Hardware Life Cycle Management(Part II)

There are a number of financial planning exercises that can help you determine if capital expenses for PC hardware with complete parts and service contracts for the life of the unit are best suited for your IT infrastructure.

Alternatively, leased IT equipment may be more cost effective and would assist in maintaining a more comprehensive IT equipment life-cycle program.

As we dig further into this topic, you will see that hardware and software deployment planning is just the start of discussion for the IT group. Migration planning raises more questions than answers and these questions start with equipment and software life-cycle management. For example, planning discussions can start with these questions:

•    What is your IT department’s roadmap for equipment management?
•    How about the users you support, does your roadmap align with their needs?
•    What requirements have inter-company business owners or department managers contributed to the overall equipment management policy? Are any of the suggested requirements based on some of the above mentioned methods? (i.e., does the accounting department determine the life-cycle or does the OEM warranty determine the life-cycle, or is the policy just to “run the equipment into the ground”?)

Visualising the product map of the software your organisation uses and planning your major equipment purchases within a timeline helps structure your hardware retirement strategy.   By synchronising your hardware purchases with your software investment, you can minimise large capital expenditures and stagger departmental purchases so that you can qualify for volume discounts.

Additionally, if your organisation qualifies for specific licensing models, you may be able to plan your software purchasing on alternate years from your hardware purchasing. Take Microsoft’s core software products as an example (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: Recent Microsoft software product launches

hardware life cycle 2
It is tempting to think that only hardware equipment has a life-cycle, yet the above example clearly shows that software too has a life-cycle. Could your IT infrastructure benefit from synchronising your life-cycle management of both PC hardware units and software licenses? Where does your organisation envision product adoption and integration with respect to manufacturer rollout? Finally, does your PC hardware for servers, desktops, and laptops or notebooks align with or complement that vision?