Effective PC management can slash costs

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A new report from Gartner suggests that IT managers could save 42 percent of the total cost of a PC just by managing it correctly..

The report looked at the four-year lifespan of the typical corporate computer and found that if a standard US$1,200 PC was locked down and properly managed it would cost US$3,413 a year.

Poor management of the PC, however, could raise these costs to US$5,867 a year.

The degree of management required is not great, according to Gartner, but can make a huge difference to the final cost.

The analyst firm recommends locking down the PC to outside applications, running universal processes and policies, and ensuring that critical settings cannot be changed.

"Organisations should select the right technology for their users based on need, and should consider total cost of ownership [TCO] as one criterion," said Michael Silver, research vice president at Gartner.

"Complexity is an issue that organisations need to keep in mind as they select their computing models and devices. Too many architectures could increase TCO, especially in smaller organisations."

Good management could also reduce the cost of laptops, in some cases with even greater savings, but these are not guaranteed.

The average laptop costs US$1,500 and has a TCO of just over US$9,900 per year over three years. Locking it down could save 45 percent of costs by cutting this to US$5,033, but this is not recommended.

"We do not recommend locking down notebooks for employees who work outside the office most of the time," said Federica Troni, principal analyst at Gartner.

"Such people need to be able to change settings to work from different locations, but imposing a moderate degree of management can lower TCO by 24 percent to US$7,643."
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