If a school opts to purchase refurbished technology, it won’t just save money – it can also help with transitioning between different versions of hardware, and help you hedge against obsolescence while making gradual, continual changes. By avoiding the very latest hardware and software releases, you may find that it’s easier to maintain compatibility across an institution.
Buying refurbished can also help to eliminate the dissatisfaction that comes with one department using newer equipment than others (which may itself lead to compatibility issues). Newer hardware may, for example, require different versions of software, which will not only cost more but can also cause difficulties with workflow.
Refurbished technology can further simplify the maintenance of your IT operations, since everyone will be on the same integrated and compatible system. Rather than having to introduce whole new procedures for each new release and addition to your IT resources, refurbished equipment from previous generations can allow you to use the same kit across the school, making support procedures much simpler.
Refurbished technology is also great from an environmental point of view, and if you have goals relating to sustainability, then this is one way to achieve them. Often, there’s won’t be any major issues with refurbished equipment – it could be an old store display model, or have one faulty part that’s easily replaced.
Yet if items like this aren’t refurbished for resell, they’ll likely end up in landfill. This means you won’t just be helping your IT budget go further, but also ensuring that the school does its bit to reduce e-waste and save the planet.
Despite these strong arguments, however, the most compelling is the cost advantages. Refurbished kit can be priced 15% to 30% cheaper than new, making a huge difference if your budget has been slashed or remained static despite increases in your student intake. Those lower costs also mean that you can get more for your money. By avoiding the ‘latest and greatest’, it’s possible to opt for an earlier model with greater storage and faster RAM.
Maximising the use of your IT budget can also let you install a wider range of technologies for students to take advantage of. You might not be comfortable letting a class loose on brand new, fragile tablets that cost a fortune and may shatter during the first lesson – but if you’ve managed to secure a significant cost reduction on a model that’s proven to be robust or particularly suited to your needs, you’ll be able to return that little bit more value to the classroom.
From laptops and tablets, to storage and infrastructure, if you’re looking for a way to make your IT budget stretch as far as possible, refurbished technology might well be the best approach.
James Stoner is the founder of JSPC Computer Services