By Jordan McDowell
Purchasing new computers for your business is a daunting endeavor given the cost involved. There are countless brands to choose from and it’s difficult to know which ones will best suit your needs. Are you on the market for something especially high-powered? Maybe you’re a small business owner in need of a technology refresh or you’re undergoing an expansion. Take a look at our tips below for some guidance. We think they’ll help!
Manage Your Expectations – and Your Budget
Before diving in, it’s best to set a clear budget, consider your current computer usage, and map out what you want to improve or change. What are you trying to accomplish, and how do you plan to achieve it? Are you looking to increase the speed and turnaround time of the product or service you’re selling?
You’ll want to think about operating systems, software, and resulting speed and memory requirements. The life of a business computer is said to be about 2-3 years, so it’s probably better to spend a little more money upfront than purchase a budget computer that will underperform and slow you down.
If your employees need portable devices like laptops, smartphones, or tablets, don’t forget to factor that into your decision, too. You’ll want to make sure all systems are interoperable and compatible with one another. Additionally, if employees prefer to use their own tablets or smartphones instead of those of the company, security will be a concern.
Desktop or Laptop?
This should also be a major consideration. Desktops will always offer more bang for your buck if you’re looking for lots of storage and power; plus, they’re easier to upgrade and repair. Certain employees will always need portability though, especially if they travel frequently, so laptops are their only option.
You may want to consider tiers of computers depending on employee titles and productivity needs. Perhaps top-of-the-line desktops will suit the C-suite, but mid-to-lower level employees should be fine with mid-range computers. Slightly used and refurbished computers with high levels of storage and speed are worth thinking about too, if you’re really on a budget.
While most businesses still run Windows, the face of business operating systems is changing, so it’s smart to factor this into your decision-making. Differences between the actual systems for Mac OS and Windows are minimal, but if you’re an ad agency, for example, the clear answer for you is a Mac OS.
For most businesses, mission-critical software is usually found on a Windows PC. While it’s best to pick the same OS for your entire business, certain departments will inevitably need the opposite. Most business verticals require some kind of graphic designer on site, but the overall message here is that majority wins. If most of your users are business users, then PC’s are the answer.
Consider the Specs
How fast do your computers need to be? RAM, or Random Access Memory, is somewhat flexible in that you can always add more later if you need to, but it’s a good idea to stock up in advance, especially if you’ll be running multiple programs simultaneously and you don’t have time for glitches or software crashes. Computers typically come with extra space in the motherboard to add RAM later if necessary (multiples of two generally run most efficiently). If you fill them all with high speed memory up front, however, your computer will be that much faster.
When it comes to processors, it’s a good idea to go for the best one at the outset. You won’t regret it in the long term. A CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the heart of your computer, so if it’s slow, the rest of your machine will be, too. The higher the GHz, the faster your computer; thus, 2-3 GHz is usually recommended. That said, depending on your business vertical, you may need to accommodate some power users. For those who create animations, photos, or perform modeling and analysis, the more processing cores, the better.
Storage capacity on a hard drive should be at about 300-500 GB depending on the needs and/or level of employee. For additional storage, the availability of cloud computing is another avenue to consider. Users who travel frequently and may have less frequent access to your network may require additional storage. If your goal is system longevity to stretch your investment over as much time as possible, look into Solid State Drives, or SSDs, which have a lower failure rate than traditional hard drives due to the lack of moving parts.
It’s most important to make sure the computer performs well and does what it needs to. Major delays can ultimately affect your bottom line.
Type of Equipment
It is recommended that businesses purchase ISV-certified equipment. An ISV, or Independent Software Vendor, tests hardware and software to ensure they work well together. Usually, if an ISV says equipment is viable, then it’s good to use.
Once your new machines are purchased, a service provider will be essential in helping you reinstall software and back up data. If your business has a certified MSP (Managed Service Provider), soliciting their opinion will help you scope out the correct equipment, make good decisions, and, of course, roll out your installation.
With all of the above concerns, the task of computer shopping for your business is quite substantive. Still, cutting corners isn’t the way to go when weighed against employee productivity and efficiency. The key is to seek out the best value in support of your bottom line.Featured photo credit: Depositphotos