Researching, evaluating, selecting, and finally buying new technology and IT equipment may not be exciting at times, but it's a big part of most tech leaders' roles.
According to research reports, organizations are spending twice as much time on IT procurement as they did three years ago, and those that do not practice effective procurement strategies spend a minimum of 20 percent more than they should on IT assets per year on an ongoing basis.
A key element to effective procurement is having a purchase policy in place. A good policy is one that details request processes, approval requirements, and if deemed necessary, pertinent background information and an explanation of policy stipulations.
Policy templates can help you get started
While it's clearly not brain surgery, creating a policy often isn't as easy as it seems. Because a company's size and culture are vital influences when it comes to creating policy, simply using a colleague's policy isn't always a good idea, as it likely won't fit your particular enterprise's needs.
For instance, small tech firms or IT divisions within midsize companies obviously don't need the detailed, often in-depth policy that a global conglomerate likely requires, as the user base and approval process are notably different.
To help you build an appropriate policy for your enterprise, TechRepublic is offering two IT equipment procurement policy templates sent in by your fellow TechRepublic members.
Each template provides examples of specific sections to help IT leaders determine what their policy should or shouldn't include and how best to organize the various purchase processes.
The first template, Technology Procurement Policy, provides an example of a detailed procurement procedure. The policy maps out the level of IT support on both approved purchases and purchases not covered under the policy. The document also explains why the policy is in place and how other IT efforts—such as LAN investments—are clearly tied to purchase processes.
The second template, Technology Requisition Procedure, is a more concise policy. It dictates prerequisites for equipment purchases, outlines the requisition and approval process, and covers cost issues. This shorter template doesn’t provide as much background detail on why and how the policy has been created as the Technology Procurement Policy.
No matter which template is used, a new or revamped purchase process doesn’t just stop with the creation of a policy document.
A procurement policy in action
One company, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, has taken its IT equipment purchase policy a step further and has housed it on the corporate intranet to foster collaboration and speed the process. Markus Sinclair, a hardware specialist, outlined the step-by-step process by which his Louisville, KY-based enterprise approaches equipment purchases:
- Someone initiates an idea for a new purchase, and this request is presented to a small research team that researches products meeting user criteria.
- Once a suitable piece of equipment is found, a purchase order is processed via the intranet, and the researching team, CIO, purchase originator, and departmental administrative assistant are notified.
- The order is processed, and the supplier ships the item.
- When the internal mailroom receives the equipment, it notifies IT via e-mail, and the equipment is then transported to the IT department.
- At this point, vital data (serial number, model number, manufacturer, etc.) is recorded and the item is given a bar code number. This number is transferred to a sticker that is placed in plain sight on the equipment. At the same time, the PO and invoices are updated/paid/closed, etc.
- This paper-based data is then input into a tracking application. Once this is done, any movement of this equipment—from storage, to the field, or internally—is recorded by scanning the bar code with a PDA equipped with a bar code scanner. This updates the location of the equipment in the software. Simultaneously, the item information is recorded in a database using the bar code number. This database is used to audit the fixed-asset database in which the bar code scanners interface.
Using this method, the IT department can locate and track any item that meets fixed-asset criteria.
Take the initial step to creating a vital IT equipment policy for your organization by downloading these templates today.