Preparing For Business
Businesses today require the right tools for the job, just as they always have. However, it is important to learn just what tools they might be, and confusion and misinformation abounds when it comes to IT solutions and tools. Familiarizing yourself with your options and potential solutions to your business needs can be the difference between a smooth, profitable business and one that exists in a constant grinding, frustrating struggle with technical support, equipment repairs, and replacements. Today, I will discuss a few different examples of companies with differing needs and what can happen when those needs are met and when those needs are incorrectly assumed.
For our first hypothetical company, let’s imagine a branch of an insurance company. This branch has a few specific IT needs, such as phones, computers, and a central server. For ease of use, let’s make up some general numbers for the prices and relative quality of the equipment we’ll need for our branch. First: Phones. For this, we will need a medium-quality office phone. Something with intercom functionality and headset functionality for ease of use. Each of our employees will need their desks to be equipped with one of these, so we should have plenty in stock. Next, we will need desktop computers for each desk. These don’t need to be top-tier, but it’s important not to skimp on your equipment. Each of these computers should medium quality and be no older than 2 years. After the two year mark, maintenance begins to become problematic and costs for maintenance will increase. It is important to note that replacing a computer can sometimes be more cost-effective than repairing it. Finally, the most important piece of IT equipment for our insurance branch will be its on-site server. For this, we will want something reliable and fast, as it will be responsible for managing all on-site customer records as well as login accounts for our employees.
So, for our hypothetical insurance company, we’ve saved some cost on our desktop computers and phones by purchasing mid-range equipment, but we made sure to pay for what we needed in a powerful and reliable on-site server.
For our next experiment, we’ll explore the possibilities of a company that offers remodeling services. Their home office uses a powerful but taxing software program that allows them to simulate floor plans and potential remodels of their customers home. This is important, since it means that this company needs computers that can handle running this software on a regular basis. Powerful computers with the components needed to handle regularly running software like this can range from $800 to more than $1200, depending on the specific requirements of the software, but on the bright side, powerful equipment like this is hardy and will last years if taken care of properly. A higher price tag now will save this small company thousands in later repairs and replacements. We’ll still need phones, and either an on-site server to store the large files that their software produces, but both of these can be bought at mid or low range prices for our purposes here.
It is tempting when purchasing IT equipment go buy from the lowest bidder, or to go all out and buy the most expensive and high-grade equipment you can, but it is important to understand your business’ needs and plan accordingly. Simply weighing your options and finding the most cost-effective solution can save you thousands, if not more, in the long run.