IT Must Fix the Roof – Especially When it is Raining

I hate fixing the roof.  In fact, I have been postponing a roof repair over my garage for about 2 years now.  I recently read an article by Peter Kretzmen titled “IT, The CIO, and the Business Need for Roof Projects” and realized that while I can put off my roof repair, IT may not be able to postpone routine upgrades. 

For businesses, technology refresh is a standard business process (ie a roof fix).  The question for IT often boils down to WHEN I should upgrade, not IF. Why? … because hardware technology ages, maintenance costs rise, and software solutions can become unresponsive or obsolete as business needs change, user needs evolve and new technology and software become available. In this economy, cost is king and reducing IT costs has clearly become a critical imperative.

My colleagues in Intel IT recently conducted two separate and independent studies on how frequent we should refresh our PC fleet and data center servers.

PC Fleet Management:  John Mahvi and Avi Zarfaty from Intel IT recently wrote a paper titled “Using TCO to Determine PC Upgrade Cycles”.  The conclusion of this analysis showed that a 3.5 year refresh rate was optimal for total cost management in our IT environment.  Despite the fact that delaying PC refresh this year was initially seen as a cash conservation approach, the analysis showed that not refreshing older PCs increased the business’s overall costs.  As a beneficiary of PC refresh (I got a new laptop a month ago ), I can also personally attest that my productivity has gone up.

Data Center Efficiency:  Matt Beckert and Diane Boyington of Intel IT recently published a paper titled “Realizing Data Center Savings with an Accelerated Server Refresh Strategy”.  This paper discusses Intel IT’s movement to a proactive 4-year server refresh cadence in 2007 and illustrates both the long term savings (up to $250M over eight years) and immediate benefit to the corporate bottom line ($45M saved in 2008). After plans to refresh our servers was slowed earlier this year to preserve capital funds, a re-assessment was done that showed that Intel IT could save $19M by refreshing now vrs waiting until 2010.

Just like you shouldn’t sleep in a house with a leaking roof … it is prudent to not let old hardware create a hole in your IT budget. In today’s economic environment, Intel IT can’t afford a leaky roof and so we are moving forward with proactive business client PC and Server refresh, proven approaches to reduce TCO and boost business value.

Chris Peters, Intel IT

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