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4 Problems With Traditional IT Procurement

A photo of a professional man looking at his computer in exasperation.

Ever wondered if there's a better way to procure IT hardware for your business? Procuring IT hardware can be a massively time-consuming process that comes with heavy cash flow demands and the burden of supporting and maintaining the hardware. Most businesses that we speak to do it one of two ways;

  1. An internal IT Manager directly purchases equipment from a supplier, sometimes with the aid of a Procurement Manager
  2. The business procures the hardware of their Managed IT Service Provider who looks after their Microsoft tenancy or Cloud infrastructure.

These options leave a lot of room for improvement. From cash flow to time spent by IT, and alignment to your overall strategy. Let's dive in.

The problems with traditional IT hardware procurement


1. Capital expenses and managing cash flow

Let's start with an example. Your business needs 50 new laptops. Each costs $2,000. Simple math puts that cost at an eye-watering $100,000. And that's just the procurement cost.

Projecting a procurement and replacement schedule is complicated, and surprise events may leave you in a tricky cash flow position. Your business might win a new project and have to hire 20 staff. You might renovate your office and need to set up new videoconferencing hardware. Or you might open a new office location and need a range of IT hardware to get it up and running. These surprise capital expenses can add up quickly.


2. Hours spent running up or installing hardware

It can seem like your IT manager can do everything. Fix problems, set up laptops, manage your printers, help you get your video meeting working, manage servers, and more. But the more time spent on configuring, installing and supporting your IT hardware, the less time they have available to make improvements to your IT systems that are going to help your business grow in the long term.

Running up a laptop takes around 30-60 minutes. Installing a videoconferencing system might take half a day. Configuring a new printer could take an hour. This time is multiplied exponentially during company-wide changes, with projects taking weeks or months of time to manage from end to end.

Instead of strategizing on how to better protect the company's digital assets or innovating new technological solutions for the business, your IT team is tied up with the time-consuming tasks of managing your IT hardware.


3. Support and management is never-ending

Let’s not forget about support. Keeping hardware up-to-date, patching systems and applications, troubleshooting issues – a non-stop cycle that’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.

Here's an estimate of the time spent completing necessary tasks to manage your workplace technology:

  • Troubleshooting laptop hardware issues: Diagnosis and resolution of laptop issues can range from a quick 5-minute job to a complex warranty claim with a manufacturer that spans weeks.
  • Patching and application management: Depending on controls and policies placed on end-user computers, your IT team may need to approve every application installation. And of course, your marketing guy wants a new app every other week! Then they've got to deal with the endless cycle of patching and updates that are headache-inducing to even think about. Depending on how robust your device management is, this could be a very lengthy project.
  • Dealing with tricky or incompatible videoconferencing hardware: I think we've all been late to a meeting because we couldn't get a videoconferencing system to work. Often, the IT team are on speed dial (or speed-shout) for end-users, who interrupt the IT team to fix the hardware for their urgent meeting that started 5 minutes ago. If your hardware isn't easy to use, you could be running off to meeting rooms a few times a day.
  • Ordering toner: On average, placing orders for printer toner may take around 15-30 minutes per week. This includes checking inventory, identifying the appropriate toner cartridges, and placing orders with suppliers.
  • Fixing printer problems: Resolving printer issues such as paper jams or troubleshooting connectivity problems could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour per incident. The frequency of these incidents may vary, but dedicating a couple of hours per week for addressing printer problems is a reasonable estimate.
  • Managing print servers: Depending on the complexity and size of the print network, managing print servers might require periodic maintenance and configuration updates. Allocating 1-2 hours per week to handle print server-related tasks, such as monitoring print queues, adding new printers, or troubleshooting server issues, is a reasonable estimate.


4. Low priority for you and your cloud MSP

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, most businesses are either procuring IT hardware directly or through their Managed Service Provider. The problem with these two options is that this task is a low-value task for both you and your cloud MSP.

Unfortunately, procurement, run-up and support of IT hardware, still needs to be completed. If done internally, they take away valuable time from strategic projects. This often leads IT teams to outsource their IT hardware procurement to their Cloud MSP which manages their IT infrastructure, cloud storage, support and Microsoft instance.

The problem with this is that IT hardware isn't part of your MSP's core focus. Their goal is to grow their recurring monthly revenue through services, licenses or storage. Hardware sales are usually time-consuming and low-margin. With IT hardware procurement taking a backseat for cloud MSPs, they tend to fulfil the need without critically examining how to enhance their clients' procurement and management process.


Time for a change - Introducing Workplace Technology as a Service

If buying for cash and maintaining internally isn't aligned with today's IT strategy where everything else is moving to an 'as a service' model, why are you doing it?

We've designed Workplace Technology as a Service (or WTaaS - catchy, right?), which bundles hardware with run-up and deployment, support, and more - all for a monthly fee, and no upfront capital expense. From laptops and desktops, to meeting room audiovisual, phone systems and unified communications, and printers and photocopiers. Enabl's WTaaS solutions cover all the essentials that your end-users need to get their job done.

 Get in touch with our team to learn more about how we can help you.