Sunday, 25 November 2012

Can we afford choice?

How often do we find ourselves in conflict? Someone wants something slimmer, lighter or prettier than the standard HP PC.  The argument has been rehearsed for more than ten years and is getting boring.  It's the total life time cost that matters.  Let's not squander our money on being different just for the hell of it.  

Here’s the data to show why standardisation is so much cheaper for the University in terms of total life time cost of running a PC, based on the most recent, very detailed, data from Gartner.

All these numbers are in dollars, but they make the point.

Key assumptions:

·         Desktop costs $972 with monitor
·         All PCs are replaced every four years
·         ‘Managed PC’ means there are tools, processes and policies for centralised management and the users cannot install software or change settings without involvement from IT
·         ‘Unmanaged PC’ means there are little or no management tools and the users can install their own software

Total four year direct cost of running a unmanaged PC: is $8,152 or 8.3 * initial purchase cost
Total four year direct cost of running a managed PC:- $6,896 or 7 * initial purchase cost

Saving per year per user is $296.  On an, estate of 3000 PCs this represents a saving of $888K per year for the organisation.

Gartner also has data for the additional ‘indirect’ costs of the time spent by users fiddling with their own computers in unproductive ways in these two scenarios. (Don’t pretend you haven’t done this!) The numbers are simply boggling then, with estimated total savings per year per user of $2,485 or $7,450,000 for 3000 PCs.

These are based on US labour rates so we’d come out a bit lower.  Nonetheless, the point is made.  We have to pursue the savings when we can, so that we can afford to do things differently for researchers when necessary, as it so often is. 

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