Survey: Total cost of ownership trumps price but not by much

Total cost of ownership is more important than price, according to half the respondents to a survey of Washington Technology readers.

But 42 percent of respondents, who were government contractors, said that price or immediate value outweighs total cost of ownership. Eight percent were not sure.

The question was part of a survey on green information technology and contractor awareness of government programs and requirements promoting green IT.

Of the 92 respondents, two-thirds reported that they could provide enough information on total cost of ownership for government buyers to make a decision. However, in a companion survey that went to government readers of Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, only 45 percent said they had received enough information to determine total cost of ownership.

When asked about the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) that government buyers are required to use, only 31 percent of Washington Technology respondents said they were aware of the program. This compared to 26 percent of the government respondents in the FCW/GCN survey.

The program evaluates and scores the environmental impact of desktops, monitors, notebooks and integrated systems, which combine a desktop and a monitor. Agencies are required to buy products that meet EPEAT standards.

Comments in the survey about the EPEAT program expressed a need for greater demand and awareness of the program as well as some skepticism of it.

Fifty-six percent said the program would be more helpful if stock-keeping-unit (SKU) level data was available for each EPEAT product.

For their own internal operations, 30 percent of contractors responding to the survey said their companies link energy costs to performance evaluations of their IT departments. In the survey of the GCN and FCW readers, only 8 percent said their agencies tied energy use to the IT department's performance.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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