OEMs face tough competition and slim margins so they are continually looking for ways to reduce costs while still providing exceptional products and service to their customers. One of the more favored tactics for OEMs to accomplish this is to get as many of the required components to build or support their solutions from a single source. This breadth of offering (Single-Source Acquisition) is just one approach mentioned in the “The Top 10 Hidden Costs Experienced by Most Embedded Systems (OEM) Businesses” white paper that helps OEMs realize the use of distributors such as Bell Micro’s OEM division can simplify integration, provide for common support, and enable OEMs to provide better value at lower costs that can be directly passed down to their end customers.
Purchasing both server and OS together is one example of these bundled solutions that provide an inexpensive way to transfer licenses along with machines down to the end customer. Offered by a select handful of vendors (HP, Lenovo, and Dell) reseller kits can save OEMs a considerable amount of money as well as streamline support services. However those OEMs that want the convenience and flexibility associated with ordering and stocking, desire to maintain or improve customer satisfaction and still keep product acquisition, inventory, and support costs down, HP offers an HP-branded Microsoft Windows Server operating system as a Reseller Option Kit (ROK) for HP ProLiant servers.
While many others rely on the standard Microsoft kit, HP does stand out within this select group–owning their kits and offering considerable flexibility, value, and customization that others do not necessarily have and have not even bothered to offer.
For example, in response to high customer demand for earlier Windows Server versions, HP offers media inside their kits that supports and allows downgrade rights. No one else seems to be offering this. Rather competitors instead force customers to re-contact OEMs, incur additional charges, and wait for the media to be sent & received; ultimately prolonging the whole process. As you can imagine, obtaining this type of offering is anything but easy as Microsoft does not really want anyone to use prior versions of their OS.
The HP ROK removes much of the complexity from this process as it is part of the installation process of HP products. During installation the ROK simply checks the BIOS to verify the hardware is in fact an HP product which requires no licensing forms, no activation during installation, and no entering of product keys.
Worth noting for OEMs, usage of the ROK is the only licensing option that they can use to transfer their solutions to their customer. In other words, if OEMs were to use a different license like an open license or a volume license, it is actually a violation and negates the ability to receive any support from Microsoft. So the ROK is the only way to transfer the OS with a solution that the OEM is putting together.
The HP ROK also provides a consolidated support program. OEMs that purchase the ROK are given 90 days of free software and hardware installation support. This eliminates the finger pointing that can occur if a customer calls Microsoft and Microsoft responding by saying that it is a hardware problem and you should call HP or calling HP and it potentially telling customers the same thing. Instead customers can call one number at HP which would provide them access to experts on HP hardware as well as expertise on Microsoft’s OS as well.
For an OEM, HP ROKs are very compelling as they provide a lower cost alternative to purchasing hardware and software separately. HP ROKs are just another way OEMs can offer the exceptional benefits of a tested and certified Windows OS on a ProLiant server to help lower costs for their end customers as well as help lower the costs associated with product development.
But getting these kits into the hands of OEMs often takes the experience of a distributor that knows the ropes and has worked with HP in the past. OEMs can be better served by distributors such as Bell Micro who have key relationships with HP and can help these OEMs get to that next level quickly with any deployment issues. After all, Bell Micro has a well developed OEM program and has worked with ProLiant technology for years in either a distributor or reseller role. As such, Bell Micro is easily positioned to help OEMs purchase appropriate options and ensure speedy deployment of solutions.