Buying Computers and Software? To Avoid a Lemon, Consider These Factors
Buying computers and software for small businesses that work is a nightmare for Ghanaian Businesses. Yet, if they want to be efficient and competitive, they can’t avoid computerizing.
We know businesses that use Information Technology (IT) are more efficient, use fewer people, save money and capture data for analysis to better run the business. Nowadays, you can find computers and software to run every part of your business.
But you won’t get the benefits of buying small business computers and software, if you just buy what your peers or friends have. Their needs may differ from yours.
Read more to know factors to consider, when you buy small business computers and software.
Do you need a desktop, laptop or a tablet? You should find out your needs before you select the computer. For example, will you use the computer for graphic designs? You’ll need a different spec than if you’ll use it for just writing and emails. Then, think of the brand, model and specifications (specs).
Brand and model
Dell, Lenovo, Apple, HP, for example, are brands. Each brand has a consumer model and a business model. Consumer models are for home and private use whilst business models are for business use. Business models are of better quality, more robust and last longer than consumer models.
The specs you choose depend on what you want to do with the computer. Consider these:
- Processor–e.g. Intel Core i5 or Core i7. The higher the core, the faster the computer runs.
- Memory (RAM)–More memory helps your PC to work fast and handle more demanding software better than a PC with small memory. Memory comes in different sizes e.g. 16GB and 32GM.
- Disk storage–Choose solid-state drives as they are fast and improve the performance. Different sizes are available e.g. 256GB, 512GB and 1TB.
- Ports–Ports enable you to connect external devices such as printers to the computer. For the best performance choose USB C, USB 3.1 or HDMI.
- Software specification–check that the software will work on the computer you want to install it.
Before you buy, define the problem you want to solve or the goals you want to achieve. You may, for example, want to sell online. Consider these factors:
- Functionality needed–analyze your business needs to figure out what you need from the software, then research software that serve those needs.
- Implementation–install the software properly, load the correct data, and train the users.
- Support–when you run into problems with the software, you’ll need help to solve them. Does the seller give support, or can you find experts who specialize in the software to help you?
- IT Infrastructure–will your existing network work well with the software or hardware?
3. Cloud Services
A cloud service delivers software, file storage, computing power that you access by the Internet.
Benefits of cloud services
When you run IT in-house, you must take care of storage, backups, updates, security and IT personnel. When you use a cloud service, you shift responsibility for providing and running IT to the cloud service provider. This helps cut both the cost and headaches of running IT in-house.
Your small business must consider cloud-based services because:
- Cash outlay–the first cash outlay on hardware and software is less than when you run the solution in-house.
- Access by the internet–you may not need an internal network.
- Scale up–need to add more users and location? You can scale up for growth in your business with ease.
- Work anywhere–you can work wherever you have the internet.
Factors to consider
Consider these factors:
- Your requirements–settle on what you are looking for before you research cloud computing.
- Price plans – using cloud services reduces upfront IT costs. Choose pay-as-you-go pricing plans as this lowers your upfront cost of implementation.
- Security–cloud services have high levels of security. Consider security certificates, data encryption, and user authentication.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs)–review the SLA and check security, data loss and downtime.
- Customer support–how good is their support. Read their online reviews and talk to other users to find out.