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Asset management pencil, pen or… stylus?

The anecdote that contrasts a very expensive American pen against a sharp Russian pencil as a solution to the same problem, writing in space, is well known. Although it is a distorted anecdote, frames very well the key of this article:

The cost
of the technical means used must be
with the performance of the task to be performed.

I admit that it has always seemed obvious to me, but will it be verifiable? Before we go to collectpilar some interesting cases that have already happened.

  • Munich City Council case. The time has come to face a massive renovation of computers (15.000), due to the "end of support" of the MS Windows-XP operating system (¡ scheduled for April 8, 2014 !) the alternatives were:
    • Do nothing.
    • Migrate to MS Windows 8, buy computers with sufficient features and update the work programs to this operating system.
    • Migrate to an updated operating system suitable for existing computers. Adapt work programs to this new platform.

Final decision: we keep the equipment, we migrate to a less demanding operating system (LiMux) and migrate the applications. The savings achieved are estimated at 11 million euros (more than 30%).

Corollary: In light of this success, a new campaign has been launched in Munich to encourage citizens to switch to a Light Linux operating system: Lubuntu.

  • French Gendarmerie case. Since 2004, the office automation posts of the French police ("la Gendermerie nationale") have been replacing various commercial software products with freely distributed products.
    • First of all, desktop applications: from MS Office to Apache OpenOffice; Mozilla Thunderbird for the mail; Gimp for images or VLC for multimedia (37.000 computers). 
    • Later, the operating system: from MS Windows to Ubuntu (72.000 computers).

Final decision: migrate the teams following a gradual and inexorable plan of action, still in progress.

Corollary: 40% lower cost of ownership. Gradual transition (applications first, operating system later). Gently and with a firm hand.

nut wrench

In these examples we have a clear common pattern: thousands of computers with change of applications and operating system, a shirt too big for our small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).


Let's go down to earth And for an SME with 50 teams? We are going to use a series of elementary pieces of both equipment («hardware«) And applications («software«), Which we will combine based on typified tasks and we will review how they impact competitiveness.

Starting with the most general: Office automation stations.

  • The iron: between 400 and 700 EUR
  • Gummies: for an MS Office with Outlook but without Access (Standard version), it will be about 300 EUR. However, if we "need" MS Access (Pro Plus version), we will be around 500 EUR ... without "update insurance".

That is to say, about 42.500 EUR of cost if we use licensed software, which, amortized over 24 months, represents 1.770 EUR / month of mortgage.

If we rely on free software, we will be around 1.145 EUR / month.

Therefore, with licensed office software
we will have to raise 7.500 extra EUR every year
… To tie.

Raising the level of specialization: Positions of a software factory.

  • The iron: between 700 and 1.000 EUR
  • Gummies:   a whole world.

We have from scenarios with most free distribution tools (such as Eclipse) and ecoLogical manufacturing processes (shared infrastructure cost) to highly involved scenarios with recognized manufacturers (such as Microsoft or IBM), with highly specialized valuable tools.

Specifying, to the mud.

Since … Eclipse for everyone and 20% of "advanced" positions, equipped with modeling tools such as Enterprise Architect (200 EUR / unit), productivity with standard databases TOAD (1.000 EUR / unit), management type MS Project or MS Visio (450 EUR / unit) together with proprietary development environments such as MS Visual Studio Professional Standard (500 EUR / unit). Only that 20% weighs on us: 10 seats x (1.000 EUR / iron + 2.150 EUR / jelly beans) = 31.500 EUR, while the rest we set at 40 positions x 700 EUR / iron = 28.000 EUR. Total: 59.500 EUR.

Until ... a cast of a 80% of highly specialized positions, keeping the remaining 20% ​​as "advanced". We are talking about tools like Toad DBA Suite or MS Visual Studio Premium (6.000 EUR / unit). Assumes a total of EUR 311.500, I repeat: three hundred eleven thousand five hundred euros of fleece.

If we rely on tight means,
we will be around 2.500 EUR / month

compared to the almost 13.000 EUR / month of mortgage that the team of 50 super-specialists will have to raise.


What if we shuffle it all? Highly specialized positions that also use the commercial office portfolio. Fine thing.

At the end of the fiscal year, we invite you to apply a V-factormultiplicative (greater than 1,5 times) and motivated by the growing virtualization practices.

In summary,
use for all licensed or commercial programs
it's not free,
From the first day they start to be used, we add fees
of a «software mortgage»
that only our productivity can pay.

The contrary argument also exists. It is said that with premium tools «fully equipped»The tasks are carried out with less effort and greater productivity, do you get the accounts?


Miguel Ángel Nicolaus

Miguel Ángel Nicolaus

Miguel Ángel is CIO, Director of Innovation and co-founder of Panel Sistemas. Follow @ mnicolao11 on Twitter, or visit their profile at Analysis. You can also contact him via e-mail at this address.

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