Information technology is changing in leaps and bounds every day. Before the hype surrounding the release of the latest gadget is over, the next big thing comes out…None of these computer gadgets are free, and small business owners, are understandibly apprehensive about investing. They do not want to see their big purchases be deemed outdated within a few months.
While keeping up with up-to-date technology does require a significant financial investment, the true cost of being behind is far greater. However, this is not an “all or nothing” situation. You can be wise about business finances and technologically relevant at the same time. To assist you, I have put down a few hints on how you can keep costs down.
Hint 1: It is better to invest money up-front on adequate computer equipment that will last.
Rather than saving your cash purchasing a new PC “white box” or “clone,” you should consider putting in a little extra, but investing into a well known brand name PC. Yes, you will spend more money on it, but it will come with a warranty and service agreement, which will save you more money in the long run. You should also invest into the future by buying technology or software that can grow with your business. If you do not now, sooner or later you will, need to invest into new technology and new equipment – not very financially prudent. An example of this may be acquiring a PC with a better and faster processor. You may not need it right now, but you will be grateful when you do. Another example is installing an email exchange system that is able to take on more users when your business expands, rather than saving your cash now only have to spend it on a new system.
Hint 2: Combine internet and telephone service into a package.
This is also called “convergence” and it is a great way to save money by paying a flat rate. You will also save time on paying bills because you will only be paying one bill. Most telcos offer bundled packages. These include local and long distance telecommunications along with high-speed internet and web hosting, VoIP, etc.
Hint 3: Learn to manage and monitor anti-virus software, backups, critical updates centrally.
Whether you have an inhouse IT guy or use an external provider, you can save a lot of time and money by managing these items in a central way. The time it takes to update anti-virus software, operating system updates on every workstation or to backup every workstation individually on a daily basis is a massive investment and better minimised. A central location for storing all your data also manages the risk of data loss from human error and the confusion of ineffective damage control.
While the purchase of software and hardware that can be managed from a central server is a bigger up-front cost, you will save money down the road. With your investment, your employees can spend time being productive instead of managing backups, updates or creating workarounds because of inadequate network capabilities.
For more information about implementing server monitoring and a maintenance plan for your company, contact Mobile Geeks and we will be happy to help you.
Hint 4: Develop and Implement an “Acceptable Use” policy for employees.
It is widely reported that millions of productive work hours are lost every year in companies across the nation because of employee access to the Internet. Not only does browsing the internet take time away from work, it also increases the likelihood of company exposure to spyware, adware and computer viruses. To manage this situation, it is advisable to introduce an “acceptable use” policy for the technology and equipment used by your employees. It may seem like an odd bit of useless paperwork now, but when your system is down due to an employee’s online activity, you would be grateful for an opportunity for recourse.
Hint 5: Change your approach to looking after technology from “break-fix” to regular maintenance.
It is truly far more cost effective to prevent computer service problems than to fix them. You have, no doubt, experienced this with your car. No service means increased problems. The same works for computer technology in your business . In addition to costs saved by prevention and having more predictable IT spending, you will also be able to save money when things do malfunction (and they will) by having an IT man who is familiar with your network and computer system. Mobile Geeks are fully aware of this and always try to offer the option of having personalised Geek service.
Hint 6. It is always better to have a plan.
Do you know how you want your business to grow? Do you know what technology needs you are likely to have at each different growth stage of your business. If you do not, you should.
By having a plan you will be less likely to spend money on non-essentials and make strategic purchasing mistakes. By having a plan, you can also better budget for your IT, as a result you are likely to have fewer big expenditures.
Obviously, every small business and situation is different. However, if you do not have someone who is responsible for and knowledgeable about your computer systems, you could be squandering your hard-earned cash without knowing it. Whether you outsource to an IT computer service provider, or choose the path of having an in-house IT staff, charge this person with the task of finding better ways for your business to save money by being strategic about its IT needs. If your computer service provider cannot offer you this kind of advice and support, I would highly recommend that you keep looking.
Over and out