It was great to engage with the GovLoop community last week for our Knowledge Dialogue forum discussion about the importance of refreshing your PCs. There were some very interesting (and amusing!) thoughts and stories about issues that you all are having with your technology equipment and computers, and how badly you are in need of upgrades, enhancements and more control over your computers.
It is easy for government agencies to fall into the trap of thinking that expanding the life of aging PCs and laptops is prudent. But when factors such as the total cost of maintaining these PCs over the years comes into play, that short-term thinking may prove unprofitable.
With those thoughts in mind, here are the top five reasons that you can present to your boss about why a PC refresh makes sense.
1. Cost of Maintenance
A number of the complaints in the dialogue related to time and energy draining devices that suck the life out of your work day. I liked Peter Sperry’s story about his boss having a “computer allowance” to spend on additional tools required for each individual job, but taking steps like buying a new mouse or a new piece of software is only a temporary solution, and a more expensive one in the long-term. When you consider the cost savings due to the energy efficiency of new computers, the investment in new devices becomes even more sensible.
2. Productivity Increase
The extra amount of work you will be able to accomplish with a faster computer should more than account for the one-time cost of replacing your old machine. Newer processors allow you to get more done in more places and run multiple applications significantly faster. All in all, this could save you nearly an hour per day of time that was wasted as our computers caught up to our pace.
3. Secure computers = easier argument for admin access
We know that PCs older than three years old are up to 53 percent more vulnerable to security incidents. With advanced security features like HP ProtectTools, the decreased security concern could help users’ arguments for an increase of administrative privileges. One commenter, Robin Johnson, remarked that she was forbidden from using Firefox, her browser of choice, because it could have been a source of viruses. IT Managers have to take the necessary precautions to secure our old computers, but with the more reliable systems in new machines, it will be easier for them to grant access to downloading plug-ins and advanced software without concern for serious security repercussions.
4. Manage PCs Remotely
For every IT department, the shift to a new line of products mean they must re-learn the intricacies of the new system in order to prepare for any issues that might arise. Therefore, much of their resistance to a refresh may not be due to unadulterated spite for you, but because they think they will be creating more work for themselves. In this refresh cycle, they will discover that that is no longer the case: HP Business Desktops and Notebooks with Intel vPro technology can be managed remotely – even when they’re switched off – which almost eliminate the need for desk side visits.
5. Promote Employee Happiness
Just like any other perk of working in an office, working with quality computing equipment can make employees more likely to enjoy their positions and positively influence the effort they exert. Computer issues are a definite source of frustration, and alleviating as many issues as possible can do a lot more than leaving free donuts in the conference room.
All things considered, there are plenty of valid arguments for a PC Refresh as we come out of the recession. And if you continue to face contention from your bosses, keep these points in mind as you make the case for your new computer.
Let me clarify. Our computer allowance was to buy the computer itself. At the time, I worked for a marketing company and IBM had just released the first Thinkpad. Our company managed to snag a contract with them and about 150 of us were issued new laptops; which led to computer envy by those who didn’t get them. After about 6 months of complaining, the boss purchased Dells for the rest of the field reps. Which ment our Thinkpads were outdated so we started gripping. so when the contract ended a year later, he bought us new Gateways. So the Dell people started complaining. At that point he gave an annual computer allowance ($1200) and told us to buy our own equipment. He also did the same for desktop PCs in the main office. We were a fairly small company, so there was no central IT shop to insist on an architecture, followed by an “as is – to be” description, followed by an alternatives analysis, followed by a vision refresh etc, etc etc. We simply took the money, bought the equipment we needed and got on with business.