Do the Right Thing, and Spend Money on Hardware
Charlie O'Donnell tees off on corporate email storage policies. This is a topic that's near and dear to my heart, if only because it typifies the frustrating element of working in corporate America, which has a tendency to obey policy over common sense. He does some back-of-the-envelope calculations about time lost to managing email:
75k/52weeks/45 hours a week = $32.05 an hour.
$32.05 an hour x 26 weeks x 10 minutes a week = $277.78 a person [every two weeks] in time lost managing e-mail storage.
$277.78 x 150 people = $41,666 a year in wasted e-mail storage management time.
A quick scan of Techbargains shows a 160GB drive going for forty bucks. Assume the cost for a redundant, enterprise-level solution is 10x, and you're still only talking $400 to save headaches, frustration, and get a nice $41k return... and that's to give your employees half the storage they can get for free on Gmail.
This reminds me something Joel Spolsky wrote on the topic several years ago in his article about how to determine a good software company:
At my last job, the system administrator kept sending me automated spam complaining that I was using more than ... get this ... 220 megabytes of hard drive space on the server. I pointed out that given the price of hard drives these days, the cost of this space was significantly less than the cost of the toilet paper I used (emphasis his). Spending even 10 minutes cleaning up my directory would be a fabulous waste of productivity.
When I started at FOX, I was heartened to find a slick laptop and a 19" LCD monitor waiting for me (to match the one I bought for myself three years ago for home use), and to see dual monitor setups on many developers' desks. This is the way it should be--it's just lame for hardware to be the 21st century's corner office. I've been in countless offices where the big LCD went to the guy who least needed it, while developers were stuck microwaving their heads and adjusting refresh rates with 17" CRTs.
Hardware has never been cheaper, and the returns in productivity and employee happiness are well worth the additional cost between an average product and a top-notch one. So get the good stuff next time--your employees and your investors will thank you.