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Is the boss nickel-and-diming your IT operations?

A guest post from John Monroe, editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week.

It’s only human nature: An old clunker of a laptop computer doesn’t seem so bad when money is tight. Especially to the manager who has to watch the bottom line and who doesn’t mind waiting two minutes for a PDF document to load.

It might not be ideal, but it’s good enough.

Many of us use the same rationale when it comes to buying a car. Faced with our own tight budget, we are willing to put up with a growing number of glitches until the cash outflow becomes intolerable – or the junker simply breaks down.

The problem is that in the workplace, such decisions might have unintended consequences. At what point does old technology go from being an inconvenience to being a productivity problem?

Unfortunately, it’s tough to put a price on productivity, while the price tag on a new laptop is visible for all to see. Putting off the inevitable purchase might only save a nickel here and a dime there, but do that long enough and it all adds up.

Worse yet, in the current budget environment – which might be getting much worse in the months and years ahead – “good enough” is likely to be an evolving standard, and not for the better.

Is your agency cutting corners on IT operations? And what are the unintended consequences?

Posted by John Stein Monroe on Nov 18, 2011 at 12:18 PM

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Fri, Nov 18, 2011 Cowboy Joe

Lame as an "article", but interesting as a conversation starter... there're a few college boys and girls out there who've done some pretty detailed studies on statistical breakpoints between maintaining and replacing. (It might be surprising to some how fast a business can get to the point where maintenance costs exceed replacement costs.) Probably should'a looked some of those up and cited 'em in the article...

Fri, Nov 18, 2011

Very interesting article. If you have an employee that earns $50,000 a year and has to wait 2 minutes for a document to load only 5 times a day, after a year you have about $1,000 in wasted time. What does a new PC or laptop cost?

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