Standardization of IT equipment across sites is a strategy that helps organizations control costs and reduce the need to deploy IT resources. With companies becoming increasingly dependent upon their computers, sales software and phone systems to conduct daily business, it is critical for business owners to make sure that IT equipment is properly maintained and promptly repaired when problems arise. Ideally, this maintenance and repair work can be undertaken with the sparing deployment of IT professionals. Below are four key advantages of standardizing equipment in the field.
1. Ease of Equipment Installation and Setup: The addition of a new site always requires the installation and setup of computers, telephones and other IT equipment. When a new site is planned, goals typically include the following:
- Procure IT equipment quickly and affordably
- Ensure that equipment is properly installed and ready for use by staff
- Select devices that are easy for new employees to use
When equipment has been standardized across locations, ownership can prepare for the addition of new locations by maintaining a ready supply of computers and telephones. And because IT managers have installed the equipment over and over, the setup process can occur quickly and with fewer snags.
2. Reduce Equipment Expenses: By standardizing IT equipment across multiple locations, companies are often eligible for the following special incentives from IT equipment providers:
- Bulk purchase discounts
- Free accessories and/or software licenses
- Extended warranties
- Complimentary installation of equipment
- Free upgrades
- Hosted VoIP is also an excellent way to reduce cost of on-site equipment
Moreover, procurement of extra equipment is simplified due to the smaller number of equipment vendors involved with device procurement.
3. Facilitation of Remote Troubleshooting: When equipment has been standardized across multiple locations, IT staff can often troubleshoot problems promptly from a remote location. They can do this by exchanging photos through email or receiving descriptions of the problem over the phone. Because IT staff is accustomed to seeing the same equipment over and over, they have a detailed understanding of the devices and can quickly respond to problems.
4. Increased Training Efficiency: When IT and training staff are exposed to the same equipment on a daily basis, they are able to give training to staff with enhanced skill. Additionally, training processes can be standardized across locations, resulting in cost savings and a more refined collection of training materials. Some companies opt to implement the following strategies to further consolidate training procedures and lower costs:
- The development of an online training program to use with employees at all sites
- Designation of one or two staff members to give training at multiple sites
- A webinar that provides an annual training freshener for all employees
These strategies would not be as efficient or successful without the standardization of IT equipment. The standardization of IT equipment sets the stage for training automation and later savings on training costs.
5. Ease of Maintenance of Equipment: Computers, telephones and software must be properly maintained to optimize device functionality. By standardizing IT equipment, device maintenance is facilitated. For instance, the routine replacement of accessories is easier because all computers use the same type of power cord and battery, while telephones will use the same type of headset regardless of location. If using Hosted VoIP, the provider will be responsible for many of the maintenance and updating and not having that expense on site as well.
Enlisting the Guidance of an IT Management Company
A professional IT management company will outline other strategies that can help you reduce the need for IT staff deployment. Please contact us to learn more about the advantages of standardizing your IT equipment or our managed services plans under our Technology Solutions Program (TSP). Our IT management services offer an effective solution to multi-location businesses in search of ways to control costs and optimize efficiency. We look forward to hearing from you.