Have you ever sat in a meeting room waiting for some technical problem to get sorted?
It’s an experience shared by many. Over time, the cost of such disruption can become wildly disproportionate to the cost of the technology itself. Workplace tech may well be costing you far more than you realise, well in excess of what you paid for it originally.
What you discover when you examine workplace tech costs more closely
To regard the value of an average meeting room as being floor space plus a few thousand dollars for equipment and furniture is to seriously undervalue what’s at stake. A meeting room with six people in it earning $50 an hour costs $300 an hour in wages. If the room hosts such meetings for 20 hours per week (only 50% of usage capacity), more than $300,000 per year in wages is involved.
Over a five-year tenancy, that $300k becomes $1.5m. So trying to save maximum dollars per room in equipment and installation at the outset usually turns out to be a false economy. A variation in malfunction rate of just 1% would make a difference of $15,000 over the course of a 5 year lease, and we’re just talking about one modestly sized meeting room. Imagine applying the same principle to 30 or 40 such meeting rooms throughout a large enterprise. That lousy 1% then adds up to more than half a million dollars. Now imagine if such a room had operational difficulties 10% of the time. You are then looking at $5m.
Cutting corners to save on installation costs simply makes no sense under the circumstances, as logically it is more likely to increase your malfunction rate given how influential project execution is to the outcome. Assuming the same hardware is specified, the only real variable becomes installation labour and this in turn is tied to the time taken and the skill level of practitioners.
It’s therefore worth challenging your thought process. If you really want to make the best choices around workplace technology and its installation, the best advice is to base your decisions on outcome rather than price. Think of the real deliverable as being long term.
Why you should be part of the selection process
The Ci Group is all about enhancing the human experience through technology. Success therefore demands maximising an installation’s reliability and usability. Installations that take short cuts in order to provide the lowest price almost invariably work in the opposite direction.
The mentality at Ci is different. At any given moment, the majority of Ci workplace installations are for a core group of loyal customers who have long come to appreciate the Ci Group’s care and attention to detail. (Many of these customers have been with Ci for more than a decade.)
The prevalent attitude at Ci is therefore “ongoing customer focused” rather than “short term transaction focused”. So if you want the kind of work tech experience that leading corporations and institutions enjoy, you are well advised to participate in the decision making process for tech supplier. It is truly amazing how many workplaces leave the selection responsibility to third parties such as builders or project managers that have no ongoing interest in the outcome.
Understanding Replacement Lifecycles
Some AV components age more gracefully than others. Loudspeakers, for example, last a very long time and don’t date very quickly. Cables are even more robust and usually don’t need reinstalling unless there has been a change in specification. LCD screens, on the other hand, do age quite quickly, whether as a result of technology progressing or due to reduced performance over time.
This variation in lifecycle informs two sustainability strategies. One is to spend a little extra on the more durable items as you will have them for longer. The other is to manage the more transitory components with an upgrade path replacement plan. This keeps your technology up to date with minimum wastage.
Plan for a lifetime use
Workplace technology is something best supported on a continual basis throughout its lifetime, not just covered by a rectification period of twelve months or less. Workplace tech is not a building material. It’s a mixture of componentry and software where things are likely to occasionally go wrong during a lifetime of use. Once you accept that reality, the challenge then becomes minimising the negative impact to productivity.
One method of doing so is to ensure faulty items are replaced as soon as is practical, even if on a temporary basis, in order to keep the room operational. Properly planned support therefore includes the capacity to quickly deploy substitute equipment as necessary. Good lifetime support also provides ongoing access to training in order to minimise user error. People come and go.
The real cost of collaborative workplace technology is borne over its lifetime of use, and the majority of that cost relates to people. By far the best method to address the issue is a support & sustainability agreement. It minimises your downtime and with pre-emptive maintenance reduces the chance of something going wrong in the first place.