Indepth: Reducing IT Equipment Costs

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Reducing IT Equipment CostsIT equipment can often be one of the biggest expenses a company has. Purchasing and installing new or replacement equipment can make a hefty dent in your bottom line. So in these times, businesses will want to know how to reduce their IT equipment expenditure.

Here's what we suggest.

Renew equipment regularly. Computer equipment is reliable but it only lasts so long. If it has frequent usage (8 hours a day for 5 days a week) then it will start to get a bit creaky after two to three years and will not work as efficiently as you would like. Newer equipment needs less attention and you'll benefit from state of the art technology too.

The best way to approach this is to have a planned programme of renewal. If you budget a certain amount to spend every month or quarter you'll gradually replace all your equipment before it ceases to function, reducing down time due to faulty kit. You'll also be able to make decisions when you have time to consider it, rather than in a rush because your server has crashed.

Buy quality equipment. Why is there a price difference between suppliers for what looks like an identical specification? It's the quality of the components - not the things you can see but the things you can't, like chips, processors, connectors etc. Buying equipment with better quality components may cost more initially but it should last longer and need less attention.

Refillable printer cartridges. These may seem like a good idea but they often leak, causing irreparable damage to the printer. Unfortunately as you haven't used the manufacturer's recommended cartridges you won't be covered by warranty either, making it a very expensive economy.

Advice and assistance. Consult your IT or computer support company before you buy anything IT-related, even for small items. They should make sure you get the most appropriate item for your system and that it's installed correctly for your configuration, reducing the chances of any future call-outs. You don't have to buy from them, but you should listen to their advice.

Look after associated items. Software CDs and product keys are very valuable items so keep them guarded and protected. If you ever had to re-install your equipment and couldn't find these things you'd have to buy them all over again, which is a complete waste of money.

Think of IT equipment like a car. You keep it regularly serviced but expect that every so often a part will wear out and have to be replaced, like tyres or exhausts. You may also decide to upgrade some parts, like a satnav or CD system.

Buying cheaper parts or not having it regularly serviced from a dealer may cost less and will see you through, but it's a short-term saving as the parts won't last as long and they may cause additional damage. In addition, if you do the work yourself there's the time to install it rather than getting a dealership to do it. How much is your time worth to you?

We find that when we do a "greenfield site", i.e. we are responsible for sourcing and implementing all the technical elements of a network, we get very few call-outs. There's a lesson there.