TCO in light of today’s changing ICT service costs and requirements – questions Google can’t answer

IT Systems debate break fix vs bespoke-min

TCO in light of today’s changing ICT service costs and requirements – questions Google can’t answer

Changing service costs and requirements for ICT solutions – TCO (total cost of ownership) questions Google can’t answer

The advent of Cloud Computing has changed the way ICT solutions are put together. It creates wider choice for the users and the companies paying for the service, but, what is the TCO for supporting this service and our own ICT solutions?

Much is talked about the need to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for our ICT  requirements but is this the right for solution for everyone? After all a one size suit (male or female) does not fit all. The reasons for this are many : Size, colour, fabric, durability, suitability,  look and feel / user experience.

In short there are many factors that as an individual user/wearer we determine are important to us, and against which we set our budget – to the extent that having determined all the individual factors we will decide to rent or buy.

Can we Google the answers to the above and come up with the solution? No and yet a short meeting with tailor, a series of measurements and a discussion around the budget and experience required can achieve this quickly and easily. Ask any Bride to be!  The same logic applies to IT solutions and service provision. Why then do people not consider what they want, as opposed to thinking let’s drive down cost?

Thoughts around calculating TCO for ICT service in today’s climate:

Firstly, should we not determine what value the service we are trying to create might be? More importantly, what does it need to deliver?

What is the risk to users,  the business, the brand and customer experience if we don’t meet a certain level of service and, do we actually know what should that be?

What impact would the loss of a particular area of the network have on all aspects of our business and how does this escalate over time to the point that it becomes damaging to our business and brand?

Surely then, service, and the service level agreements are nothing more than an insurance premium against which your supplier delivers?

The true issue is, does this level of service deliver what we want against all our values and the consequential loss (not insured against) that a failure will result in.

Determining TCO for Break Fix:

Break Fix, perhaps the original and most well-known solution. “if it breaks we fix it within 8 hours and we charge you £x per year”. Simple yes, but does this “cover “all your risks and costs?

Do you need “out of hours”, weekends and bank holidays and if so can the provider offer this, or are we exposed to zero cover at potentially one of our busiest trading times such as a bank holiday Monday?

Is the issue making sure that we have everything running as per our design or could we improve the design of the core network to remove the criticality of the “Break Fix”? i.e. no single point of failure.

Could we add key component spares to various locations to quickly replace the failed kit, if so how does this reduce the TCO costs or does it merely transfer the costs form OPEX into Capital?

Where and how does lifetime warranty on equipment fit into this? Does it mean that I no longer need to have support on a particular piece of equipment?

What happens if this item fails? How and how long is it before it is replaced and the normal service resumed? What will be the impact and cost of this? Key questions when considering Break Fix ICT solutions.

Other key considerations:

Do we have the appropriate skill base and procedures to manage the change control process required under any given set of circumstances?

Do we have all the H&S issues covered for access to the equipment at 11.30pm on a Sunday evening?

Do we have appropriate testing and training procedures in place?

Do we have all the current configurations for all switches and devices?

Would we be better with the alternative view of just paying for the network as a service or even software defined networks? This is possible, but do we understand what elements we want to have covered in this way as it is unlikely to be everything and a such do we need to determine which areas we want to be able to “increase and put down” quickly (e.g. storage to additional desktops and users?)

Assessing the risk:

Remember the risk (and Murphy’s law- “if it can go wrong it will and the worst possible time”) and how it impacts factors such as:

User experience– as simple as frustration at speed of connection to denial of service

Network design– will the failure introduce unacceptable latency or complete downtime?

Customer experience– does this interrupt our communications with our customers and can they still place orders or could this result in an abandoned trolley?

Company and brand reputation – years of hard work can be lost in seconds!

Does the interruption to or reduced service increase during a critical time window? Is this risk exponential, and at what point does the acceleration curve kick in that is effectively a catastrophic failure based on the loss of a customer or sale?

How and when does a contingency plan kick in and what is it?

How do we calculate our base line cost of support internally and externally?

What and where is the costing data to support this?

What is the potential cost of not having service versus the value of an uninterrupted risk mitigated operation?

In short Google, can’t answer these questions. After a suitable consultation and discussion with one of our consultants PW Data Group can tailor the exact needs of a support contract and network design to meet all your needs and let you get on with looking after your customers. Get in touch!

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