How many processor types will your company buy?
With the economic downturn, even more companies are cutting budgets to the bone. One easy target for saving money is limiting the types of processors the company uses. Not only may the company be able to buy in bulk and save, but since standardizing on a few processor types usually results in standardizing on a few PC configurations, the company can cut down on support costs -- and headaches -- at the same time.
For some companies, deploying a single processor type to every workstation is effective. For example, in a standardized environment such as a call center, each worker and manager may be able to work productively on a PC equipped with a modest processor that will give several years' service. However, most companies will need different processor types tailored to the needs of different groups of employees.
You will need to assess the tasks the employees perform and the type of processor required. For example, an assistant who uses only word processing, spreadsheets and email needs only a run-of-the-mill processor, preferably backed by enough RAM to handle the slowdowns that come with Windows Updates and antivirus patches. By contrast, a developer will need a faster processor -- and probably much more RAM -- in order to be fully productive.
It's important to carefully assess processor needs for laptops as well as for desktops. There's no point in saving on the desktop but letting senior management run hog-wild ordering the most portable and desirable laptops -- even though this happens widely.
This was first published in August 2008