From a recent survey done by Symantec involving 500 global companies, it was observed that nearly 50% of those companies "still struggle to manage complex infrastructure built on different hardware and software from different vendors". (Courtney) Upgrading and troubleshooting can be much easier with a standardised set of hardware. Configuring and installing patch upgrades to software also becomes simpler, easing the burden on network administrators. In a heterogeneous environment (i.e. one with many different hardware and software platforms) different expertise will be required for configuration and administration, thus increasing the complexity of administration.
Cost reductions are possible due to bulk purchasing. Hardware can be purchased at discounts when buying in multiple units. Software licensing costs can be reduced by applying for volume licensing. Instead of getting per-seat licenses, companies can negotiate for flat licensing schemes which do not depend on the number of seats. (Schweitzer)
End user training becomes much simpler with a standard set of software. The support staff finds it easy to troubleshoot queries from end users resulting in minimum disruption for work. Moving within divisions and branches will be without the pain of learning a new set of applications every time an employee changes location.
Quick troubleshooting turnar...
Installation of licensed software eliminates most problems caused by defective pirated software, lack of documentation and technical support. (Why a License Matters). These benefits indirectly increase the stability of the network.
However, standardization is not without its drawbacks. Single vendor lock-in, vulnerability to buyouts of vendors and inability to support varied needs and platforms of certain staff such as designing and publishing staffs are the possible drawbacks. (Schweitzer)
The last drawback of not being able to support varied requirements of end users can be reduced to a certain extent by having multiple load images. A load image (or a boot image) is a type of disk file which typically "includes the operating system, utilities and diagnostics, as well as boot and data recovery information" (Boot image). Different boot images can be bundled together with specific application requirements of different user groups. As such, maintaining multiple load images as apposed to a single image can be advantageous.
As noted earlier, software standardisation helps companies to manage their software licensing. The benefits are two fold; cost reductions and ease of administration and liaison. As a result, organisations can fulfill their ethical obligations by abstaining from software piracy and can also guard against severe penalties enforced by stringent piracy laws.
Abiding to software piracy laws and proper licensing of all software applications helps a company to become a member of the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), a professional body formed to combat software piracy. FAST is very strict about its members adhering to the code of conduct put forward by them. Members get a range of benefits including education,