Chief information officers (CIOs) face a complex balancing act in managing their organization’s hardware. They must make decisions that drive business success and provide needed technology upgrades — all while sticking to a strict budget and controlling the business’s total cost of ownership. Consider Sam’s example, a fictional CIO from Snowstream Enterprises.
Sam’s company has offices in 16 cities across the globe and manages several edge servers to support these locations. He has a limited budget and knows that some sorely needed upgrades are on the horizon. The challenge is that he must also keep up with software and security concerns in addition to managing his company’s hardware.
In his efforts to prepare for imminent upgrades, Sam goes over best practices for IT hardware and tries to apply them to his company’s needs. Let’s take a look at what he reviews.
Navigate the Four Stages of the IT Hardware Lifecycle
Sam knows the four stages of IT hardware lifecycle management well — procurement, implementation, support, and decommissioning. He also understands that the goal is to maximize value at each stage of the process. What does he consider at each stage?
- Procurement. Sam needs to know the timeline for hardware replacement. For that, he uses warranty information to help decide when he should replace hardware or acquire third-party support to extend its life. Besides planning purchases, he also needs to consider the supply chain. Since his communication with suppliers is limited to when he needs hardware, he’s not sure they’ll be able to deliver in a timely manner.
- Implementation. When implementing new hardware solutions, the loss of data is a significant risk. To mitigate that risk, Sam uses a data storage retention policy that ensures redundancies. However, this strategy can be costly and difficult to maintain if cloud-based storage is used to move data back and forth. Sam wants to ensure on-premise hardware is up and running as fast as possible. So he aims for a simultaneous deployment that will help him reduce downtime and errors from mismatches in hardware and software.
- Support. The main support milestone is warranty length. Sam uses an agile support plan to leverage OEM warranties and third-party support based on the use case. He’ll have to analyze what hardware needs to be replaced when the OEM warranty expires and what could be maintained by another provider. It’s important that he maximizes the value of each hardware component while accepting that the hardware is only relevant as long as it supports current computing needs.
- Decommissioning. Again Sam goes back to his guiding principle of maximizing value. Some of the company’s equipment will need to be replaced before the end of life. So, to maximize value, he’ll work to repurpose or sell off used hardware. However, this brings up the challenge of protecting data. He needs to analyze the security risk of selling their hardware and look for ways to mitigate or eliminate that risk.
As CIO, Sam is tasked with overseeing the hardware lifecycle while juggling the other technical and leadership responsibilities his role requires. The rest of his IT team finds themselves in a similar predicament of caring for day-to-day tasks and managing the behemoth that is the IT hardware lifecycle.
Leverage a Partner Who Understands Hardware Management
As we saw in Sam’s analysis, the steps of the hardware lifecycle are straightforward. But, implementing them is not so simple. There are constraints on time, security, logistics, and supply chain management. Even in Sam’s highly technical role, large deployments can throw him for a loop and cause major organizational headaches.
One way he can solve this problem is by working with a partner who can manage the hardware lifecycle. He’ll be able to participate in high-level discussions where he must have input and let his partner do the heavy lifting. That way, he’ll offload hardware management and focus on the software and security challenges that his business faces every day.
If you’re in a position similar to Sam’s, Intequus can help. We offer a full-lifecycle hardware management solution that covers everything from purchasing to decommissioning. We’ll work with your team to design custom hardware that fits your needs and scales as you do. If you want to simplify hardware management and free up company resources, let’s talk.