Outsourcing the PC Refresh ProcessMost companies have to replace their PCs and laptops about every three or four years. Technology advances so quickly that computers need to be upgraded to run newer applications, and once the warranty expires, the organization that handles the break-fix or the desk-side support will not repair the units.
In a large company, the process may be managed by replacing one-third of the computer population annually. Ultimately, the refresh process is continuous; by the time all the computers in the company are upgraded, it is time to start all over again.
Given the complexity of the task, employing a permanent IT staff to handle the job is too expensive and time-consuming for many firms. Refresh professionals tend to have a high skill set because of the risk associated with the process, so they command relatively high salaries. In addition, companies often fall behind schedule in the refresh process as other priorities take hold.
For this reason, it makes sense to outsource this function to CoreTech Solutions, a company dedicated to the task of efficient and cost-effective PC refreshes.
Myriad AdvantagesThe benefits of outsourcing the refresh process far outweigh those associated with doing the job in house.
Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction
Large companies have thousands of computers that need to be upgraded every year. This upgrading process needs to be extremely efficient, or the company may face a loss of productivity as older equipment fails. XSell Resources uses specially designed customer satisfaction surveys to ensure the efficiency of their upgrade operations. CoreTech Solutions also build process improvements into the solution and includes appropriate metrics into the service level agreement to guarantee continuous quality. Reduced Costs, Greater Flexibility and More Control
Upgrading a computer costs about 50% less than buying a new one, so there is a good reason for extending the life of equipment. Companies always have the flexibility to terminate a contract with CoreTech Solutions if the services are no longer needed.
A Full Package Within Budget
CoreTech Solutions will be able to deliver a full refresh package as determined by the service level agreement. Moreover, the price should be determined on a per unit basis, so there are no hidden costs. This transparency enables the company to improve cash management and budgeting.
When in-house employees handle the refresh project, it is difficult to determine the correct per seat charge because they also may be responsible for other tasks such as break-fix, application testing and integration work. Since CoreTech Solutions’ services are based on a per unit charge, the company can identify to the exact dollar amount.
Reduction in Total Cost of Ownership
CoreTech Solutions can add value and reduce costs for its customers by arranging for the resale of expired computers. After older equipment is stripped of its applications, it is held in quarantine for two weeks. When that period is over, it is shipped to a warehouse and a business partner resells it on the open market on behalf of the customer. That reduces the total cost of ownership of the computers.
Convenient Remote Service
Companies often have employees working off-site, possibly in faraway locations. CoreTech Solutions can refresh these employees’ computers remotely; all they have to do is plug their laptop into the docking station and CoreTech Solutions can move their data from their old computer to their new one. The only additional charge is for shipping a new computer to a remote location; all other fees remain the same. If a company has many people working at a remote location, CoreTech Solutions can send a team to do a desk-side refresh on-site.
A Soup to Nuts Refresh SolutionA professional refresh team understands how to manage a major PC refresh project through five stages from beginning to end.
Project Scope and Definition
The first step is to define the project scope. The refresh team needs to know how many and what type of computers will be replaced, where they are located and on what dates they are available for refresh. Some companies refresh a given number of PCs per month, while others may have a more immediate requirement to refresh a certain number of PCs to coincide with an internal initiative. Once the refresh team has that information, it formulates a total cost for the project.
Once the project has been approved and the equipment is ordered, a secure work facility for the refresh team needs to be set up. The company and CoreTech Solutions need to work together to determine who will provide these essential items. They will also establish the logistics for shipping PCs between the project room and the company’s various locations.
Scheduling is one of the most challenging parts of therefresh process. CoreTech Solutions takes all the hassle away from the company by handling all the necessary approvals from the customers in the shortest period of time. The goal is to make the refresh process effortless and convenient for the company.
The refresh team picks up the customer’s computer, copies their data and installs security patches and delivers a refreshed PC back to them. A checklist is reviewed with the customer to ensure all the tasks are complete and the new PC is functioning properly. At the end of the process, all of the customer’s documents, network and local printers, email and Internet favorites, Microsoft Suite applications, wireless connectivity and remote access are in full working order. In some large companies, the refresh process never ends. As soon as it is finished, it is time to start over gain. CoreTech Solutions will use the knowledge it acquired previously and the information gathered through the customer satisfaction surveys to improve the process and further reduce costs for the company.
SummaryA myriad of details are involved in a refresh process. If it is not done correctly, the company pays the price of lower employee productivity, reduced customer satisfaction and diminished profits.
By contracting with CoreTech Solutions that has a professional staff dedicated to this task, the project is less likely to fall behind schedule. Refreshes are done right the first time and at the convenience of the customer, so the whole process is more efficient and cost effective. CoreTech Solutions continuously monitors the process to build in improvements over time. Ultimately, outsourcing the refresh process leaves the company more time to focus on its core business instead of IT. Cash management and budgeting are improved because the per-unit cost of the project is a known quantity. Moreover, CoreTech Solutions can arrange for the expired computers to be sold on the open market, thus reducing the total cost of ownership of the equipment.
Learn MoreCoreTech Solutions is a leading provider of IT staff augmentation solutions and managed IT services including PC refresh, application deployment support, service desk and service delivery management solutions.
Established since 1992, CoreTech Solutions' clients include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, SunTrust Banks, Merrill Lynch, Synovous Financial and more.
For more information about CoreTech Solutions call 800-220-3337 or Contact Us.
Companies typically distribute their software through what is known as an SMS tool.
This tool is used to build collections of workstations or machine names. The collection allows the network to recognize individual PCs by their unique identifier or workstation ID. The collection is associated with an advertisement, which is a scripted application. Essentially, the workstation ID or the computer name(s) is married to the actual software package.
Software is deployed according to specific parameters. Sometimes a single application is deployed, or it may be necessary to push a bundled application, which will launch several applications in sequence. Some SMS teams create their own collections and advertisements, while others simply connect to existing ones.
SMS is a commodity function, so companies want to find a way to accomplish the job as cost effectively as possible. A viable alternative is to outsource the SMS function to CoreTech Solutions because CoreTech Solutions has an efficient, step-by-step methodology to push software out to customers:
The CoreTech Solutions SMS team ensures the workstation ID is on the domain before it pushes the software.
The CoreTech Solutions SMS team ensures there is nothing to prevent pushing an application to a secure Operating Unit.
The change control is sent to Service Delivery Managers and Tech Leads within the organization for approval. Once approval has been granted, the CoreTech Solutions SMS team builds the collection. Where applicable, pilot testing is part of the change control process.
Build the advertisement and marry it to the collection.
The SMS tool typically deploys software within two hours to machines that are online, but in some cases it can take as long as 24-48 hours.
The CoreTech Solutions SMS team monitors the status of each push. If the release was successful, the XSell Resources SMS team closes out the request and notifies the client.
As with any process, sometimes troubleshooting is necessary in SMS and CoreTech Solutions can assume this task. The workstation may be a bad client, for instance, so the CoreTech Solutions SMS team will go to the advertisement that pushes the software to find the workstation and add it.
Sometimes wrong platform repair messages appear. A scripted application may be suitable for a Windows 2000 or Windows XP platform but not for a Vista platform. The CoreTech Solutions SMS team needs to add the right platform to the advertisement.
Some operating companies have workstation ID’s that cannot be touched. In such cases there is a special process for pushing software to those machines.
There may be thousands of scripted applications. Each one has to be tested and approved by the Operating Company before it can be pushed to the workstation ID.
A customer may purchase a license for the most recent software version, but it will receive an earlier version if that is what is approved for that Operating Company. There can be delays in deploying to remote workstations. If there is not a good connection to the network; the software will just sit in a waiting state. When this happens, CoreTech Solutions can communicate with the customer and manage expectations.
It is more cost effective for CoreTech Solutions to handle the SMS function than an in-house software push team. By centralizing this process, firms with multiple operating companies or divisions can reduce their headcount. The CoreTech Solutions SMS team know how to build an advertisement for a specific application and then reuse it across all operating companies. That means advertisements and scripting costs are not duplicated. In addition, the company can measure CoreTech Solutions' performance against a service level agreement (SLA). CoreTech Solutions' SMS team continues to look for process improvements that lead to greater efficiency
Companies often over-spend because highly paid technical professionals devote too much time to relatively routine queries instead of tasks that add value to the organization.
In addition, resolving an incident requires one service provider whereas a request can require multiple service providers. Incident management helpdesks are proficient at tracking overall closure metrics and determining if the team is complying with their service level agreements.
It is for this reason that many large companies turn to CoreTech Solutions who has specific expertise in request management. By deploying people, processes and technology in a costeffective manner, CoreTech Solutions can handle the lifecycle of a request to the full satisfaction of its customers. At the same time, the customer retains control by dictating the terms of the service level agreement (SLA).
By outsourcing this process to CoreTech Solutions, companies can meet their internal needs more efficiently and cost effectively as well as improve customer satisfaction. SOCs focus on the request from the time it is received through completion. They monitor all the steps in between to ensure approvals and verifications are received in a timely manner and delays are minimized. SOCs also communicate with service providers and customers to manage expectations and follow up with customers to ensure the job was done correctly.
Productivity is improved through accelerated request cycle times. Customers do not have to lose valuable work time because of technical issues. SOC’s are the liaison between the client and the service providers. They increase customer productivity by monitoring and assisting with the request, and save the service provider time by getting the request right the first time.
Finally, the company can project a positive image to internal stakeholders and new hires.
Fulfilling requests promptly and efficiently shows respect for existing employees. Moreover, an employee is up and running in a minimal amount of time. New employees will get off to a good start when a computer, network ID and facilities are available from day one. Ultimately, that saves money and improves productivity for the company.
Look around most workplaces today and you will likely see desktops, laptops and an array of peripheral devices such as printers connected to them. Hardly anyone can imagine working any other way; we take it for granted.
However, managing all this equipment is a challenge for businesses. While many firms have processes in place for supplying and servicing PCs, they do not apply the same discipline when it comes to printers. It is not unusual to see printers under employees’ desks that managers know nothing about. Since there are so many devices, they are underutilized. People waste valuable work time ordering printer consumables at premium prices paid for through expense accounts.
To this end, businesses increasingly are turning to CoreTech Solutions who have the right expertise to provide printing services in a controlled, efficient, cost-effective manner. CoreTech Solutions understands every aspect of printing services from handling new requests and purchasing equipment to monitoring these assets through to the end of their lifecycle. Moreover, partnering with CoreTech Solutions enables firms to reduce printing costs, increase productivity, save office space, conserve electricity, and more.
Managing print services is not a task to be underestimated. There are many complexities associated with it, especially in larger organizations. And don’t forget, workers are heavily reliant on these devices to do their jobs. CoreTech Solutions can lighten that burden by performing the following functions:
Projects and Initiatives
If a customer has a need and there is no process, then the print services team considers it a special project or initiative. CoreTech Solutions team members monitors quality indicators to improve objectives identified in the business case. The team manages projects and vendor-related tasks and sets customer expectations and timelines.
It also develops a business case for printer refresh projects, where there is an opportunity to reduce costs and improve efficiency by upgrading machines to newer technology. In addition, the team liaises with vendor partners as well as service delivery managers responsible for maintaining facilities, putting up walls and running electrical cable.
Standardized Out-Go Metrics
CoreTech Solutions print services team identifies key measurements to determine the total cost of ownership per seat or per device and then develops standard reports for management. It monitors pending problems and their status, and sets priorities based on service level agreements, systemic criticality and executive exposure.
Other responsibilities include keeping documentation and standards current and managing inventory. The team keeps abreast of the approved makes and models on the customer’s network and contains costs by limiting the number of devices that need to be maintained and supported. Evaluating proposed replacement devices also falls under the team’s remit.
Print Device Acquisition and Procurement
CoreTech Solutions printing services team is responsible for conducting feasibility studies and implementing new technology. For example, some companies recently have deployed a network-scanning device called Scan to Home. An image of a document is sent to the customer’s home drive in the network, and the user can retrieve it by inputting an ID and password. This is much simpler than the old method of building templates, temporary folders and software to retrieve the image. Feasibility studies show this saves time and reduces costs.
Also as part of inventory control, the team identifies printing and imaging assets.
Finally, CoreTech Solutions printing services team supports print office assessment. Recommendations and guidelines are provided to the CIO to be used in developing a strategy that defines the future print landscape.
Partnering with CoreTech Solutions who specializes in printing services can yield innumerable benefits. Businesses can reduce costs by implementing standard equipment across the enterprise that is endorsed by executives and set out in the IT strategy. CoreTech Solutions offers a one-stop-shop for every business’s printing services needs.
Productivity is improved because workers do not have to spend time managing their own print devices. In addition, the business can conserve electricity by not having to power redundant equipment.
CoreTech Solutions professional printing services team can carefully analyze the business’s requirements and select the right equipment to meet employees’ needs. Finally, operational efficiency is improved by putting in place processes that ensure timely service deliveries.