Used computer technology products have taken on greater importance in recent months as IT professionals seek to tighten their budgets while maintaining the service levels their organizations need.
A recent report by Gartner Research underscores the challenges faced by IT managers.
IT Budgets Require Innovation
Gartner is a leading global IT research firm. Their annual studies of the computer industry, and the market for used computer technology products, have made Gartner the source for IT professionals looking for advice about managing their hardware infrastructure better.
When Gartner speaks, people listen. In late 2008, they released their projections for IT budgets in 2009. Their projections are a strong indicator of how healthy the IT industry will be. As reported in a blog post on ZDNet, Gartner is forecasting:
o IT budget growth of 2.3% to 0%, a drop from their original estimate of 3.3% growth.
o In the worst case, IT budgets could drop by 2.5%.
The senior VP of research at Gartner, Peter Sondergaard, believes that IT professionals are well-suited to handle any turbulence from the shaky economic situation. Why? They've been through it before (2001) and, while IT can be cut back, it has become essential to the operation of a business and cannot be cut too much, lest services start to suffer.
Songdergaard recommends that IT managers get creative and "focus on disruptive technologies" that can cut costs, including:
o multicore and hybrid systems
o virtualization and fabric computing
o social networking
o cloud computing
While his advice is sound, there are other, simpler things an IT manager can do to rationalize costs.
Used Computer Technology - Cut Costs and Maintain Standards
While newer technologies, like those described above, can help reduce costs, they are not the only solution. Two concepts that have existed for a long time can also help manage costs: appropriate technology and platform maintenance. Both of these concepts are possible with used computer technology products. Let's look at each one briefly.
o Appropriate technology means using only the machine you need for the job. Should an admin assistant have a top-of-the-line desktop when his or her job consists mainly of word processing and emailing? Should a financial professional have a computer designed for high-end graphics work when his or her main function is number crunching? Of course not. Appropriate technology means analyzing the real needs of your users to ensure that they have hardware that is appropriate to the tasks they perform. That may mean an older computer. But old does not mean obsolete. An older model may be perfect for a lower-demand user, and with the support of parts and accessories from the secondary computer market, that machine can last for many years to come.
o Platform maintenance means keeping your existing infrastructure for longer. The technology life cycle is about six to nine months. There is no way most companies can keep up with this pace, especially in trying economic times. With used computer technology products, you can maintain and troubleshoot your existing systems, delaying costly upgrades and saving your company money.