out on time you could spend with family and friends.  Zeriva works with IT Directors like Brandon every day.  Zeriva analyzes networks and recommends hardware and maintenance solutions that boosts performance and saves money and time.

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      Zeriva Pre-Owned IT Hardware

      Zeriva Pre-Owned IT Hardware

      Fortune 500 IT Solutions without the Fortune 500 Budget

      Cisco Buyers Guide


      1. Can I buy used Cisco hardware?

      Used Cisco hardware is available through a variety of channels.  High demand for these products is thanks in part to a tremendous product expansion and overall Cisco reputation.  This growth has resulted in a nearly $12 billion 5 secondary market for Cisco. The secondary market provides thousands of sellers of used equipment and connection with customers of all types.


      1. Who, what, where, when and why of pre-owned Cisco equipment:


      1. Who provides used Cisco equipment?
        1. Independent Cisco resellers (Secondary Market)
          Independent Cisco resellers typically offer a broad selection of Cisco products. They obtain used and new-surplus/surplus equipment from other sources. The breadth and depth of their inventories typically exceed current product availability through Cisco; and prices are usually very competitive and often well below new prices (potentially up to 90% off list pricing). A quality reseller maintains an extensive testing and refurbishment process (link to refurb process) that is backed by a warranty. Warranties may range from a product lifetime to only a span of 90 days. Alternatively, there are third party maintenance options that can provide both software and hardware support at discounts ranging from 30-50% less compared to SMARTnet.
        2. User-to-user Cisco resellers
          Companies (buyers) source used Cisco equipment directly from other users. These resellers are typically end users who sell products through auction sites like eBay.  Due to exponential growth and demand, there is a large volume of Cisco equipment for sale on these auction sites which provokes the old adage: buyer-beware. While price points can be enticing, there are risks due to unpredictable pricing, threat of sub-standard devices, no testing procedures, and lack of warranties and/or poor packaging. It is recommended that buyers research the product(s) and seller before making a transaction. It is wise not to rely solely on a seller’s rating, but it may provide legitimate feedback from the experiences of other buyers.
      • Cisco Authorized Value Added Resellers (VARs).

      VARs are authorized Cisco partners, and generally sell new hardware through Cisco’s distribution channels. They also have access to Cisco’s Certified Refurbished product line. This refurbished equipment is certified, and is “relicensed” by Cisco. SMARTnet maintenance is also available through the same authorized channels. There are two disadvantages that the VARs face when selling the Certified Refurbished product:  (1) availability is confined to distribution stock, and (2) the expected savings of a refurbished purchase may be nominal compared to what the potential buyer may find on the secondary market.


      1. What is pre-owned hardware?

      Pre-owned Cisco, or Pre-owned IT hardware for that matter, is hardware originally purchased by an end-user and resold to another party. The vast majority of this hardware is purchased new. There are a few industry standards to classify the condition of the hardware that is being sold. These standards can include:

      • Used: This is hardware that has been pulled from a working environment. The best description is the hardware you are currently using.
      • Refurbished: This is hardware that has been taken from a used stasis and tested, cleaned, completed and repainted. The end product you will find from a quality reseller.
      • New Pull: Hardware that has never been used but is not in the original package.
      • Factory Sealed or New in Box: New hardware that has never been opened. It’s in the same condition as if it shipped direct from Cisco.
      • New Open Box: This describes hardware that is in its original packaging. The serial number of the machine must match the label on the box, it has all the accessories and it’s never been used. Often times a reseller will power on test the machine to insure that it is in proper working condition
      • Certified Refurbished: This is the “re-man” brand from Cisco that we covered above.
      • Gray Market: Ah, the ambiguous “gray market”. We’ll discuss this OEM FUD favorite a little bit later.


      1. Where does it come from and is it safe to buy?

      Pre-owned equipment typically comes from several sources:

      • Lease Returns: Leasing of network equipment is big business. Because of this a large number of Cisco equipment hits the secondary market once its lease term matures. Most lease terms range from one to three years, the equipment is usually still current and in high demand with corporate IT departments. Reputable resellers partner with leasing companies and purchase it directly from them when it comes off lease.
      • Internal IT Refreshes: When manufacturers declare equipment end-of-life, end-of-service, or retired, many customers upgrade or replace hardware – even if the existing devices have many years of useful service remaining. Secondary market providers acquire the equipment and refurbish it to like-new condition, passing the value on to customers looking for used equipment that performs like new but costs significantly less.
      • OEM Trade-In Programs: The OEM often uses a trade in program to offer discounts on new hardware to customers. This hardware can be redistributed to the secondary market due to the OEM offering an inadequate ROI or the OEM reselling the hardware to the secondary market.
      • Manufacturing Overruns/Stock Rotations: Products that have never been used and are still in their original packaging. Independent resellers purchase excess inventories of equipment in bulk from distributors, corporate users and government organizations.
      • Bankruptcies/ Corporate Liquidations: Large quantities of Cisco products enter the secondary market at tremendous discounts as the result of mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies and corporate liquidations.
      • Canceled Orders: Equipment that was previously sold to a customer that couldn’t be returned.
      • Customers Like You: Much used equipment reaches the secondary market from customers like you who upgrade to new equipment or de-install network gear that no longer meets their needs.


      1. How long does it take for new Cisco technology to reach the secondary market?

      A large percentage of hardware that reaches the secondary market is generated by end of lease terms. The typical lease cycle is 2-3 years, but it is not uncommon to see a new Cisco product available on the secondary market within a few months after initial launch. This potentially could provide a budget break to IT Departments who properly leverage the secondary market. The secondary market is stocked with current and recent generation hardware, but especially so during a slow economic climate due to mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, and liquidations.  Another reason equipment makes it to the secondary market is because of purchasing errors.


       Why buy pre-owned?

      In today’s economy and given the inherent longevity and reliability of Cisco equipment, the question isn’t why buy pre-owned, but why not? When you purchase used Cisco equipment from a trusted and reliable used hardware reseller, you gain key benefits:


      • Cost savings: Depending on the generation of the hardware, savings can range from 50-90% off the Cisco list price.
      • Availability (parts and equipment): Maintaining your network no matter how new or antiquated is crucial to the entire enterprise. The availability of the secondary market is a major ally when a hardware or network component goes down; the impact on the entire enterprise is immediate and can adversely affect business and productivity. Some businesses still operate 5500 series chassis which were introduced in the Clinton administration! Resellers have a vast array of hardware and components available to them.
      • Speed of delivery: Rapid access to replacements from a reliable used-equipment vendor that can ship overnight or provide service within a couple of hour’s gets you back up and running in no time.
      • In House Spares: Often times having a spare on a storage shelf is a better cost alternative to a Cisco SMARTnet contract or even a 3rd party maintenance contract.
      • Quality: A reseller that provides rigorous testing detailed refurbishing and extended warranties can argue that they are providing a more quality product than that of a new unopened machine. These refurbished products have already been in the trenches and proven their dependability in a live network setting. One could make the argument that their technicians have more real world experience with the hardware than the theoretical practices of the OEM.
      • More Options: Most used equipment resellers offer both current and previous-generation hardware as options for the same project
      • Proven Reliability:
      • Better Fit: Newer doesn’t always mean better. Sometimes, proven equipment is a better choice for your business and your application. What’s more when new releases come to market, you may not need the new features. Why pay for them if you don’t need them?
      • Compatibility: Replacing an existing network component with the same model means there are no questions about compatibility – you already know it will work with the systems you have in place.
      • Minimal depreciation exposure: Just as it makes sense to purchase a quality used car (and let someone else take the depreciation hit), purchasing quality used network gear can minimize your exposure to depreciation.
      • Better warranty: While it may seem counterintuitive, you can often get a better warranty through a reputable independent reseller than you can through the OEM
      • Improved customer experience: Likewise, you’ll often get better, faster and more personal customer service from a leading independent reseller than from the OEM
      1. Is it safe to buy pre-owned equipment?

      Given current economic conditions, demand for pre-owned equipment is rapidly growing as network administrators look to reduce overall IT costs. The secondary hardware market brings together thousands of different types of resellers and buying organizations. Buyers include small, midsize and large businesses, Internet Service Providers, telecommunications and utility companies, non-profits, local, State and US government organizations, military institutions, higher education, schools, and any organization whose network administrators are looking to reduce network costs.

      Used equipment provides a viable alternative to new – if you buy from an established vendor with a proven track record. In many cases, resellers offer better after-sale support and more robust warranties than manufacturers or authorized resellers.


      1. Used Equipment: Separating Myth from Reality.

      Misperceptions about used network gear and the secondary market abound. Here are some of the myths about the secondary hardware market – and the reality.

      The myth: before buying, many customers were told that used/pre-owned equipment is:


      • Broken
      • Obsolete
      • Unreliable
      • Abused equipment
      • Sold by the previous owner because it didn’t work
      • Stolen
      • Counterfeit
      • Gray market equipment
      • Not intended for the US market
      • Not eligible for SMARTnet® support
      • Not maintainable
      • Not covered by technical support/TAC support
      • Without a warranty

      The reality: most reputable resellers only sell used equipment that’s in good condition, refurbished to like-new condition, backed by a warranty and rigorously screened for authenticity.

      In many cases, the leading independent resellers’ testing procedures for detecting counterfeit goods are more rigorous than OEMs, VARs or distributors. Most secondary marketers put products through extensive testing to ensure performance and authenticity. They also work with anti-counterfeiting organizations to keep counterfeit equipment out of the secondary market. They work diligently with Federal organizations like the FBI and ICE, a division of Homeland Security, to report stolen equipment. Zeriva uses an extensive testing platform that is 90% automated and computer controlled to ensure consistency.

      As for warranties, most secondary market suppliers offer warranties that are either longer or more robust than those offered by manufacturers or authorized distributors/resellers. Some offer lifetime warranties which can include the repair or replacement of hardware within days instead of the typical weeks or months that OEMs offer. Zeriva offers a Lifetime Warranty that is called the Forever Warranty.  We will provide coverage for you for as long as you want to keep the equipment in service.

      Finally, most reputable resellers offer extensive support performed by highly trained technicians who work with used equipment every day. Pre- and post-sale support encompasses maintenance, repair and even software support.

      Again, the caveat – if you’re going to buy used equipment, make sure you work with a reseller with solid credentials, a proven track record and a long-standing reputation for reliability, financial stability and quality.


      1. What is the difference between used Cisco equipment and gray market equipment? What is the gray market?

      Gray market products are legitimate products that are sold outside the designated sales channel . It is not counterfeit equipment. OEM’s have tried to marry the terms Gray Market and the secondary market to cause confusion and doubt with end-users. That could not be further from the truth. Used equipment is simply hardware that has been repurposed.


      1. Why is there a gray market?

      Primarily, gray market equipment exists due to a lack of control by the OEM over their distribution channels.  There are a variety of ways that they reach the secondary market:

        • Distribution overstocks – Manufacturers have too many products to sell within a short amount of time and can’t sell their entire inventory.
        • Canceled orders – The order is placed and then canceled and product enters the secondary market.
        • Geographical price differences – Hardware intended for one region may be sold in another region where the manufacturer may charge a higher price.
        • Canceled projects – The end user buys and pays for gear but doesn’t use it.
        • Bankruptcies – When companies declare bankruptcies and must liquidate, new or un-used equipment may enter the secondary market.
        • Sales promotions – Regions or distributors run promotions to move stock, often times sales reps will sell the equipment in the secondary market
      1. I’m concerned about counterfeit products – How do I make sure the hardware I buy is authentic?


      Counterfeiting is becoming a growing challenge as more OEMs move their manufacturing overseas.  All manufacturers are dealing with the challenge of counterfeiting, including luxury goods, clothing, small electronics, etc. While most resellers are legitimate, reputable and have strict anti-counterfeiting policies, others are not. AGMA estimates that counterfeit products account for some 10 percent of the overall IT hardware market. Fortunately, heightened awareness and better access to information are having an impact as organizations join together to ensure the integrity of the secondary market. Keep these tips in mind when shopping for used gear:

        • Only buy from reputable resellers who are members in good standing with anti-counterfeiting and trade associations and have proven track records.
        • If it’s too good to be true it probably is. New equipment at exceptional discounts should raise a red flag. A discount of 50-90% is standard for pre-owned equipment but not for new equipment
        • Buyers should be extremely cautious about buying networking equipment on eBay as it is very difficult to determine its origin.
      1. How do I know if a piece of used Cisco hardware is counterfeit?

      While visual inspection isn’t always an option – and it’s important to work with a credible source – look for these indicators that a product may be counterfeit:

      • Screws: Shiny with imprecise lines and a sandcast appearance.
      • Welding: Inconsistent, messy.
      • Serial Number Sticker: Sloppy letter spacing, serif typeface (instead of sans-serif), bar codes are not flush with the sticker edge.
      • RJ45 Connectors: Flush instead of finely extruded connectors with two (rather than multiple) metal attachments.
      • Board Points: The points on the main board are copper rather than silver.
      • Packaging: Inconsistent type, no seal identifying weight, low-resolution printing.
      1. Holograms: Missing holograms may be an indicator on newer cards. Especially if the card includes copper solder points, no embedded numbers or a red LED holder

      How much can I expect to save by purchasing used equipment?

      Typical savings are:

      • 50-90% off OEM list price for refurbished equipment
      • 40-60% off OEM list price for new/factory-sealed/unused/new surplus equipment


      Pricing in the secondary market is ruled by the principles of supply and demand. There are situations where pricing for a particular product could see a short term spike. In 2009, after Cisco had drastically scaled back production schedules, the ASA5500 firewall routers saw a large increase in price due to the high demand and limited supply. The shortage lasted around 3-4 months.

      1. What types of organizations purchase used Cisco equipment?

      Used IT hardware has been a booming business since the late 1960s.  Today, the secondary Cisco market is estimated at $12 billion 5 worldwide, serving organizations across the spectrum:

      Fortune 500 companies

      • Small and mid-size businesses (SMBs)
      • Government organizations
      • Telecom and utilities
      • Universities
      • K-12 school systems
      • Non-profits
      1. Isn’t new equipment better than used?

      Depending on the type of equipment you need for your network, the newest hardware may not suit your current infrastructure. In some cases, pre-owned equipment may actually be better suited to your needs by standardizing your current networking environment and reducing your costs.

      Benefits of purchasing used equipment from a reputable reseller include:

      • Quality control programs, maintenance programs and warranties mitigate risk.
      • Warranties are often longer and more comprehensive.
      • Proven compatibility with existing parts/components.
      • Used hardware has a superior functionality-to-price ratio.
      • Used hardware is proven and tested.
      • Reputable resellers offer established technical skills.
      1. Why does my Cisco representative discourage me from buying used equipment?

      Simply Put: Greed. There is the short term fear of losing commission and revenue but more importantly the long term fear of losing repeat business to a secondary supplier. Any sales rep worth his salt, regardless of industry, will disparage sales from another competitor. The fear of losing future business to a pre-owned hardware supplier is a legitimate one. Especially when your sales strategy has been centered on the concept of regular refreshes. Is it not funny that the features he/she was selling you on eighteen months prior are now no longer relevant? They discourage you because ultimately, they fear you will see the value in implementing a secondary market buying strategy to replace or supplement new hardware purchases.

      1. When is the best time to buy?

      There’s never been a better time to buy used/refurbished equipment. According to a 2006 study, the used hardware market for all IT products was over $300 Billion 5 Worldwide. Inventory is at an all-time high because of the current economic environment. If you’re looking to reduce core networking costs and divert capital to other aspects of your IT infrastructure or business, used networking equipment is an effective strategy.

      1. What qualities should I look for in a reseller?
        Reputable resellers share certain characteristics and credentials. Look for:
      • A good reputation and proven track record. Companies that have been in business for a significant period of time
      • A defined quality process for both the testing and refurbishing of hardware.
      • A detailed warranty that guarantees their products.
      • A defined anti-counterfeit position and process for identifying it.
      • Required accreditations and certifications.
      • Membership in good standing with trade associations.
      • References and customer list.
      1. What do the experts think of the secondary market?

      Many OEMs actively create obstacles for buyers of used equipment due to the rapid rise in demand and the emergence of thousands of resellers.  Here are some expert assessments of the secondary market:


      “Providers of secondary network equipment answer a market need for quality products at reduced costs. Network managers increasingly understand the viability of having an alternate procurement channel. The secondary equipment market is also providing a strong challenge to OEM maintenance and support in terms of quality and cost.”
      Eric Goodness, research vice president, Gartner Inc. 1

      “Put the secondary-market gear in operation when you have a problem,” says David Willis, chief of research at Gartner…”Same-day service costs about 20 percent more than next-day, so this strategy could cut your maintenance costs…”
      Gartner, April 2, 2007    2

      “Who’s buying used gear? Better to ask who isn’t. The customers of secondhand equipment range from small businesses operating on tight margins to Fortune 500 companies and global telcos.”                                                                                     InformationWeek, July 7, 2007   3

       “It’s a big deal for Cisco since probably 20 percent of their overall revenue comes from SMARTnet, and support and maintenance.” Resales are “totally legitimate, totally legal. Cisco hates it but there’s nothing they can do about it.”
      Mark Tauscheck, senior research analyst, Info-Tech, May 29, 2007  4

      1. What is the difference between certified pre-owned, Cisco authorized refurbished, clean serial number, new in box, new open box, refurbished and used equipment?

      According to the UNEDA [link here] Code of Ethics:

      Certified Pre-Owned:  Sold directly by Cisco or a Cisco-authorized VAR.

      -Cisco Authorized Refurbished:  Equipment restored to Cisco CARP standards.

      -Clean Serial Number:  The serial numbers does not appear under a Cisco SMARTnet contract.

      -New in Box (NIB):  Product is in same condition as if it came directly from Cisco.

      -New Open Box (NOB):    The box has been opened and the product is nearly the same as a new in box product.  Sellers should indicate if the inner static bag has been opened to test.  All accessories and packaging are in the package (like if purchased new).

      -Refurbished:  Equipment has been restored to good cosmetic and working condition.

      -Used:  Equipment has been removed from a working environment and resold (e.g. directly to a user site).  The product is operational; however, it comes with no guarantees in terms of cosmetic condition.

      1. What is the difference between a maintenance contract and a warranty?

      The difference between a maintenance contract and a warranty are:

      A warranty describes the conditions under, and period during, which the producer or vendor will repair, replace, or otherwise compensate for, the defective item without cost to the buyer or user. Often it also delineates the rights and obligations of both parties in case of a claim or dispute.

      A maintenance contract on the other hand goes the extra mile.   The primary difference between a maintenance contract and a warranty is the Service Level Agreement (SLA).  A maintenance contract is a predefined commitment to perform a service event within a certain time period.  In the networking environment there are two primary SLAs that are offered, 8×5 Next Business Day (NBD) and 24 Hour by 7 Day by 4 Hour response after problem determination. Maintenance contracts offer varying levels of advanced hardware replacement options from 8×5 NBD to a 4-hour onsite spares.  The options are all available 24×7, where our warranty is limited to 8×5.  If there is a component in the networking environment that goes down, and it is critical to the environment it will require rapid hardware replacement no matter what time of the day or what day of the week, that’s what a maintenance contract offers.

      A Warranty is going to ensure that the equipment that you buy from us is always backed, and after verifying that the hardware has failed a replacement will be sent, but if the hardware is critical to the operation of the network environment, a maintenance contract can ensure that you have expert assistance immediately.

      1. Are service and support options available if I purchase pre-owned products?

      A variety of services and support are available on pre-owned products.  Historically, OEMs deliberately made it difficult to purchase pre-owned equipment by not honoring software upgrades for products bought without maintenance contracts.

      To counter this deterrent, many secondary market sellers oblige with comparable, and sometimes discounted services.  Options may include asset management, installation/de-installation, maintenance contracts, network monitoring, on-site consulting, pay-as-you-go support and return material authorization (RMA) programs, technical support and warranty programs.

      • Asset Recovery
      • Installation
      • Technical Support
      • Maintenance contracts: Pre-paid, hourly time blocks with a variety of SLAs including phone and email support, next day hardware replacements and conceivable variants such as:
        • 8 x 5 x next business day
        • 24 x 7 x 4
        • Spares Program
        • Custom support
      • Rentals
      • Configuration Support
      1. Do independent resellers offer return policies?

      If a purchase is contingent on a company’s return policy, it is best to research the reputation of the seller, determine whether the seller has an established return policy and if so, familiarize yourself with the stated policy.  In many cases, reliable resellers usually offer a return policy that covers hardware failures or malfunctions upon receipt.  It is wise to determine whether the provider has established processes for detecting and troubleshooting faulty products, offers flexible shipping options and, if necessary, the form of reimbursement (e.g.  Refund as original payment).

      1. What warranty options are available for used equipment?

      Depending on the vendor the warranty can range from 30 days to Lifetime*. 

      *Lifetime – the actual terms of a lifetime warranty by provider. Typical definitions include:

      • One year advanced replacement
      • Five-year non-advanced replacement warranty
      • Warranty extends until the product is deemed EOL/EOS by Cisco
      • True lifetime warranty
      1. Do Cisco secondary market resellers offer installation services?

      Some secondary market resellers do offer installation (and de-installation) services.  Typically, top tier resellers offer installation.

      1. What forms of payment do secondary market resellers accept?

      Most resellers accept several different payment options.

      • Automated Clearing House (ACH)
      • Pre-Payment via: Company Checks, Cashier’s Checks or Wire Transfers
      • Credit cards (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, VISA)
      • Credit terms for qualified buyers.
      • PayPal secure payments.

      1 Sue Hetzel, United Network Equipment Dealer Association Announces Results of First Annual Survey Revealing Aggressive Growth in the Market for Pre-Owned Networking Gear, BusinessWire, July 11, 2007

      2 Phil Hochmuth, Cisco takes on ‘grey market’ equipment sales, Network World, April 26th 2007.

      3 Andrew Conry Murray, Used Tech Gear: Notes From The Underground, Information Week,  July 7th, 2007.

      4 Jeff Jedras, Cisco still trying to defend its aftermarket turf, itbusiness,ca, May 29th, 2007

      5  Trends in Secondary Computer Hardware 2006 to 2009, AME Research BV, 2006.


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        4 Things to Look for in Your ITAD Partner When Disposing of Surplus IT Equipment

        As the director of an IT department for a growing company, one of your key responsibilities is to select a trusted IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) provider. While this task may seem straightforward, the reality is that not all ITAD providers are created equal. Just one oversight or mistake by an inexperienced provider can compromise confidential records, result in costly fines, and jeopardize your company’s reputation as a trustworthy organization.

        Fortunately, you can help avoid these pitfalls by ensuring that the ITAD partner you choose exhibits some fundamental qualities that set them apart from the competition. From a strong focus on data security to the ability to boost your ROI on your IT assets, the ITAD partner you select should have a proven track record of success. Below is a look at some of the key challenges related to the disposal of surplus IT data and four things to look for in your ITAD partner.

        What Are the Most Common Challenges Related to the Disposal of Surplus It Data?

        “Large U.S. organizations have made major improvements in their information technology asset disposition (ITAD) practices this year, according to new primary and secondary research conducted by Compliance Standards LLC (CS). But an unsettled ITAD vendor ecosystem has raised concerns among ITAD services buyers, leading to reduced commitment from users.”

         Recycling Today

        Research on ITAD practices indicates that American businesses are improving their ITAD practices. However, researchers have also discovered that the ITAD industry encompasses providers that use unethical recycling methods. Other challenges include online selling of surplus data and a lack of focus on audit reporting. A recent compliance article in Recycling Today outlined these concerns, highlighting the need for improvement among ITAD vendors in the key areas outlined below.

        1) Adhere to the Highest Recycling Standards

        Safe, eco-friendly e-waste recycling should be a top priority for your ITAD partner. The partner you choose should offer solutions that comply with regulatory standards in your industry in addition to government compliance standards. The nation’s top ITAD partners are aware of all of the authorized disposal facilities in the United States and will ensure that your electronic waste is properly recycled or disposed.

        Failure to choose a partner with a focus on recycling standards can leave your organization at risk for costly fines and civil penalties. For example, Whole Foods Market California was recently found guilty of mishandling the disposal of electronic devices. They were fined $1.2 million for failing to properly dispose of their electronic waste and were required to provide extensive employee training on the proper disposal of hazardous and electronic waste.

        2) Timely and Accurate Audit Reporting

        Audits require just the right balance of efficiency and exhaustiveness. For example, reporting audit times should take no more than 10 business days. More importantly, the ITAD partner you select should be comprehensive in their review of your assets. They should utilize a proactive approach to avoid ITAD problems and should offer the following as a part of their auditing process:

        • A detailed review of all of your assets to identify opportunities for value
        • Verification of the serial numbers, makes, and model numbers of all of your equipment
        • A thorough review of your equipment to ensure you are receiving the highest possible value on your investment
        • Discuss the internal control mechanisms that you have in place to detect and prevent misuse of equipment and data

        3) Robust Data Security

        Choosing an ITAD partner with a flawless reputation for proper data removal is essential to preventing costly data breaches. The average cost of a data breach in the United States has reached a record high of $7.35 million, highlighting how vital it is to properly remove customer data. Secure data removal methods include shredding hard drives or using an approved Department of Defense compliant erasure software application.

        4) A Higher ROI on Your IT Assets

        Many IT asset managers are unaware of the potential for revenue that is directly related to their electronic asset disposition. However, an accomplished ITAD company that specializes in remarketing can help you enjoy a higher return on your IT assets. Here are some specific points of focus for a forward-thinking ITAD partner to help you enjoy a higher ROI on your IT assets:

        • Asset Tracking: The ITAD partner you choose should continually monitor all of your IT assets, keeping track of procurement dates
        • Timing: A proactive ITAD firm will help ensure that you liquidate your assets before they lose too much value
        • Logistics: Efficient logistics strategies can equate to thousands of dollars in additional revenue depending on the size of your business

        Finally, it is important to look for a partner that is experienced with the secondary market for Enterprise IT assets and endpoint devices. In contrast to generalist ITAD companies that typically dispose of assets with little or no resale value, ITAD companies with remarketing expertise can maximize recovery for remarketable assets. The end result is a healthier bottom line for your organization.

        Successfully Overcoming Your IT Asset Disposition Challenges

        Selecting a trusted ITAD partner is one of the most important decisions you will make as an IT Director. As outlined above, it is critical to carefully evaluate prospective partners to ensure that they have the experience, resources, and efficiency required to properly dispose of your IT assets. Additionally, the ITAD partner you choose should be sharply focused on helping you improve your ROI on your IT assets while generating disposal solutions that are environmentally-friendly.

        Learn More About What to Look for in an ITAD Partner when Disposing of Surplus IT Equipment

        Zeriva welcomes the opportunity to work with your organization to map out a customized plan to properly dispose of your IT assets. Our team of responsive, certified engineers is accustomed to disposing of IT assets for Fortune 500 companies and offer a comprehensive array of IT solutions for growing companies. Helping you enjoy a high ROI on your assets while complying with industry regulations is our top priority, and we offer an impressive track record of success in the remarketing arena. We look forward to the opportunity to serve as your trusted ITAD partner!

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        Is the Lack of an IT Budget Stressing You Out?

        IT Budget Stressing You Out?

        business office with it managers discussing financial qualms

        Is the Lack of an IT Budget Stressing You Out?

        As an IT manager for a growing business, your livelihood hinges on your ability to efficiently manage your network, business development applications, and security without exhausting your budget. Unfortunately, the cost of simply “keeping the lights on” now consumes 70% of the average IT budget. This can place undue stress on an overburdened IT manager. If your current lack of IT budget is stressing you out, it is a good time to seek the expertise of an industry specialist who can help you attain a Fortune 500 quality network even if your financial resources are limited. Below is a look at some of the key challenges facing IT managers, and how you can overcome those challenges by following a simple three-step plan.

        What are the Most Common Challenges Facing IT Managers?

        Today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape requires IT managers to contend with a mounting array of responsibilities. They are expected to provide field service and network connectivity solutions in addition to ensuring that Wifi, data centers, computers, and phones are functional 24/7. Sometimes these responsibilities can be more than an IT team can handle.

        What is the Key to Overcoming These Challenges?

        If you have stretched your IT budget as far as you possibly can, it may seem like you have hit a brick wall. At this point, the best step to take is to think outside the box and find an innovative solution that will help you achieve your goals while reducing expenses. The key is to seek the expertise of a specialist that understands exactly how your everyday challenges are contributing to your stress. Zeriva seeks to guide you on how to best capitalize on your strengths. By following our simple three-step plan, you can maximize your IT budget without feeling overextended.

        How Does the Process Work?

        Simplicity is the key to success when implementing an IT solution. Rather than navigating through the complications of working with an OEM, you will be on the fast track to cost savings and reduced stress in just three easy steps:

        • Step One: Send Zeriva your business objectives and key requirements
        • Step Two: Collaborate with Zeriva’s certified engineers and technicians to personalize a solution that meets your needs
        • Step Three: Implement your customized solution without high costs and stress

        Upon completion of these three steps, you can begin to refocus your energies on key IT priorities and meeting your business objectives. And if any questions or concerns arise after you implement the plan, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that Zeriva’s technicians are just a phone call away to provide guidance.

        What are the Benefits of Following the Plan?

        Small to mid-size companies in search of ways to maximize their IT budgets will enjoy a host of benefits by following the plan above. From cost savings to personalized support, the advantages of seeking guidance from a group that has already helped many organizations just like yours can be a difference maker for stressed IT managers. Here is a look at the top five benefits you will experience as you work with Zeriva to optimize your IT resources:

        1) Cost Savings of 50% to 90%

        “On average, companies spend 70 percent of their IT budgets just to maintain the current network and “keep the lights on,” reports IDC. The ability to reduce hardware maintenance and data center reports without compromising uptime is appealing, especially as organizations address IT megatrends encompassing security, mobility and the Internet of Things.”

        – NetworkWorld, IDG Communications

        You can choose from a variety of solutions such as refurbished IT hardware and field service support that can yield cost savings of up to 90%. This enables you to allocate additional help and guidance to areas of your department that desperately need financial support.

        Hands of businessman looking over financial savings for IT managers

        Hands of a businessman looking over financial savings.

        2) Customized Solutions for Enterprise Environments

        Your organization is completely unique in terms of its IT needs. Accordingly, your organization will receive a customized solution that reflects your specific needs for enterprise-level hardware and support.

        3) Stress-Free Implementation and Maintenance

        Relying on an OEM to provide equipment implementation and maintenance is costly and stressful for organizations with limited budgets. By partnering with Zeriva, you can enjoy a network that features equipment by leading providers like Cisco, Dell, and EqualLogic without paying exorbitant implementation and maintenance costs. You will also receive computer hardware and ongoing maintenance and support at a fraction of the cost that you would pay to work with an OEM.

        4) Superb Customer Support

        Swift access to sales support and service is the cornerstone of success for a five-star equipment provider. You deserve to be more than just a number when you require assistance. You receive swift access to live technical support from a highly skilled team of dedicated engineers, technicians, and support staff who are eager to help you achieve your objectives.

        5) A Delighted Executive Team

        Few things will excite your CFO and CEO more than the prospect of saving up to 90% on high-quality equipment and IT services. By presenting a solution that offers a combination of substantial cost savings and stellar customer support, you will succeed in delighting your boss and the entire executive team for your company.

        Are There Any Limitations to Consider?

        It is not uncommon for IT managers to worry about working with a non-OEM provider. In particular, you may worry that you might not receive the same quality of product or support that you would from an OEM. And the truth is that not all IT outsourcing companies are created equal. The key to overcoming this concern is to make sure that you choose a partner with the following qualities:

        • Industry expertise: Be sure to inquire about the provider’s past experience working with businesses in your industry
        • Impressive references: Providers who have worked with Fortune 500 companies are an excellent choice
        • Outstanding support: Make sure you choose a provider that employs certified engineers and technicians

        The Bottom Line

        Overextended IT budgets are a common theme in today’s rapidly evolving IT landscape. Fortunately, you can reduce your stress by implementing Zeriva’s simple three-step plan. We invite you to contact us today to find out why customers such as Ford, Fujitsu, and Hyatt entrust us to deliver cost-effective solutions to their IT teams. We look forward to providing guidance and support to help your IT department thrive!

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