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From: Helmuth, Ronald J [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 11:52 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CIO] Desktop and Laptop Replacement Cycle
For a number of years, Moravian College has had an official 4-year
replacement policy for lab and employee desktop and laptop computers.
Simple arithmetic lets us calculate the cost of the policy. We own 600
computers on the refresh list, meaning that we should budget (or at
least set aside) funds to replace 150 machines per year. If the weighted
cost of desktops and laptops, Windows & Macs were $1600, the annual
refresh cost would average $240,000 (150 computers X $1600). The actual
weighted cost has fluctuated year by year in a helpful downward manner.
(Oh, if you're wondering, once replaced with a new computer, 4-year-old
computers are hardly ever thrown out. They tend to find homes as student
assistant workstations, etc., for another couple of years. The
unofficial refresh cycle is thus more like 6 years.)
In 1999 we funded a special project that upgraded about half of our
desktop computers for new Y2K-compliant enterprise client-server
software. The intervening years have been easy, as only about $100k/year
of upgrades were needed to keep us on the 4-year replacement cycle. Each
year, however, I would remind people of the impending bubble.
Unfortunately, the institution is always too relieved (and exhausted) by
the effort to balance the budget to really address the issue (by seting
aside a reserve fund with the balance of the $240k).
Alas, our ability to spend money across the Institution has outstripped
the resources available. And we're on the hump of the refresh cycle
where more than half our computers should be replaced this coming fiscal
year. As with many of you, we control budget line item growth year to
year. Compared to last year, next year's requirement is about 3.5 times
greater, simply not affordable in light of other institutional
priorities (academic programs, etc).
Many of you must be fighting this battle, and I'm inviting you to brag
about the "best practices" that have emerged at your institutions in the
current fiscal environment.
Have you found new ways of managing the refresh cycle that provides
acceptability, affordability, and equitability?
Director, Center for Information Technology
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