Five Steps to the Right IT Investment
A YouGov survey indicates that small businesses in the UK aren’t fully aware of how technology can help them improve productivity.
Separate research from Samsung suggests that the time spent on resolving IT issues in-house is effecting employee productivity.
This unnecessary waste can be cut if you have invested in the right technology – user-friendly and paired correctly to employee’s requirements – and leave the complex tech glitches to a professional IT support London service. Technology should empower employees to meet team and business goals, not hinder them. It helps to have a thoughtful IT purchase plan that addresses these common, preventable challenges. Consider the five step approach below to make the best possible choices in today’s extensive and rapidly evolving technology products and services market.
1. Decide what you absolutely need and what you can purchase at a later time
Make a list of the software and hardware solutions/components you must have to run your business and those you can do without but would like to leverage in the future. Base your judgement on factors such as your reasons for purchasing the particular product, who will use and maintain it, and whether it will need to integrate with other devices.
See if you can make a business case for cloud computing at this stage of your business. Can some of your data be moved to the cloud or is an infrastructure-as-a-Service (SaaS) app that includes customer self-service financially feasible? Do you want to invest in a popular SaaS accounting platform or improve collaboration with Google Apps?
2. Research your options in computers, servers and printers
The time and effort spent in making hardware decisions is worth it. Most small businesses use laptops, tablets and notebooks instead of bulky desktops. Based on your budget and performance requirements, see which make and model(s) are ideal, and who will be using what. Though the utility of printers has diminished over the years thanks to mobile computing, a black-and-white printer is useful when printed paper handouts are more convenient or you want to print labels urgently.
Data storage is an important consideration – how will data be accessed (locally versus remotely) and what will that mean for your disaster recovery efforts? Do you need an on-site server or a hybrid approach – for instance using Office 365 to host your mail and SharePoint data? For resource-hungry applications, the cloud is fast-becoming a popular choice for its economical costs.
Involve your employees in the decision to purchase computers and/or mobile devices – depending on their daily activities, they may believe that a particular model or service offers more benefits than others. As they are the end-users, their inputs can take you closer to the near-perfect solution. Discussions with customers at the time of new hardware purchase also allows you to get a better idea about the limitations and benefits of current hardware.
3. Understand your cost obligations
How much will the subscriptions and licenses cost you? What are the ongoing costs you need to account for, and what is the warranty assurance and coverage? These are critical questions that small businesses in particular will find themselves asking. To get the best deals on products and services, you have no choice but to conduct more comprehensive research and solicit customer reviews of service and product providers.
4. Pay attention to customer support
In-house IT assistance is often unviable for small businesses. The overwhelming preference is for an IT support London service that offers on-site or remote assistance. It helps if the technology product or service you purchase offers technical assistance or at least has a large and quality support community.
5. Develop a training program
An IT training and adoption program is a great way to kick off confident, willing adoption. Video tutorials, documents, hands-on sessions and group meetings where employees help each other figure out a new software or hardware can create an encouraging, positive mindset around using the tools early on.