Hey SMBs! What can a Standard Operating Environment (SOE) do for you?
For many Small & Midsize Business owners, Information Technology is sometimes an indispensable mean to increase the productivity of their employees for them to achieve both their individual and company’s goals. However, considering the fact that computers cannot be considered as “set it and forget it” type of devices, actual support costs are too often misunderstood when considering the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of such assets over their lifespan.
Since 1981, the very concept of the Personal Computer has forged so many bad habits by end users, encouraged by the software industry, to install all kinds of performance-altering software and utilities that at this very moment, many of us still think about our PC more as a Personal system rather than a company owned asset…
So, what is the problem?
As a colleague recently wrote in his blog on the subject “where there are computers there are problems and the more computers there are, the more problems per computer will occur. And, the more variation we have with our computers, the more variations of problems and therefore, the more solutions required. This all results in more time and expense; and for the employees involved, more downtime.”
When you consider the above facts and how they relate to your own IT environment, you can understand the correlation between configuration variance and predictable stability (or lack thereof). Who hasn’t wished to get the same experience when roaming from one PC to another one? Aren’t some PCs in your company working better than others and not only because they are newer?
The consequences are usually every time a user is having difficulties with his or her PC, someone gets called to fix the problem and you end-up directly or indirectly footing the bill. Alternatively, when users do not call support, it is their personal productivity that takes a hit and you are now paying for partially productive employees….catch 22?
Why is this Problem largely left unaddressed in Small & Midsize Businesses?
Larger organizations had to deal with standardization & control issues for years because their incentives were much higher; doing nothing was simply not an option considering increased support costs. In 2013, it is shocking to see how little has been done in the SMB world to reduce support costs while increasing the stability & predictability of PCs and laptops. “As needed” IT purchasing habits by SMB companies do not facilitate model standardization and many IT Providers do not always see the benefits of a standard operating environment. SOE for Small Businesses needs to be adapted from the Enterprise model to reflect the very DNA of small entrepreneurs. They need to be able to rely on more freedom and agility to navigate today’s economy compared to their fortune 500 counterparts.
The next part of this discussion will focus on deploying an SOE that works for Small Businesses. Be sure to read all about it next week!