6 Best Practices for Better IT Hardware Procurement

6 Best Practices for Better IT Hardware Procurement

Whether you’re building out a brand-new data center or just maintaining your existing organization’s IT assets, hardware procurement is rarely simple. It involves so much more than just comparing prices and system capabilities. You’ll need to jump through a lot of hoops to identify and then source the right assets. In this guide, we’ll walk you through critical best practices to streamline and simplify the hardware procurement process.

Ensure You Know Your Organization’s Needs

The first step is to ensure that you know your organization’s actual needs. Blind hardware procurement in the hopes that new assets will be worth the bother of upgrading is a waste of both time and money. It’s important that you strategically map out your organization’s requirements and then compare those to your current hardware setup.

Here are some of the questions you’ll need to answer:

  • Where do things fall short?
  • What needs are not being addressed?
  • Which requirements are the most critical?
  • How does the new equipment fit with and support your business goals?
  • How does it dovetail with your processes and workflows, and how does it do this better than existing hardware?

Failure to answer the questions posed above means that you are simply throwing money and manpower at the problem and hoping it will go away. Hardware procurement should be a strategic process that involves careful analysis and a deep understanding of your needs, goals, and processes, and what’s necessary to support them.

Know Where Your Current Assets and Warranties Stand

It’s impossible to chart a course for successful hardware procurement if you don’t know where you stand currently. IT asset management (ITAM) is a critical process to master, and it involves far more than just keeping a running tally of what assets the organization owns. You need to know:

  • The make and model of all assets
  • The last service date and the maintenance status of all hardware
  • The disposition of all hardware
    • Is it deployed?
    • If so, where?
    • If not, where is it stored?
    • And if it’s stored, does it need to be deployed? Does it need to be disposed of?
  • The state/remaining duration of any and all IT asset warranties from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
  • Whom do you contact if a problem arises with each asset?
  • What are the EOL/EOSL dates to know for each asset?
  • Would you be better served by working with a third party maintenance (TPM) provider to maximize the lifespan of current assets and simplify maintenance/service management?

Keep Stakeholders Involved

Hardware procurement does not operate in a vacuum. You must be able to collect as much information as possible before making a purchase decision so that your choices are informed and you’re able to obtain the best possible hardware for your current needs, as well as those in the future.

Ideally, you’ll identify all stakeholders involved in the process and then communicate with them. This is the only way to determine the needs of your organization, your available budget, and how the hardware acquisition will affect operations immediately and down the road.

Of course, you may first need to determine who the stakeholders are. This is often easier said than done. You’ll need to involve any department heads who have a vested interest in the process, but you’ll also need to get the C suite involved, too. Accounting/purchasing will also have a say here, as will the IT department.

Avoid Risks

All hardware procurement strategies come with some degree of risk. However, you must be able to minimize it. The key here is to identify the risks that you face and then actively mitigate them. Will the technology support your needs, goals, and processes? Will there be financial consequences to the procurement? And will you have compliance hurdles to jump during the process?

Avoiding risk is challenging, but it is possible. A full risk analysis is the first step. This helps you identify the risks and the likelihood that you’ll encounter them. Next, figure out the likelihood of financial losses and determine if there are ways to offset them. Finally, create a roadmap for the future that allows you to mitigate risk, reduce the impact of financial risks, and avoid compliance issues.

Plan Your Acquisitions Strategically

Hardware procurement should never be solely about solving current problems. You need to buy with an understanding of how your needs will evolve over time. While it’s impossible to predict the future with complete accuracy, you can make informed predictions that allow you to buy hardware strategically.

Remember that the upfront price is only one of many factors to consider. You also need to think about the total cost of ownership and how to reduce it, such as working with a third party maintenance provider to ensure you have warranty coverage after the manufacturer stops supporting the hardware. All OEMs drop support with years of useful life remaining on their systems, so having a plan for this will allow you to maximize your investment and minimize your total cost of ownership significantly.

Choose Your Vendor Wisely

Finally, choose your vendor wisely. The current supply chain meltdown means that buying new hardware from an OEM comes with a years-long wait time. Can you wait that long?

For most organizations, the answer is no. Instead, consider working with a partner like Riverstone Technology. We can deliver timely solutions to your pressing hardware needs, and we’re not affected by the supply chain shortages that are currently hamstringing most manufacturers. We offer lead times of as little as three days, the ability to source any hardware necessary from virtually any manufacturer, and even offer customization options.

In Summation

Hardware procurement does not have to be a nightmare. When you approach the process strategically, with a game plan in mind and an understanding of the six best practices we discussed here, it’s possible to simplify and streamline the entire process. Contact Riverstone today to learn more about how we can support you in your hardware procurement process and beyond.