3com Corp. has teamed up with Alinian, a provider of financial software, to offer administrators free use of an investment tool that can evaluate proposed technology solutions to determine if they’re a good value for the district. The Alinian ROI Analyst program is specifically calibrated with demographic data that can inform school district budget decisions, 3Com said. With a two-page set of questions, educators can identify what type of IT solution they’re looking for and the size of their district. The software then uses this information to analyze the proposed solution’s return on investment (ROI). The 3com product suite is used as the default pricing mechanism. But labor rates, industry averages within the United States, and other necessary economic information reportedly can be overwritten by users. The free service is designed to be a new foot-in-the-door strategy for the company–a 3com representative brings the ROI Analyst software to his or her meetings with school administrators, enters the relevant information, and generates a report based on that information. While you wait, your 3com representative would be happy to discuss with you all the voice-over-IP (VoIP) solutions that 3com offers. 3com representative John Halpin noted that all these solutionsare based on industry standards and therefore do not necessarily have the three- to four-year refreshment cycle common to many technologies. “The fact that we do everything for interoperability allows you to get better value out of your new investments, because we are not proprietary with the protocols,” Halpin said. “The cost of training for your people is also less, because [our solutions are] based on an industry-standard perspective.”

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