3 Dec 2012
By Mark Evans
The biggest problem with the digital age is the continual need for up-to-date computer hardware to access the best of the Web, database, point-of-sale and mobile innovations. But hardware costs money. If your entire business is behind hardware-wise, that can translate into a lot of money.
Here’s a checklist to assess if you’re ready to scrap your desktops, laptops, modems, servers and mobile devices, and go shopping for something new.
Add up the real cost
Buying a new computers for your team is pricey. But don’t stop doing the math there. You need to add the price of office downtime and the likely need for additional tech support from an outside consultant. If your hardware is really dated, your team may need a lot of training to use it. As well, newer hardware often requires newer software. Factor in the cost of upgrading that and the additional time it will take to install and get used to its new features and functions.
Can you go partial?
Maybe only some members of your team need new mobile devices. Or maybe what your team needs is better monitors or a new server, not new desktops. Think of how you can integrate new hardware gradually. But be wary: if different staff members are on different devices, they may not be compatible. If a new element of the system such as a server, will it talk to your existing set-up?
Are there virtual solutions?
If your company is not on the cutting edge tech wise, you might not be aware of some less expensive solutions that require no hardware at all. Online databases, servers, backup systems, fax services and more are now available online, often for low monthly fees or for free. Make sure you have a good tech person who might be able to help you understand what’s out there so you can get rid of some ancient hardware and go virtual instead.
Are you falling behind?
Perhaps the only real question to ask is: can you afford not to upgrade? If staff is wasting time with old technology, that is costing you money on a daily basis. If clients are coming in and can’t get what they want because of your clunky hardware, that’s serious. If your company can no longer innovate with new ideas, products or services, you definitely need to invest in the right hardware to change that.
It goes without saying that when you do upgrade, shop around. You may not need the top-of-the-line with all the bells and whistles. Compare prices and advice so you’re paying just for what you need to stay current.