SmartAdvice: Top-Down Strategy - InformationWeek
Hardware & Infrastructure
09:03 PM

SmartAdvice: Top-Down Strategy

Business commitment, good project management, and an incremental approach can improve your chances for a successful supply-chain-management implementation, The Advisory Council says. Also, control the costs of computer hardware maintenance and avoid the pitfalls of corporate IT-abuse investigations.

Question B: We run our own help desk and asset management and we outsource all hardware maintenance. How can we reduce our overall hardware maintenance costs?

Our advice: Across any platform, be it mainframe, server, or PC, computer hardware maintenance is often viewed by IT management as a necessary evil. Nobody likes to allocate money for failure, repair, or breakage, but everyone realizes that equipment will fail, and when it does it needs to be repaired. Yet one of the areas where a major impact can be made in controlling costs is in computer hardware maintenance.

The perceived value of a maintenance service contract is in providing long-term repair protection at a guaranteed cost. It offers a solution to high repair costs when maintenance is done on a time-and-material basis. It also represents the understanding that service technicians will be available to answer your service call within a given response time.

Maintenance services fall within any of four distinct classifications. The first two are in-warranty repair and out-of-warranty repair. To a maintenance service provider, minimizing in-warranty work (which is usually reimbursed at factory authorized rates) and maximizing out-of-warranty work (at rates set by the service provider) is a key element to maximizing profitability. For the IS department, minimizing the amount of out-of-warranty work done is one major way to control maintenance costs. The third type of maintenance is preventive maintenance, such as the inspection and cleaning of all laser printers every 60 days. The fourth type of maintenance is upgrade maintenance, such as adding memory to PCs.

Your organization can approach the deployment of this maintenance service function in one of two ways: internally with your own personnel or outsourced to a third-party maintenance provider. Companies having a homogeneous installed base of computer hardware may benefit from internalizing hardware maintenance. For most companies, especially for those with more than 1,000 PCs, the best approach to PC hardware maintenance is to go external. That way one doesn't need to maintain a skilled, in-house service staff.

Once the decision is made, the next step in reducing hardware-maintenance costs is to consider integrating several maintenance-related systems into a hardware-maintenance-management system. These systems include help-desk, asset-management, and call-management systems. The integration of two additional subsystems, the company's purchase-order system and office operations system, is also necessary to achieve optimum maintenance cost savings. How does this help lower costs? When a service support call comes in, an automated help-desk system should not only reference the caller's previous call history (through the call-management system) but also be able to list the technology hardware configuration (through a link to the asset-tracking system) and be able to reference the complete past maintenance history on the PC hardware and whether any preventive maintenance needs to be scheduled.

With the proper integration of a help desk, automated asset management, and call-management systems, IT management has the necessary tools to understand the company's technology infrastructure. The more familiar you are with the dynamics of your technology hardware base, the better you can manage and reduce your maintenance costs.

- Stephen Rood

2 of 3
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll