As we onboard new clients, we educate them on the power of standardizing their hardware and the financial benefits of doing so. By standardization, I don’t mean every user at My IT has the same computer or every person in your company needs the same devices, but you should be able to create groups of users that have similar needs. For example, an engineer needs a more powerful computer than someone in administration because the engineer runs CAD programs that take up a lot of memory and storage. Also, a mechanic or someone working in the field needs a durable laptop while that engineer will prefer the speed of a desktop model. Creating a few basic user groups or profiles allows you to standardize your hardware while still giving each employee the right tool for the job.
- Efficient Support – Since the computers and peripheral devices are the same per user group, supporting them becomes more efficient and economical because there are less variables. We see similar issues occuring more often, so we can create proactive measures to prevent future problems and we create documentation about the devices. Similar devices lead to less mistakes and allows your IT support team to master one thing instead of struggling to support dozens of variables.
- Similar Software – Many companies struggle with a mix mash of software and operating systems. A good IT firm can help (and should insist) your company standardize your hardware to ensure it can run the user’s software and that updates are made consistently to continue to have efficient support.
- Security – Knowing all the hardware is standardized makes it easier to continually make security updates and to audit patches. One of the easiest and most effective cybersecurity measures to take in order to protect your company is updating your software to remove known security risks.
- Manageability & Forecasting – When you standardize your hardware, you can forecast future expenses, such as needing to replace 10 computers every year instead of buying a computer one month, then none for a few months, followed by purchasing five computers. Reactive purchasing makes it difficult for controllers to get a handle on expenditures.
- Better Pricing – When you purchase multiple computers, you can get a better deal on each computer. Additionally, getting the same computers can make that discount even better and you can forecast the anticipated price more accurately.
- Customization is Costly – On the flip side, customizing each computer costs more money not just on the initial order, but also slows down the ordering process and makes errors more likely to happen. Additionally, it slows down support and can lead to problems down the road.
- Easier to Order – Because you have a predetermined standard, ordering is as easy as requesting your IT support team to “order me five engineering computers, two field laptops, and six admin workstations”. Conversely, without standardization, you and the people ordering the computers will spend hours researching options and going back and forth on configurations. Obviously, specifications change for computers as they get faster and other technologies change, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.
- No Office Politics – When you create a standard for all users based on job type, you don’t have to worry about one team member getting a better computer than someone else and the office drama that ensues when this lack of standardization happens. If you’ve ever worked for a company where people ransack an office after an employee leaves for “all the good stuff” like their office chair, lamp, or monitor, then you know what I mean.
- Hot Spares & Built-In Inventory – When you have a standard device, it is cost-efficient to have an extra “hot spare” on hand in case a computer dies, gets infected, or you have an emergency (or even a quick new hire). When you customize each workstation, you will never be inclined to have a spare one because you don’t know what you will need to order next. Additionally, a good IT firm may keep an inventory of standard computers they order for a multitude of clients, just in case.
Furthermore, standardizing your hardware makes training your employees easier (and cheaper) because everyone is following a similar process. In the end, a homogeneous environment is self-contained and stronger because of the commonality and consistency. A good IT firm can advise you on creating standardizations for your hardware and work with you on creating a proper life cycle management plan to ensure you’re getting the best ROI possible.