This article originally appeared in the November issue of the Grand Valley Construction Association Journal.

The information technology landscape is constantly changing. Reactive businesses – those who jump on a technology bandwagon – can lose market share to more proactive, strategy-driven competitors. The risks of an unsuitable decision when procuring IT hardware and software can cost your business more than the sticker price. It can create lengthy downtime, disappoint customers, and damage your reputation.

The best strategy to ensure that IT procurement meets your business’ needs is to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends. The procurement departments who routinely outpace their competitors are proactive; they are constantly engaged with experts to find technology solutions for business-critical problems.

Improving the Procurement Process

Improving the procurement process within your business requires IT expertise and long-term planning:

Step 1: Build a network of specialists in various IT fields

  • Encourage IT teams to develop a robust, accessible “organizational memory” for all systems and components within the IT infrastructure. Be sure to use backup devices like a QNAP to safeguard against any outages.
  • Shore-up internal knowledge deficiencies by networking with consultants and other trusted advisors, who can provide counsel and help with long-term strategic plans.

Step 2: Understand the difference between saving money and creating value.

  • Choose to invest in IT infrastructure that enables business growth, increases productivity or reduces costs over the long – not short – term. A new, more powerful laptop or workstation can save your business weeks of lost productivity and hardship per year, by completing simple task with ease and less delay.
  • Look beyond the sticker price when purchasing hardware; consider efficiency, interoperability, durability, and lifespan.

Key IT Procurement Checklist for Managers

Effective IT procurement is a three-stage process. The following checklist can help your business ensure that procurement decisions create value.

Pre-Purchase: Establish goals, processes and contingencies

  • How should changes in scope and changes in orders be handled?
  • What are the important costs versus budget considerations?
  • What are the most effective methods of obtaining executive commitment?

The Buying Process: Effectively manage the process start-to-finish

  • What processes in the acquisition phase can be automated, minimized, or eliminated?
  • Can we outsource all or part of the procurement process?
  • What milestones or checkpoints are critical to ensuring the purchase stays on track?

Post-Purchase: Begin with the end in mind

  • What are some provisions for early termination and renewals?
  • What are the available end-of-life strategies?

Pund-IT has partnerships with the world’s leading hardware and software manufacturers. Call us at 519-342-4004 to consult with our team of experts on your next purchase.
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