5. Are you standardized?
Cottingham says this is the best time for companies to streamline their support of gear and applications and create configuration guidelines. By narrowing down the number of platforms, applications and devices that are supported, IT can cut help desk costs dramatically. Standardisation also helps users who are struggling to figure out what remote or home-office setups they should purchase.
Streamlining acceptable operating system and application configurations will go a long way toward keeping the cost of Vista upgrades in check. If you limit the feature sets that are turned on in the operating system as well as what applications can be loaded, you can lower the overall CPU and memory requirements.
"You don't have to turn on every bell and whistle that Vista has to offer," Cottingham says. Trimming the size of the operating system by turning off some features enables you to make do with the CPU and memory you already have on some machines. "Take time to really test-drive Vista to determine the feature sets you'll need," he says.
He also recommends using the information you gather from your automated inventory and user survey to determine which applications and devices are in common use and add those to your Vista compatibility check. "This is your chance to get in front of these applications before deployment," he says. IT groups can also figure out what applications can be phased out or retired.
6. What's your plan to avoid a technology pileup?
A final part of your budget should be allocated for the recovery and disposal of older gear. "Make sure you have a plan for bringing PCs back to IT and protecting company information," Cottingham says. All hard drives and storage devices should be centrally backed up and then wiped clean before disposal.
He adds that companies should consider a recycling programme. "The last thing you want are stacks and stacks of notebooks, desktops and other equipment. You need to take care of those items in a responsible way."