Oftentimes small businesses and non-profits end up with dissimilar hardware, meaning different models of computers and usually different versions of software acquired at varying dates. While it is understandable that sometimes this is unavoidable due to budget or urgency it is still important to keep in mind the following points when it comes to choosing the right computer for your small business needs.
Where to start?
- Decide how many computers need to be purchased
- Decide what type to purchase (Desktop or Laptop)
- Desktops are better suited for static users that do not require mobility
- Laptops are better suited for users that regularly have to be mobile and work on the go
- Decide where to purchase
- Do not buy from big box retailers (Best Buy, Costco, Wal-Mart, etc.)
- These computers are designed for home users and do not have the same quality as computers which come through business channels
- Lack effective warranty, consumer warranty programs are not effective in the business setting as they require shipping defective hardware and waiting for long turnaround times which may span weeks to months.
- Purchase from b2b channels or directly from manufacturer and expressly state they are for business use. A computer that is setup for business is indeed different from it’s consumer counterpart which would often be bundled with unnecessary programs that are not optimized for business efficiency
- Decide on additional details
Windows or Mac
- You will need to evaluate what industry you are in, what applications and intended purposes you use, and what your staff is comfortable with
- Do not buy Mac unless you can satisfy all 3 requirements above as advantageous to a Mac environment
- Example of when Mac might be best
- Marketing/Advertising industry, no special applications/equipment beside Microsoft Office, staff is 100% comfortable and confident with Mac.
- Example of when Windows might be best
- Professional services industry (accounting, insurance, etc.), many specialized 3rd party applications/equipment, staff is comfortable with Windows
- Factor in support and compatibility, will Mac be compatible with your existing systems? Printers? File sharing? Servers? Mac IT support is usually also at an extra cost.
- Try to be as accurate with this decision as possible because it will not be easy to change down the road without severe business interruptions
System specifications (as of late 2015)
- Intel i3 Processor
- 4GB RAM
- 500GB Hard Drive
- Great for: everyday office workers, Microsoft Office, Internet browsing
- Value to Performance Compromise
- Intel i5 Processor
- 8GB RAM
- 500GB-1TB Hard Drive
- Great for: advanced office workers, Microsoft Office, Internet browsing, specialized applications
- Intel i7 Processor
- 16GB RAM
- 1TB Hard Drive
- Possible dedicated graphics card for media and multi display
- Possible Solid State Drive for fast Operating System loading
- Great for: All of the above plus resource-heavy applications, graphics design
Overture Group strongly recommends Dell for small business
- Great warranty
- Optional Next Business Day service from certified Dell technician
- Will bring necessary replacement parts and perform work at your location
- Great pricing
- Regularly has big promotion sales where customers can get large discounts on new purchases
- Working with all other manufacturers we have found that the best after-purchase service to come from Dell
- Great warranty
Standardization is key!!!
No matter what you purchase, do your best to keep all the computers the same or very similar. The more you divide and differentiate in your computer procurement, the more issues you will have down the road with asset management and support.
For any help in computer procurement, contact us today!