Have you ever been in a situation where something has been around so long that you couldn’t imagine the world without it? Then “someone” makes a decision to take it away and your first reactions are fear, resentment and anxiety. You feel a sense of loss that slowly translates into doubt as you begin to question why this decision was made. You become anxious and confused and you can’t imagine how you could live without ‘this’. It is really easy to get stuck here, and that can end up being problematic.
In these situations you need to be deliberate in order to move forward. You need to step back and separate fiction from reality and explore the reasons behind the decision. You need to question what is really the worst thing that can happen, and look objectively at how you can move forward. You need to question what is important, that you got from ‘this’, and what do you really need. This will allow you to better understand and work through the change.
At the end of March we closed our Campus Computer Store. The Store has been around for a long time and has touched a lot of people over the years, but the world, and the market has changed. It used to be that every fall many students would pick up a new computer when they arrived on campus and now they all come with one already. We are seeing vendors like Apple and Microsoft selling directly to their educational customers and there is a proliferation of on-line competitors. The store has always had two sides, retail and internal procurement. Over the last few years retail sales have gone down dramatically, which has really put the operational model we use into an unsustainable position and we needed to rethink how we do this.
On top of that we have seen a big push towards commoditization of desktop technologies. When we standardize on our desktop and mobile devices, it enhances the user experience, becomes less expensive to procure and easier to support, freeing resources for other more meaningful activities. If we are being truly objective, close to 100% of the devices we use on our desks should be treated like a commodity. When we come into work there is a phone on our desk (stay tuned on that one) and we simply accept it is there. There may be choice of a few models, depending on your role, but if it breaks we bring you a new one that looks and works the same. We need to think about our desktops and laptops the same way. As we evolve more into cloud services, there is less reason for storing files locally and most of us should have a common set of tools available. That allows us to simply swap out a machine whenever a problem arises. There will be exceptions to this and some people will have unique needs, but they should be few and far between and can be accommodated.
At the moment you can go to the procurement site and you can buy just like you did before and have goods delivered directly to you. You may even notice some of the prices are better, and there is no mark-up, which was necessary to cover the costs of running the store. In the next short while you are going to see a list of preferred desktops and mobile devices to make your decisions even easier.
On top of that, ITS is going to expand the Direct Computer Support program to support hardware. “This means that your desktop computer will be just a device you use, can be easily replaced, and have a predictable and consistent fixed cost over time.
It is hard when something you are used to changes, and it is normal to be a little cautious and have questions. However, don’t let the feelings of loss and frustration distract you from being objective. Try and understand the need for the change, engage with the individuals and groups supporting people though the change, help shape the change, explore how the change can help you and you may end up in a better place than you are today.