Musings of a CIO

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On Vendor Choices...

I'm a very cost conscious consumer in my personal life, and that applies to my choice of equipment here at corporate as well. I'm the guy who'll probably purchase the extended warranty on the electronics and appliances in my home (at least the more expensive or prone to breaking ones). I was not always this way. Sure, I've read the waste of money they can be. However, when my Sony 65" HDTV had to be replaced twice in the first 30 days and then needed new bulbs after about six months, I was suddenly a firm believer in the support contracts.

This trickles over to the equipment I spec for enterprise use. We order our Dell desktops and laptops with Gold Technical Support (in our opinion, easier to understand and work with than the standard support), and the laptops also get CompleteCare. We tend to use a 3 year warranty on the laptops and 4 years on the desktop - always on site. We've also just started using a few of the GX620 Small Form Factor (SFF) systems for our engineers, and are including same day 4 hour support there.

We've done away with CRT monitors and full size desktops or mini-towers, in favor of flat panels and Small Form Factor (SFF) systems. Yes, a bit more expensive, but I know the technicians carting this equipment around agree with this decision, as do the users with a heck of a lot more desk space now that the bulky stuff is gone. If you still find yourself searching for a reason to move to flat panel, check out this PDF from Cornell.

With Dell, we try for free shipping on just about everything, from servers to desktops to software and peripherals. I've told our CDW rep they would have more of our business if they could do the same thing on shipping (I love the CDW Extranet for ordering, tracking, contact with reps, and more). We're much more likely to get product next day - even with ground shipping - from CDW, and the tracking information always seems a bit more current at CDW.

For server support, I go with the same day 4 hour parts only. We originally used Silver support with a few software resolutions, only to come to realize if the problem ends up being another vendor's problem we still had to call (and generally pay) that vendor for support. I've heard their Gold support on servers takes you end to end through resolving an issue, but that's what I've got my technicians for. Usually they can google for an answer pretty quickly on software resolutions.

Most of the time, Dell is our vendor of choice. We spec out other vendors each quarter, and even do use CDW when we need something fast, or the corner computer store if we need something faster.

This post is long enough for now...



Post a Comment

<< Home