Basic Office Infrastructure for Small Businesses – Computers
Determining what technology is required to get a growing business off the ground is a challenge that many small business owners face. What computers are suitable? Laptops or desktops? Is it true that the model makes a difference? What about the guarantees? In this short article, I’ll answer these questions about office computers by providing a high-level overview of the options as well as some general advice. Interested readers can find more information about them at official site.
First and foremost, it is critical to comprehend the importance of computer hardware standardisation. Administrative overhead increases exponentially when dealing with distinctly different computer models for maintenance purposes. So, whatever path you choose, stay with it. This does not imply that your entire office will receive the same computer. That might not be the best option (see below). If you do decide to have desktops, choose a single model that works for everyone. If you’re going to buy a laptop, go for a model that meets the needs of the majority of people. Make one-time purchases the exception if someone in the organisation requires specialised hardware. This is valid for displays as well as accessories. Purchase either a 17″ or a 19″ display for all. Models should not be mixed and matched.
Second, are you looking for laptops or desktop computers? Before we get started, there are a few things to keep in mind: laptops are more costly than desktop computers. Laptops are therefore “less powerful” than desktop computers. I put that in quotation marks because today’s laptops have more than enough processing power to run anything but the most computationally intensive applications. A desktop, on the other hand, may be a better choice if power, especially graphical power (for CAD or graphics-intensive software development). The obvious benefit of laptops is their portability. Independence is almost often a requirement for salespeople. This takes us to the most important consideration in the laptop vs. desktop debate: the consumer. If the employee will be travelling, provide them with a laptop. A laptop could be the best option if the employee (or role) is tethered to a desk, or if information on that employee’s computer must remain in the office (accounting, finance, HR). Finally, in areas where there is a lot of complex teamwork, laptops are very useful.
Then, what laptop or desktop model are you using? Giving everyone a giant 17″ laptop capable of showing movies and playing games might seem like a good idea, but if that is not the core mission of the company (or the recipient’s role), it is inappropriate, too costly, and too delicate. Office equipment, let’s face it, is dropped, dinged, and basically treated like a rental vehicle. Although purchasing a “ruggedized” laptop is not always mandatory, “fleet computers” (commodity equipment designed for business use) are equipped to withstand more abuse than traditional consumer-grade, multimedia-focused systems. They’re often made to be easier to fix and maintain, which are two important factors in lowering costs. Many other firms, including Dell and HP, have strong lines of business-class machines. Make sure you ask for business-class equipment when you’re ready to purchase.
Fourth, any long-term asset, such as a machine, requires consideration of maintenance and operation. The warranty covers this in the case of computers. As a rule of thumb, presume that the machine can serve you for three years. With that in mind, the decision is simple: purchase a three-year warranty. If you don’t have a computer maintenance resource on staff, it’s a good idea to have a “on-site” provision. Extended service is usually more expensive, but it can lessen the impact of a computer malfunction by calling in a technician within 24 hours, rather than the standard 5-7 business day “send it back to the factory” procedure.
Finally, the issue of whether to purchase or lease comes up almost every time. First and foremost, let me state unequivocally that I am not an accountant or financial expert. Every business owner’s financial situation is unique, and they must choose the best choice for them. In general, you want to spend as little money on computer hardware as possible because after three years of depreciation, you’ll have zero-value equipment. The equipment is not only off the books, but it still has no market value. Forget about selling old equipment to purchase new equipment; the market has moved on after three years. Given this, it may be more cost-effective to lease equipment for new businesses, especially those with more than a few employees. In the case of a three-year contract, the lowest lease rate is recommended, since any buy-out option is unappealing, since the equipment would be nearly worthless after three years. So, instead of opting for the dollar-buy-out option, choose the cheapest monthly payment (often market-value). It’s time to renew when your lease expires.
Computers are expensive to purchase and instal in a new company, so it must be done carefully. We’ve covered some fundamentals to help new business owners make sense of their options. To minimise administrative overhead, evaluate and standardise on a single platform with as few templates as possible. Choose between desktops and laptops depending on the type of work you’ll be doing and whether or not you’ll be travelling. Often select business-class equipment from the several laptop or desktop models available. If you don’t have an in-house IT resource, make sure you get at least a three-year warranty when purchasing a computer for your office. Also, consider the “on-site” option if you don’t have one. Finally, whether to purchase or lease depends heavily on the organization’s finances, but leasing is a safe way to prevent massive cash outlays on equipment that is no longer useful (to the industry) after three years.