Order laptops ahead, and be flexible on alternative equipment

A worldwide supply chain crunch has hampered timely delivery of IT equipment to customers of all types. For Community IT, that list includes our nonprofit clients as well as ourselves.  

From our regular distributor, networking equipment orders (such as firewalls, switches, wireless access points and accessories) for our most often recommended manufacturers have lead times extending up to 300 days (almost a year)! As we explore other brands, we are seeing similar lack of inventory to fill orders, sometimes for hundreds of days out.

This is frustrating for everyone, as we need replacement equipment for aging hardware and new equipment for new deployments. Some projects are on hold awaiting equipment, and we have had to get creative to be able to respond to emergencies where new hardware is needed. Six month or longer waits are common for hardware we have already ordered. Orders that are going in now may be delayed even longer.

Workstations – PC’s and Macs both – are similarly delayed, but manufacturers do seem to have some pre-built machines readily available. If you need custom laptops or something not listed in inventory, it will take longer. At the same time, laptops are taking on a larger and larger role in our remote and hybrid work lives.

If you are considering ordering for your personal use or to replace a laptop you use for work, don’t wait. Be sure to consider the least-customized version which may be in stock and ship sooner, and if you need anything additional like storage or other equipment, know that your order may be delayed. If you are considering a desktop or laptop for your home office, we discuss some things to consider here. If you want to maximize your home wifi, we discuss internet solutions for the home office here.

We are planning replacements and projects further out than we normally do to try to overcome this IT supply chain pain for nonprofits. Where necessary, we will renew support and licensing for an extra year while we wait for a new order to be fulfilled, when we can’t quickly replace equipment that has reached our recommended end of expected life. For example, we recommend replacing firewalls every 5 years, but may have to push some replacements past that age, depending on what is available, and when. For firewalls and other equipment needed for security, we don’t like to eke extra months out, but it is better than going without entirely! Because we keep all software up to date with patches, we are confident in are ability to keep your organization secure, and we are always extra-vigilant with older hardware.

You may also have to explore brands outside of your usual equipment to accommodate these delays, if the need is urgent. You can be assured we will always do our homework into different brands, so you don’t have to. You can rely on our broad view of the nonprofit IT landscape, and our close up understanding of all your options within that landscape. And as always, if you have questions, be sure to ask your IT provider – they should be able to answer and happy to involve you in decision making.

Ready get strategic about your IT?

At Community IT Innovators, we’ve found that many nonprofit organizations deal with more IT issues than they should have to.

Community IT has been serving nonprofits exclusively for twenty years. We offer Managed IT support services for nonprofits that want to outsource all or part of their IT support and hosted services. For a fixed monthly fee, we provide unlimited remote and on-site helpdesk support, proactive network management, and ongoing IT planning from a dedicated team of experts in nonprofit-focused IT. We regularly present webinars on all aspects of managing nonprofit IT, including IT budgeting and change management so this IT supply chain pain for nonprofits won’t impact you unawares. And our clients benefit from our IT Business Managers who will work with you to strategize your IT investments, if you don’t have an internal IT Director.

If you’re ready to gain peace of mind about your IT support, let’s talk.