With 42 out of 50 states dealing with budget shortfalls, the shrinking IT budget is a hot topic in any education community. Last week we discussed how 7 innovative CTOs are solving their IT budget challenges by practicing smart IT in these tough times. Today let’s look at managing hardware costs.
Hardware easily eats up a big chunk of any school’s budget. Then on top of that are all of those additional expenses! You know, like support costs, warranties, recycling, power management—the list goes on. These hidden expenses can pile up real fast.
Lowering any one of these little “surprises” in turn lowers the school’s hardware Total Cost of Ownership, thus helping the overall school budget. How do we reduce these added costs you ask? Here are a few ideas:
- Buy in bulk and take the lowest bid
Palo Alto USD focuses on vendor negotiations and competitive bidding to save money. Ann Dunkin, CTO states in THE Magazine interview “We’ve found that awarding to the low bidder (with very tight specs) has saved us a ton of money”. They also re-evaluated warranties and snagged volume discounts by committing to a certain volume each year.
- Do more with less, with the push of a button
Ballston Spa Central School District saves money by reducing support issues using reboot-to-restore software. With 1,700 workstations to maintain, their IT staff couldn’t be happier. “Deep Freeze has provided us with the ability to manage our environments in the most efficient manner with half the staff compared to similar school districts.”
- Hand-me-downs make the old new again
Judson ISD extends hardware life-cycles by buying higher end refurbished equipment along with 5 year warranties. Palo Alto USD moves computers from middle schools to elementary schools—even all the way to kindergarten! Old computers might not meet the advanced needs of high schools but they sure can do a lot for younger kids.
These are just some of the creative ways District IT leaders are using to save money. What about you? Are there any tips or tricks on running lean and mean IT organizations you can share?
In my next blog post we’ll discuss an often overlooked area of operational savings—power management.