Information technology (IT) industry executives detail proactive tips and solutions dealing with warranty abuse in a new whitepaper, IT Industry Warranty and Service Abuse, released recently by CompTIA, the non-profit association for the industry, and the Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement (AGMA).
It is the first study that sought to understand the warranty abuse problem from both the OEM and service provider point of view. This whitepaper is the result of a two-year study that included a survey of some 400 service providers and 15 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), group workshops and multiple in-depth interviews with industry thought-leaders.
“Systems for dealing with warranty abuse are evolving quickly, as the industry switches from being reactive, after the fact, to proactive,” commented Aaron Woods, director, NARS Relationship and Partner Programs, Xerox Corp.; CompTIA board member; and member of CompTIA’s IT Services & Support Community, which oversaw the whitepaper’s development. “There is increased collaboration between service providers and OEMs on creating robust management systems that confirm legitimate warranty claims without placing undue burdens on the service provider.”
The whitepaper identifies several best practices to help both solution providers and OEMs reduce warranty abuse and thus increase profitability, including:
• Use OEM controls for parts identification and implement clear end-user rules.
• Employ internal warranty claim administrators who monitor end-user and technician part usage and procedures.
• Use standard file formats to allow service providers and OEMs to communicate in “real time” during each step of the warranty process.
With a common platform for communication and standard file formats, every participant can work in their system or application of choice. OEMs and service providers can retain their independence while simultaneously leveraging the benefits of shared, timely information and business intelligence.
“We need to increase open communication and expand service provider participation with the manufacturer,” commented Sandy Ashworth, global director, channel relations and warranty, Unisys, and a member of CompTIA’s IT Services & Support Community. “OEMs also need to start pushing out engineering change notices and service advisories quicker, and give their service providers more key indicators.”
The whitepaper suggests that the next steps for the industry include developing standards for communicating the most common and relevant data elements needed for warranty validation, technician certification verification, repair event milestones, exception identification and error handling.
Angela Narvaez, director of brand protection strategy and program development, Hewlett-Packard, and AGMA board member commented, “Fraud prevention is really an ongoing process. We want to shift the paradigm from investigating events after the fact to preventing the fraud before it happens. Once certain abuses or over-ordering occurs, you can never fully recover the loss.”
The whitepaper combines market research on warranty issues with assessments of industry experts and reflections on common issues, best practices and emerging trends that have already started changing warranty processes with a direct financial impact. CompTIA contracted Zylog to conduct intensive industry interviews and use that feedback along with the other research data to develop the first draft of the whitepaper. With assistance from AGMA, CompTIA edited and published the whitepaper, and it is now available at no cost to CompTIA members through the Members Resource Center at www.CompTIA.org and to AGMA members at www.agmaglobal.org.
CompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT) industry. Its members are the companies at the forefront of innovation; and the professionals responsible for maximizing the benefits organizations receive from their investments in technology. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through its educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications, and public policy advocacy. For more information, visit www.comptia.org.
AGMA is a non-profit organization comprised of influential companies in the technology sector. Incorporated in 2001, AGMA’s mission is to address gray market fraud, parallel imports, counterfeiting, software piracy, and service abuse of technology products around the globe. The organization’s goals are to protect intellectual property and authorized distribution channels, improve customer satisfaction and preserve brand integrity. For more information, visit www.agmaglobal.org.