Social Security Administration

Implement smarter workstation replacement policies

It is a given that CPUs need to be replaced every so often to accommodate software upgrades and improve processing speeds. (Perhaps it is true that some agencies, such as SSA, replace them too frequently, but that is the subject of other SAVE Award ideas so I will not get into that here.) However, computer monitors have longer life cycles and so whenever agencies do a workstation replacement they should not simply replace the monitor along with the CPU as a matter of course. This could save agencies a lot of money without hurting performance.

 

I do believe that agencies should phase out any old bulky CRT monitors entirely and replace them with flat panel monitors, and should consider the need to provide certain employees with dual-monitor setups (the increase in productivity that would result makes this a very smart investment for many employees). Nevertheless, once agencies modernize their inventories of monitors they should be much more judicious about replacing them. I would even argue that monitors don't need a set replacement schedule at all. Rather, agencies would simply replace them on an as-needed basis (to replace broken monitors, manage agency growth, etc.).

 

Now, I understand that the per-unit cost of a workstation might increase if agencies have separate purchasing arrangements for CPUs and monitors, but it would still result in total net savings since fewer monitors would be purchased. Agencies should therefore consider the need to develop a smarter procurement strategy. However, I do not know exactly how SSA operates in this regard, and I am not an IT person, so I welcome any feedback.

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Idea No. 16069