TCO Is Now A Real Discussion


What is TCO?

The growing trend of conversation in our solutions meetings is TCO. It’s an old acronym (Total Cost of Ownership) but is becoming more relevant. Simply put, TCO refers to the purchase price of an asset plus the cost of its operations. In our world, TCO is talked about mainly in relation to weighing up the cost of installing an all-in-one system versus a system of parts with an employee.

In the olden days (say 5 years ago) TCO was talked about but wasn’t as practical as it is today. The costs of installing all-in-one technologies that could replace an employee were far too costly to justify. Not only were the costs unexplainable but it was much easier to employ someone to manage the technology. The systems were difficult to configure and regular updates needed to be managed with care. A person on the ground to manage these technologies would cost most companies well into the 6 figures. Now, however, these all-in-one technologies are a viable solution for some companies. These solutions will save them money, increase efficiency and security.

The technology around the all-in-one networking solutions of today are outstandingly simple in comparison. They’re easy to manage, and not only do they make light work of difficult tasks, they have advanced ways of detecting networking problems we couldn’t see before, offering unparalleled knowledge about the efficiencies of your network.

The new technology easily replaces a human, and it’s easy for staff who are not IT experts to manage the system ongoing, only needing experts like Laminar for the design, implementation and future-proofing.

When Total Cost of Ownership is mentioned my thoughts go wild with ideas! It’s an exciting option for everyone willing to address the issue, and well worth the investment. However, the all-in-one for one company is not the all-in-one that’s right for another. Is there a one stop shop that manages networking technologies with ease from one central location? Yes there is, there are several in the industry. But how do you choose a system that will fit your requirements?

Questions to Ask

First, let’s write a small list to gear our thinking. Before we choose a system we think need to answer some of these questions:

  • Staffing resources, do we have the manpower to run it?
  • Do we have the server resources?
  • How will we secure the solution?
  • Is it expandable?
  • What is the initial cost of this investment such as hardware and software?
  • What are the ongoing costs such as licensing?
  • Can I replace some staff with this new solution?

We’ve had some clients that were looking for a minor solution turn into a full network replacement because it was more cost effective when they looked at TCO. There are others we’ve reviewed who have invested in systems far more expensive and complex than what they needed. It’s like building a four lane highway in a local street, a waste of money and a lifetime of ongoing problems.

We all want a solution that is reliable and fast. The setup of these systems needs to be quick, easy and functional after the design is complete. Most IT departments run pretty thin in terms of staffing so the solution needs to be reliable and easy to manage. Whether you’re wanting switches, wireless access points or firewalls it may be possible to manage all these plus more from a single dashboard!

It’s important that we don’t go for the latest shiny object, but focus on the functionality that’s going to best serve our business needs for now and in the future. If you were looking at TCO five years ago and it didn’t serve you then, perhaps now is a good time to look at it again. The technology advancement has reignited this discussion, because it has become a real possibility for many businesses.

Should you wish to discuss this further and what options might suit you, send me a message or feel free to give me a call on (07) 3177 0899.

- By Nathan Gittins