Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is a Standard Computing Device REALLY a Way to Save Money?

Ok group,  I have some questions...

I am wondering if this old saw about saving money in IT costs is true...

The concept goes something like this: "If everyone has the same computer we will save money in the IT budget."  or "We must standardize devices to save money."

I am really wondering if this applies to the world of K-12 schools.

I say this because the computer I would buy for the types of projects I tackle needs to be more powerful than what an English Department member would need to do his job.

So naturally, I think the standard should be that everyone needs something running at about 3.3 gigahertz with about 32 gig of ram, a wicked fast video card and oh, maybe about 4 terabytes of storage (preferably SSD storage.)  A nice big monitor, a decently fast scanner, a midi keyboard, an amplifier and some decent external speakers for playback.  I am sure everyone will be happy with this set-up.  Until they have to move it.  Or pay for it.

Of course. everyone else is thinking of something they saw on sale at the office store for $200 on Black Friday... with both gigs of ram and 128 gigs of hard drive.  A nice browser and they are all set.

I see a real problem with the plan as far as needs go.  Obviously, everyone should have my computer, right?  OR do I have to waste time waiting for the beach ball while I am working on my latest Finale project with theirs?

Where are the savings?  Does a standard really save?

We don't have a wear house full of spare parts to maintain.  We barely have techs to install parts and a hard drive, is a hard drive, is a hard drive.  Having been inside a variety of computers, the hardware isn't that different between devices.

We don't really buy in enough bulk to qualify for the really-low-super-valued-customer-club price on devices.

If we have a bring your own device plan in place, doesn't that imply security is planned for multiple platforms?  So are we really saving on security software?

Is the savings in the IT department not having to learn about new devices and software?

I guess I am looking for some numbers.  A real case study with side by side comparisons and everything.  Has anyone proven they save money with a standard computer for everyone?  I know, Google it,  but no real examples with data show up in the first 10 pages of results.  Everyone writes as if they assume this is true.  I'm not so sure that it fits most small enterprises.

Is a standard device a money saver, or is that just an accepted truth that has no data backing it?  I know that people will end up with exactly the wrong thing if they are locked into standard computer.