Every business needs to routinely purchase new computer hardware or software, from the smallest of startups to the largest of multi-national companies. What should your business prioritize when it comes time to consider technology purchases? From desktops to laptops, printers, servers, and telephone systems, it is a lot to consider and can take up a large part of your IT (Information Technology) budget. These purchases should be incorporated into your larger business plan and strategy. While technology is important, it is merely a tool that helps your business. It is a tool that must fit the purpose it aims to serve, much like finding the right-sized socket for your wrench. It will not be a silver bullet that makes your business, but poor planning and purchasing can certainly break your business. That is why pim believes in first looking at your actual needs so that it can best synchronize your people, process, and technology.
What Should Your Business Consider When Purchasing New Hardware?
- What will it be used for?
- Who will be using it?
- How will it be maintained?
What Will it Be Used for?
Before making any purchases, and really, before beginning your search, make a list of what features your business uses regularly and which ones would make your team more efficient. For example, if your team extensively uses mobile devices, you will need to make sure that the printer you purchase has a mobile printing feature, but you may not need the ability to print in color.
Another thing to consider is what applications your hardware will be using. Some businesses may require the fastest type of processors to perform functions like video editing or design. But, in general, most business tasks can be completed with a standard processor. This is also a suitable time to consider how much storage you need and determine if cloud storage options would be best for your organization.
Who Will be Using it?
Chances are that your employees actually know a thing or two. (If they do not, that is an issue FAR outside the scope of this blog.) Your employees may have already done some research on their own as to what might make their work more efficient. Additionally, with more than half of the workforce working remotely at least once a week, considering mobility is a wise choice. The hardware you choose can have a significant impact on your team’s ability to work remotely and still collaborate effectively daily. Purchasing desktops for employees that telecommute part-time would be unwise, while laptops outfitted with a collaborative tool like Microsoft O365 would be a wise investment.
How Will it be Maintained?
Just like any purchase, the value of your hardware and software depends upon several factors—quality, price, and service after the sale. Just because a laptop has the cheapest price tag, does not mean it will end up having the best value because if it is not the right tool for the job, you just bought your business an expensive dust collector. And if you must quickly replace it because it does not come with a warranty or the vendor does not provide post-sale service, then you will be buying that cheap laptop multiple times. Remember, the actual cost of a product is only part of the total cost of ownership (TCO)—which is the sum of all costs incurred over the product’s useful life.
Here are other things to consider when purchasing your business new hardware or software:
How much will it cost to return the broken item, including shipping and fees? How much time will your staff spend dealing with it? Will your business operations be impacted by the stop in service with down computers? If you are using technology to help your business run smoothly, it will not help much if that technology stops running and you have no way to solve it!
If something is wrong with the product, who will take care of it? If a warranty applies to your purchase, what does it include? Will it replace or repair the item in question and if so, how much will that cost, and who will have to deal with it?
Technology is ever evolving. You should expect ongoing improvements to be released and applied in the form of updates, security patches, and versions. These updates help boost overall performance, introduce new features, and address new security risks. Service agreements are vital for technology products that are used for business functions because operational losses due to outdated hardware or software can be costly. In some industries, such as healthcare, outdated software can also be non-compliant with governmental industry standards and regulations.
When you purchase your own devices, pim charges for the 1st hour of prep time, and your responsibility will be to communicate with the manufacturer about any warranty work. This is especially a hassle if you purchase through Amazon, eBay, or a similar online merchant as these devices typically do not come with a warranty. Then you must work with whoever sold you the product for reimbursement. When you purchase new hardware from pim, be it a laptop, desktop, or server, pim includes 1 FREE hour of prep time for the device. Additionally, should the item break during the warranty period, pim takes care of that hassle for you, working directly with the warranty company to facilitate the repairs.
Many organizations without dedicated IT departments are tempted to use price as the driving factor when making technology purchasing decisions. As a managed services provider with over twenty years of experience helping businesses find what technology helps propel them forward, pim urges companies to evaluate not just the price tag, but the total cost of ownership and the quality of service after sale as well.