*I just found this old email I sent to all the organisations that I tech supported. Did it help?*
Dear CEO, Manager, Board,
The right questions are not technical ones. Don’t be blinded by complicated answers.
Most organisations make decisions based on ”it needs fixing urgently!” and “we can’t afford it”. You are trapped into maintaining a hotchpotch of devices. Decisions to make a mass purchase and change are scary but can be cost effective in longer term.
Question: How much is it going to cost over the next x years. Consider purchase price, installation, maintenance and upgrading or troubleshooting. How much staff time is spent/saved/wasted on this?
Question: How long will this last for? Try to have a cyclical plan. ie. This year new computers and internet connection. Next year new printer and other peripherals – unless none of the old things work with the new things. Don’t buy software just before changing hardware. Avoid purchasing something soon to be obsolete OR something that’s just come out. Let other people iron the bugs out and post their solutions on forums for you.
Question: Who will we call on to install, maintain and troubleshoot? If something happens to our first choice (something usually does), who is second and third choice? How easy are they to contact? How quickly can they respond? How expensive? Sometimes you have to rule out a fabulously good and inexpensive IT setup because it is dependent on one person. You have no backup.
Question: What are our backups and redundancies? Who is your tech backup? Where is your data backed up? What if the internet isn’t available? What if this thing or that thing breaks? What if there’s a fire? What if everything is stolen?
Average business total IT spend 5% to 15% of budget. (hard to get solid figures) Average non-profit IT spend? 2% to 10%.
Training is rarely included. Training actually fixes most hardware and software problems ahead of time.
Average device life: 3 to 5 years
Average software life: 2 to 4 year
Average device life: 3 years for business
3 years plus 2 more years of rebooting while standing on one leg and gluing antennae to your head for a non-profit
Average software life: 2 years for business
2 years plus 2 more years of reinstalling and downgrading while logging on as long gone staffers and losing all your files again if you’re a non-profit.
The reality? Staff in non-profits are cheaper than almost anything else, therefore staff time is constantly wasted on old IT.
I still agree that training is the most affordable and achievable solution to most problems and would now suggest using the ‘5 Whys’ as well. The kick ass image at the top of the post is from Geek Girl Con.
“GeekGirlCon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of and celebrating the contribution and involvement of women in all aspects of the sciences, science fiction, comics, gaming and related Geek culture through conventions and events that emphasize both the historic and ongoing contribution and influence of women in this culture.”
Do you have to be a girl/geek/adult/trekkie/gamer to attend Geek Girl Con?
“[GGC is] a convention that welcomes all ages, races, sexual orientations, genders and gender identities, creeds, physical and mental abilities, and familial statuses. We are a gathering for the trekkie, the mathlete, the gamer, the otaku, the braniac, the engineer — a home base where all tastes of geekdom can be sampled and savored. We are GeekGirlCon.”