One tool in every IT manager’s arsenal is Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). We use it regularly to make thoughtful purchasing decisions. In my struggle to be more creative with handling my budget, I decided to revisit TCO and see if some of its concepts made sense when looking at replacing computers.
At Council Rock School District, we had long been in the cycle of replacing computers every four years. The driver behind this was that our computers were purchased via lease, which allowed us to regularly refresh our systems. Because we are a large district, we cannot possibly replace everything every year, so we broke out the process into four separate leases, on four-year cycles. That changed two years ago, when our business manager changed, and the leases went away. Computer refreshing is now part of my annual operating budget.
The challenge was to break the four-year pattern for replacing technology, and fit the replacements for not just computers, but services, switches, routers and the other infrastructure equipment into the operating budget. That challenge is what led me to revisit the TCO framework.