SMB Technology

Q&A: Purchasing new technology

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When purchasing technology, how do I save costs without sacrificing performance?

As businesses face mounting pressure to stay competitive and run leaner than in the past, costs need to be reduced. Information Technology (IT) is often one of the first areas put on the chopping block because for many small and medium and business owners (SMBs) technology is simply considered a cost centre rather than a valuable and integral business resource.

A new way 

As the need to deliver capabilities to more users and as the volumes and complexity of data continue to increase, smart SMBs are recognising the need for a new approach to purchasing technology. As a result, the concept of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is now becoming a top management concern. Definitions of the concept vary, but the TCO can be the sum of all the data processing costs involved for an employee to do their job. This includes all the costs: the computer, the operating system, the network, applications and, of course, all maintenance for the hardware and software.

No silver bullet

There’s no one concept or direction that can provide an overall solution for lowering total costs. Achieving best-in-class TCO management performance involves a combination of management strategies, capabilities and the selection and implementation of appropriate technologies to meet defined business goals and objectives.

Keys to controlling the technology cost

1. Develop detailed TCO models

Carry out an analysis for solutions or a combination of solutions with equivalent functionality.

The analysis should:

  • Be for a minimum of three years;
  • Incorporate growth expectations and annual maintenance costs, software licensing costs, IT infrastructure costs and the required IT and application support resources.

2. Pay attention to IT support contract terms

When it comes to assessing onsite versus hosted technology support solutions, it’s important to read the fine print closely before a decision is made. While it’s important for any business to have help on hand when technology fails, most SMBs don’t have the same support requirements as large enterprises and should avoid paying for services they will never need.

3. Standardise PCs and notebooks

Reducing the variety of hardware systems requiring management within a business can greatly simplify a PC environment. The initial saving benefits of creating a standardised PC fleet are not as obvious for SMBs as they are for larger enterprises. Those businesses, however, that can settle on one desktop and one laptop configuration with common application configurations will save big, especially on maintenance bills in the long run.

Keep costs controlled

Successful businesses know the importance of keeping costs under control. The cost of business technology is no different. There’s no need to take every measure on board straight away, as just one or two of these money saving tech tips will reduce your total cost of ownership and deliver immediate savings for your bottom line. 

Published on: Tuesday, August 03, 2010

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