Hardware & Software Hints
Businesspersons looking to equip their offices with wireless systems - and for that matter, computers, software, and other high-tech devices - have plenty to think about. The following sections do a lot to simplify the process.
- Deem "Hardware" a budget line-item right upfront, including devices such as computers, printers, wireless hardware, PDAs, etc.
- Make a separate list of projected equipment purchases, such as computers (laptop or PC?), printers, copiers, fax machines or all-in-ones, which save a lot of space.
- Plan appropriate purchases, preferably with the assistance of an IT professional. An administrative assistant, for instance, likely won't need an expensive computer system designed for a layout artist. Consider the business's main functions. Some PC/laptop models handle database and numbers better, while others are more graphics-oriented.
- When buying hardware, make sure new devices are compatible with existing systems. For instance, all desktop and laptop computers should be the same brand and model, with computer peripherals following suit. This facilitates service, software selection and bulk purchasing.
- Consider bulk buys. Purchasing three laptops can be much cheaper than getting just one, primarily because most vendors offer attractive incentives for this type of deal.
- Do not select a vendor before researching the company's history and customer service track record. Check with colleagues and friends for their suggestions.
- Stick with one dependable vendor. A solid relationship with a single hardware supplier may mean better service, goes easier on the budget (loyal customers get superior deals) and saves time in the purchasing process.
- Think about rebuilt or refurbished hardware. For simple word-processing tasks, for example, an overhauled two-year-old desktop computer may be fine.
- Buying software that is necessary for a business to run (accounting, Point of Sale, etc.), is a lot like purchasing a car. Buyers want to test drive before signing on the dotted line. Software companies worth any salt will gladly send a demo version or offer a free trial. If not, the company is one to avoid.
- Make sure the software you choose comes with all the components your business will need. Better yet: Is it jam-packed with features that probably never will be used? If so, perhaps another program will suffice.
- Make sure the software manufacturer or retailer offers a money-back guarantee. If they don't include this, the reliability of the product could be questionable.
- If a problem arises, it's important that a business can get a hold of someone who can answer questions and offer technical assistance and solutions.
- Determine whether new software will work with other programs already in use. Another key point: Purchased software must be compatible with a computer's operating system to be functional.