This goes with that – tech compatibility made simple
by Eleanor Glass
No matter whether you’re a start-up or a growing business, the headaches no doubt seem never-ending when it comes to choosing technology – not only does it need to best suit your business needs, but also what you’ve already got.
The secret? It’s the Sussan theory of business – you’ve got to find the ‘this’ that goes with ‘that’.
Equipment to equipment
When on the hunt for the tech solutions to complement your business, there are two areas you need to consider. First up, how does your equipment fare in the compatibility stakes?
Not only does your equipment have to work with the equipment you have now, but it needs to work with additions you’ll bring into your business as it grows, say, as you take on staff, or extend your service offerings.
Savvy business operators not only purchase the most powerful equipment they can afford to get their work done today, but they look to what they may need tomorrow to ensure their hardware is up to the task as the business expands or new technology or applications become available.
“In your PC or server purchasing decision, speak with your trusted IT advisor,” says Danielle Watts, Intel’s small business marketing manager and Switzer’s technology expert. “They should suggest that you buy for tomorrow not just what you are operating on today. Go for a quality system with plenty of processing power. You can upgrade most other parts of your system, such as your hard drive. But you can’t upgrade the processor; it’s the brains of your computer.”
As Watts says, to ensure you fall into the ‘savvy’ category, when you put your IT equip tender order in for purchase, make sure your supplier or IT reseller understands:
- What your business is about: this includes what industry you’re in, the size of your company and your business priorities.
- How the business works: do you have a website with an e-commerce facility? An extranet for suppliers? Interface with manufacturing equipment? Do you need remote access for sales staff?
- What applications you will be running.
- Your growth plans: be sure to fill them in on your plans for the next three to five years, as this will save any surprises down the track. Remember, if you fail to plan, chances are you plan to fail, and the greater the likelihood you’ll be lumped with equipment/PCs/software/operating systems that don’t “talk”.
As you grow, you’ll need to standardise on what IT equipment you purchase – think your PCs, printers, servers, network, etc. This will help your IT staff’s efficiency in being able to fix/upgrade/install new equipment, bring on new employees and keeps the issue of incompatibility between IT equipment to a minimum. Read here for more tips when it comes to recruiting IT support in your business.
Tech solutions to support your business
The second area you need to keep top of mind is how compatible your technology is to the way you run your business – remember, you’re looking for technology solutions that will help, not hinder, your operation.
- How can technology up your productivity? Yes, automating processes and communications online requires robust equipment, but it’s more about setting up the foundation with a good server environment. “A dedicated server can help even the smallest business establish a flexible and efficient foundation for the future and ongoing growth,” says Watts. A good pick here is the Intel® Xeon processor-based server. To choose the server that’s the best fit for your business, read more from Watts.
- How can technology complement your business? If your staff are on the road with customers for the bulk of their time, getting them a desktop PC makes little sense. Instead, opt for powerful notebook PCs with reliable remote access so they can access emails and check on orders in real time.
- How can technology streamline your business so operations are automated? Consider how you can save on staff resources or reduce the risk of chances of error, say, by automating reports.
Once you’ve covered these, it shouldn’t be too tough to make sure your ‘this’ goes with ‘that’, not just today, but for the days to come!
Published on: Monday, December 06, 2010