Today I thought I would talk about a subject that is near and dear to the hearts of most CFO’s. Money and budgets.
In the IT ARENA as it were all hardware has a lifespan.
- Desktops 5 years
- Laptops 3 years
- Tablets, PDA’s and phones about 2. *
HAM or Hardware Asset Management is close cousins to SAM or Software asset management.
Many that I deal with in this industry are loath to do either of these.
What seems so intuitive to a business minded person is out in left field to the IT Manager.
While most hardcore IT people will undoubtedly have the updated newest most magnificent PC at home, they will be loath to keep the hardware at work current. Either budgetary constraints, lack of planning on their IT staff, laziness or foolishness on managements parts while keeping the dinosaurs alive.
IT is a moving target.
One of my clients was experiencing a strange anomaly on one of their machines. I was there for other reasons, and they ask me if I had ever seen anything like it.
On occasion, the mouse pointer would change with some strange addition to it, making the original tip Indistinguishable from where it should be pointing.
Nobody has seen everything and the same is true for me. Offering my services, as they did not have the time for this, I did the usual stuff.
After hours of doing my routine including removing the hard drive and running scans on it outside of its operating system, the problem looked more and more like hardware. Faulty graphics adapter perhaps.
After moving the PC into the shop, the problem disappeared.
Going back to the work area where the PC was, under the desk was an old UPS. Taking the UPS into the shop and checking it out, I soon discovered that the sine wave of 60 cycles was anything but clean and, it was not holding the right voltages even though the battery was good. Upon further investigation, I learned that they had a routine of replacing batteries in old UPS’s and putting them back out.
Putting a new ups under the ladies desk, solved the problem. It was a $79 solution which should have been automatic.
I don’t want to go into the weeds here, but electronics have a lifespan. Things called MOV’s for one (metal oxide Varistor) are sacrificial devices that are designed to clamp power spikes keeping them from going downstream, in this case, into your PC and monitor. They have a finite lifespan.
UPS’s or Uninterruptable power supplies are insurance. When the battery dies, replace them.
Recycle them after you remove the battery and dispose of it accordingly. I would bet that all over every office building they have surge protectors that are no longer functioning. For the same reason, they too have an MOV across the 120V AC line. They die!
I have written about PC’s lifespan before, so I don’t want to repeat myself.
Hardware Asset Management protects the company in many ways.
You should never put an old machine at someone desk having them limp by with a clunker when they need a Corvette. The software today is memory and CPU intensive with the ever growing demands of anti-virus software and the numerous updates, it is worse.
Soft dollars are real. If you have employees that cannot work because their network is down, that is real money!
Employing a good software deployment strategy along with keeping the same model of machine in the business is wise, and worth looking into.
Software and Hardware management are critical pieces of a business strategy.
One client I had, bought whatever was on sale on New Egg. Support was a bloody nightmare and oh by the way, why do you think it is on sale?
Always purchase from a VAR, and build that relationship with them. You may need them one day!
Leasing vs. owning is worth looking into for many reasons. Bottom line, you change out the PC’s every few years, and you get the same PC to support throughout the company.
The clunkers end up on eBay and eventually, someone somewhere will be playing solitaire on it. Today’s Corvettes are tomorrow Clunkers, simple truth!
Depending on the size of your company software licensing needs to be evaluated and care taken to make sure that you are in compliance. An enterprise license is excellent to have if you are large enough. Software and licensing are evolving daily it seems, with lease being the operative word. Subscription services much like antivirus software is commonplace, ensuring a revenue stream for the developers.
Gone are the days of buying a box of software with a few floppy disk and using it forever.
I was visiting some friend when I saw an old 486 computer sitting on his mother’s desk.
My first computer was a Kaypro, and I went through the 8088 @4.7 mhz to GHz and beyond. To see the old 486 running with Solitaire on the screen and windows version three, you could see the mindset and how it evolved.
I recently trashed (recycled) a bin full of disks with programs, backups, and god only knows what all. The next week I tossed an entire bookshelf full of technical books from Novell to MSCE windows NT stuff. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours studying in the bin. SAD
Your PC is not too dissimilar from your car. You don’t buy it as a thing but as a resource. When your vehicle starts to spend more time in the shop than on the road, you trade it in. The same is true of your PC, Laptop and the rest.
Somewhere in my closet I still have a 16mg stick of memory that I paid over $500 for back in the early 80’s. $500 back then was a lot of cash. The stick of memory is nothing. What it did for me was why I bought it.
If you are not connected to the internet as long as you can keep your 486 running, and it does what you need it to do, it is viable. If you still have a copy of lotus 123, you too can relive the days of / .. 🙂
* 2 years on the average portable device is recommended because they are portable, and often dropped. If you budget 2 years, you can indeed budget correctly.
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