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3 Methods for Managing Your PC Budget

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Most Costs Related to PCs are Hidden

PCs and associated costs are some of the least tracked technology expenses. Many times PC Cost Management is simply the result of activity. Or seen as a hopeless goal driven by the whims of random chance. When this is the case, the real costs remain unaccounted and hidden.

This article will illustrate the decisions and costs associated with purchasing and replacing PCs. We will elaborate upon the 3 most popular methods for controlling those costs, pros and cons of each, how to select the right method for your company, and advice for getting the most from each method.

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3 Methods for Managing Your PC Budget

  1. 1. 3 Meth od s for Man ag i n g You r PC B u d get The Differences B etween:
  2. 2. M O S T C O S T S R E L A T E D T O P C S A R E H I D D E N PCs and associated costs are some of the least tracked technology expenses. Many times PC Cost Management is simply the result of activity. Or seen as a hopeless goal driven by the whims of random chance. When this is the case, the real costs remain unaccounted and hidden. This article will illustrate the decisions and costs associated with purchasing and replacing PCs. We will elaborate upon the 3 most popular methods for controlling those costs, pros and cons of each, how to select the right method for your company, and advice for getting the most from each method.
  3. 3. T H E 3 M E T H O D S The tasks required to restore or replace a user device (PC or other) is dependent upon the method employed. Each method incurs different expenses and results in different levels of productivity. An Expense and Productivity comparison determines which method is right for you.
  4. 4. METHOD 1- This is non-management; essentially wait for them to break. Then diagnose the problem(s) and decide whether to repair or replace.
  5. 5. M E T H O D 1 - While many companies may have an "IT Guy" or a Power User on staff who stands in when crisis occurs, DIY Network Maintenance is almost never undertaken by companies at this level for good reasons; substantive PC and Network Maintenance requires specific technical competencies, toolsets, and some amount of scale to be cost effective. For ongoing PC maintenance, companies may utilize outsourced maintenance resources; either in a simple break-fix capacity (it breaks, you call them) or in a proactive managed capacity with or without emergency response factored into the monthly agreement.
  6. 6. M E T H O D 1 - PROS • This method provides the lowest monthly operating budget. CONS • If you wait for them to break they will. This is a classic exchange of risk for expense. In this case the risk is operational; productivity and cash flow. Despite calling it "risk", PC downtime will happen - the productivity losses and cash flow hits are real. • Regular and recurring unbudgeted technology expenses. • All PC problems become emergencies; surprises that result in a total inability to work for somebody that require a great deal of immediate attention to remediate. • Long before a PC breaks it has become marginally useful. Impacting productivity and bringing with it attendant risks to security and data integrity.
  7. 7. METHOD 2- The scheduled replacement of PCs.
  8. 8. M E T H O D 2 - For ongoing PC maintenance, companies may utilize outsourced maintenance resources; either in a simple break-fix capacity (it breaks, you call them) or in a proactive managed capacity with or without emergency response factored into the monthly agreement. While some companies who Refresh may be large enough to have an IT staff equipped and capable of providing comprehensive IT services to the organization, most utilize limited IT staff or outsourced IT services. The number of PCs in the organization divided by the number of years a PC is expected to last; usually 3 to 5 years depending on your number of employees, use cases, and financial goals. The quotient is the number of PCs replaced each year. A typical program replaces the oldest PCs on an ongoing, monthly basis.
  9. 9. M E T H O D 2 - PROS • Planning ahead allows organizations to cost effectively recapture the largest piece of user productivity lost to the Rebuild Method. • Improves cash flow and capital expenditure planning. • Eliminates the negative impact of regular PC related fire drills on the organization and IT department. • Improves the IT department's ability to staff and execute to plan. • Helps to normalize IT related expenses month to month; a more dependable budget. • A foundational requirement for a secure network. CONS • This is capital intensive. • You are financing rapid obsolescence. Unlike investing in people or process, hardware doesn't become more effective the longer you use it. • Use of current applications and operating systems is tied to the PC being up to date (able to meet specifications). • PCs are inflexible; effectively not modular; can't be reconfigured for new users with different use cases / workloads. • Predetermined Refresh schedules cannot anticipate developments in PC technology; new operating systems, application requirements, use cases, connectivity technologies,… • Refresh schedules can't account for changes in business requirements that result in changing work roles requiring different computing capabilities. Up to 100% of your existing PCs may need to be evaluated, reallocated and replaced to meet the needs of changes in your business. • A large percentage of your employees are working with years old computers. The oldest computers generally function at the lowest efficiency and with highest risk of being compromised.
  10. 10. METHOD 3- Separate the user device (PC) from the operating system (OS).
  11. 11. M E T H O D 3 - While some companies who use Virtual PCs may be large enough to staff and equip an IT department capable of providing comprehensive IT services to the organization, most choose to staff for only a subset of all IT functions. Virtual desktops can be purchased as a service which eliminates the need to have your IT staff maintain and repair PCs. Replace the OS with the same or newer operating system running in a remote data center. This eliminates the reliance on the PC as a precondition for the OS to function well (or at all). It also eliminates the need for ongoing PC maintenance expenses and related outsourced services.
  12. 12. M E T H O D 3 - PROS • Eliminates the overhead of repairing or replacing PCs; the cost of ownership • Organizations are not forced to choose between trying to recover depreciation from IT assets and a need to realign behind new, emergent business realities. • Repairing a broken PC is a simple matter of plugging in a pre-configured thin client; no setup required. • Replacement of the existing PC is only done when the PC finally fails; allowing for your existing investment in PCs to last up to many times longer than you currently plan. • Future needs and exigencies are easily accommodated with simple virtual resource changes. Instead of physical resource changes i.e. New PCs. CONS • Virtual PCs work best when the application servers are located in the same data center as the hosted virtual desktops. Or SaaS.
  13. 13. TERMINOLOGY It is useful to think of the PC as two main components; the physical user device (PC) and the Operating System (OS).
  14. 14. THE PC The PC provides the physical computing and network capabilities the OS needs in order to work. It is the box and the hardware components inside it.
  15. 15. THE OS The OS provides a digital workspace; a place for a user to access and view several applications at the same time in order to create their work product. The OS also provides a locus for user access control (network security).
  16. 16. DEVICE COMPARISON User Device – Cost - Lifespan
  17. 17. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | U S E R D E V I C E The most common corporate user device for computing is the "desktop" or personal Computer (PC). Newer methods for providing users with PC functionality have made solid state devices (called Thin Clients or Zero Clients) an increasingly popular choice for business.
  18. 18. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | U S E R D E V I C E Wait until the PC has a catastrophic failure, diagnose the problem(s), and replace if necessary. Since everybody covets a new PC, more often than not, this results in a shuffling of PCs such that multiple PCs end up being reconfigured before it is all over.
  19. 19. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | U S E R D E V I C E Replace a large percentage of PCs each year before they fail. This becomes cost effective when a company has enough PCs (employees) to recover the expense with the improved stability and productivity. Or when having an employee who can't work for a couple of days is more expensive than the monthly cost of Refresh.
  20. 20. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | U S E R D E V I C E The major change with a Virtual PC management strategy is that the user device is no longer a PC. You can use less complicated devices like thin clients; which are much less expensive, vulnerable, and prone to failure.
  21. 21. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | C O S T The price of PCs has been coming down over the years, so they are generally considered to be cheap. But like every commodity item, there is a big range of quality and price. And PCs don't come ready to use. These days, the largest cost of a new PC is the labor required to make it ready.
  22. 22. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | C O S T These PCs tend to come from big box retailers who have stock on hand because it makes no sense to keep spares. They also generally lack most (all) of the features that improve management, recoverability, security, and other PC and network management operations. They are less expensive to buy as a result. But also compound the cost of installation, management, and repair. So the cost of actually putting one into service is not lower.
  23. 23. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | C O S T Always replacing PCs means there are new PCs on hand when one breaks. These PCs tend to come from major online providers and companies might even have a direct account themselves. They also tend to be more robust PCs with more management and security features. Which cost somewhat more to purchase but reduce the lifetime cost of ownership through lower management (labor) costs.
  24. 24. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | C O S T Replacement user devices will be Thin Client. Thin Clients aren't as complicated so they cost less and last longer. And because they can be completely pre- configured they require minimal time to install; which all but eliminates the most expensive part of the cost of a new user device.
  25. 25. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | L I F E S P A N PCs are complicated devices when compared to thin clients. So they break more often. And well before they break, they succumb to a digital sclerosis that slowly chokes the life out of them.
  26. 26. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | L I F E S P A N Get the fullest possible lifespan from a PC by waiting until the PC breaks before replacing it. Ignore most individual PC problems until they become unavoidable. Employ work arounds and other non-permanent solutions.
  27. 27. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | L I F E S P A N PCs are scheduled for obsolescence. Usually a company will pick 3, 4, or 5 years within which to replace all of their PCs and budget to replace an equal number of PCs every month starting with the oldest ones first. This may also result in a shuffling of PCs if job roles or workloads have changed significantly enough over time.
  28. 28. D E V I C E C O M P A R I S O N | L I F E S P A N Alleviates the need for a physical PC; so thin clients are the device of choice. Thin Clients are solid state devices designed to last in excess of 10 years with exceptionally low failure rates. They are replaced as they break. This works well because they last so long and it is cost effective to keep spares on hand or ship them quickly. And since thin clients are completely pre-configured, installation becomes a simple matter of plugging them in.
  29. 29. OS/DESKTOP Cost – Reusable – Lifespan
  30. 30. O S / D E S K T O P | C O S T Operating Systems are what make PCs work; without an OS, PCs are inefficient space heaters.
  31. 31. O S / D E S K T O P | C O S T Typically the OS is purchased bundled with the PC. Companies choose between what is readily available; so they tend to have a wide variety of different operating systems used in their business.
  32. 32. O S / D E S K T O P | C O S T Companies may have their own volume licensing agreement or they may purchase on a monthly basis for the license. This requires license management and inventory job functions and systems.
  33. 33. O S / D E S K T O P | C O S T Because the virtual PC is provided as a service, the operating system is included in the price. There is no separate licensing or management requirement.
  34. 34. O S / D E S K T O P | R E U S A B L E Operating System licensing is complex. There are a lot of different ways to buy OSs. A licensed copy of an OS is not always reusable.
  35. 35. O S / D E S K T O P | R E U S A B L E Because the operating system is usually purchased bundled with the PC, it cannot be transferred to another PC. So each time another PC is purchased another license for the operating system has to be purchased as well.
  36. 36. O S / D E S K T O P | R E U S A B L E These companies tend to have licensing relationships that allow the OS to be reinstalled from an old PC onto a new one; either in a perpetual ownership model with upgrade rights or as a monthly fee that can be changed on a monthly basis.
  37. 37. O S / D E S K T O P | R E U S A B L E In this model the OS is delivered as part of the service so there is no separate licensing issue. Each virtual PC can be turned on or off as it is needed. You don’t reuse licensing, you don’t waste licensing, licensing is included for those PCs that are on.
  38. 38. O S / D E S K T O P | L I F E S P A N The lifespan of an Operating System is up to the software companies. With the release of Windows 10, both Microsoft and Apple are now on continuous update models. Another driver of OS lifespan are the applications you use. The latest versions require the latest Operating Systems.
  39. 39. O S / D E S K T O P | L I F E S P A N When the Operating System is locked to the physical PC (see Reusable above), this tends to limit the useful lifespan of the OS. It also tends to incur upgrade costs.
  40. 40. O S / D E S K T O P | L I F E S P A N With older, perpetual licensing agreements the Operating Systems can usually be switched to new PCs but also tend to incur upgrade costs. With newer subscription based licensing agreements, it is relatively simple to license a newer OS, so companies will tend to replace more regularly.
  41. 41. O S / D E S K T O P | L I F E S P A N Support for new Operating Systems is a feature of virtual environment you use. Support for the latest OSs is relatively common. So typically the choice of Operating System is determined by software application requirements.
  42. 42. PRODUCTIVITY Avg Lifetime Performance - Downtime
  43. 43. P R O D U C T I V I T Y | A V E R A G E L I F E T I M E P R O D U C T I V I T Y Operating Systems benefit from being periodically reinstalled fresh. The other way of saying this is that Operating System performance slowly degrades over time; and takes the productivity of the user with it.
  44. 44. P R O D U C T I V I T Y | A V E R A G E L I F E T I M E P R O D U C T I V I T Y When you wait for PCs to break, the range of productivity you get is from 100% to 0%; with most of the time spent near the middle of the diminished capacity range.
  45. 45. P R O D U C T I V I T Y | A V E R A G E L I F E T I M E P R O D U C T I V I T Y The goal is to replace the PC after the capital expenditure is recovered (depreciation) but before they actually fail. When combined with a better class of PCs, this results in a significant increase in overall user productivity compared to Rebuild.
  46. 46. P R O D U C T I V I T Y | A V E R A G E L I F E T I M E P R O D U C T I V I T Y Since the OS is virtual it can be refreshed much easier; so they are refreshed more regularly. In the Rebuild and Refresh methodologies, a new OS is put off until it is unavoidable; well after it could have been justifiable. In the Virtual method, new Operating System installs are common as a remediation and preventative step.
  47. 47. P R O D U C T I V I T Y | D O W N T I M E When a PC fails, how prepared is the company to replace it?
  48. 48. P R O D U C T I V I T Y | D O W N T I M E Spare PCs don’t make sense when you are waiting for PCs to break. A large part of the downtime incurred is in diagnosis; with a bias towards cost avoidance. And you can’t avoid the time spent procuring a new PC or the reprioritization of your day because you can’t plan PC failure.
  49. 49. P R O D U C T I V I T Y | D O W N T I M E This strategy saves a lot of downtime compared to the Rebuild model by having new, higher quality spares available and not wasting the user's time on diagnosis or repair.
  50. 50. P R O D U C T I V I T Y | D O W N T I M E This strategy saves a lot of downtime on Refresh model by having a preconfigured plug-and-play user device on hand and by leveraging the virtual nature of the PC to recover the Operating System and applications in a preloaded state.
  51. 51. SUMMARY : REBUILD PC re la t e d pro duct ivity lo s s e s a re a hidde n he a dw ind fo r ma ny co mpa nie s . De s pit e be ing mo re a ffe ct e d by individua l pro duct ivity lo s s e s , s ma lle r bus ine s ses a re le s s a ble t o a ggre ga t e s uch lo s s e s int o a la rge e no ugh po o l t o o ffs e t t he re curring e x pe nse o f t he Re fre s h o r V irt ua l me t ho ds .
  52. 52. A D V I C E - Only use the Rebuild method if you cannot afford to capitalize productivity gains through higher revenues, lower headcount, or by offsetting other IT expenses. Companies typically do not improve PC management until well after they could have benefitted. Even small companies should examine their real costs of PC management. If you must use the Rebuild method: Any deviation from the model (one new computer directly replacing one old computer for the same user) increases the costs. Be skeptical of any technology that increases the size or complexity of your Local Area Network. Also look to Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to keep your Local Area Network to a minimum. Adopt Cloud Office solutions like Microsoft Office 365. Security and data protection become very difficult to ensure with this method. If you find you spend a lot of money on (or require a high level of) these IT functions, you should look at implementing Refresh methodologies.
  53. 53. SUMMARY : REFRESH Increased monthly expenditures for IT are primarily offset by improved profitability from productivity gains.
  54. 54. A D V I C E - User productivity is recovered from: • Improved lifetime PC performance • Less user downtime • Newer, higher quality, and more standardized PCs • Increased morale The productivity gains turn into actual cash in the form of higher revenues, lower headcount, or by offsetting other IT expenses. To begin Refreshing your PCs: If you think of this as a technology initiative that the company has to embrace, you will see the greatest benefit. Look to your largest departments and teams of users to recover actual cash in the form of increased outputs with lower headcount growth. Improved IT Department efficiency reduces the need for excess help desk resources and keeps higher value resources on higher value tasks. Set goals for revenue generating roles to create additional income and customer satisfaction. Any deviation from the model (one new computer directly replacing one old computer for the same user) increases the costs.
  55. 55. SUMMARY : VIRTUAL Various terms and acronyms for virtual PCs you may see are: Virtual Desktop, VDI, Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Workspace as a Service (WaaS), Cloud Desktop, and more.
  56. 56. A D V I C E - To evaluate virtual PCs: As the price of Virtual PCs comes down, this technology rapidly displaces Refresh as the PC management method of choice. Thin clients are made by just about every major hardware manufacturer. You should consult your virtual PC service provider as to what specifications you will need. If your company has larger departments and /or rapid growth strategies you are a good candidate. Virtual PCs are also the method of choice for stringent mobile user security and data protection requirements. Look for Virtual PC providers who can provide private cloud solutions; essentially the service provided as a separate network just for your company. Even more User productivity is recovered from: • Improved lifetime PC performance • Less user downtime • Enhanced security characteristics and plug- and-play nature of Thin Clients • Increased morale Productivity gains don't just justify the ROI, they also provide future returns since the efficiencies continue to pay dividends each year and scale as you grow.
  57. 57. LEARN MORE AT Learn more with our free resources and become a member at CloudBase Resource Center. VISIT OUR WEBSITE VISIT OUR KNOWLEDGEBASE

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