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5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy IT Equipment

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Technology moves so fast that making crisp, timely decisions is critical for the survival and well-being of your business. As they say in IT, indecision is the worst decision. It is important to have a strategy for every technology purchase. But where to begin? You might be surprised by how well a few simple questions can help you buy IT equipment that best suits your company’s goals and needs.

What problem are you trying to solve?

Drilling down on specific needs or pain points you need your technology to address provides clarity for making a well-informed purchasing decision. Having a clear picture of what you are trying to solve should narrow down the field of appropriate solutions. Being able to articulate your needs helps align IT solutions with business goals, and provides a healthy reality check about the necessary features a product should have to meet those goals.

Is this solution compatible with my existing IT equipment?

Many network administrators say that brand homogeneity across certain sections of your IT environment is a good idea. While it is true that IT equipment that is developed and tested under the same roof tends to work well together, that is not to say mixing and matching brands will not work. Thankfully, manufacturers have taken huge strides over the years to improve compatibility. Often it is a simple question of having the right ports and connectors. Check your product manuals for more information. Our account representatives are available to answer compatibility questions at (888) 482-6678.

Is this the most current IT equipment for the task?

Given the pace at which technology moves and evolves, purchasing anything other than the most current iteration is likely a mistake. This is especially true in business IT where manufacturer support is critical. Most of the time manufacturers will only offer product improvements like firmware updates for their most recent product lines. Reducing the support window by purchasing aging equipment is rarely advisable.

Are you accounting for total cost of ownership?

Deciding whether to store company data onsite or in the cloud, or whether to purchase Office 2013 or Office 365, are commonplace purchases where total cost of ownership should be weighed. Bear in mind also that networking equipment like Unified Threat Management Appliances, or cloud-managed routers like Cisco Meraki, carry annual licensing and subscription fees. Make sure you are aware of the licensing requirements for each prospective IT purchase.

Are you planning for future growth?

There is an adage that you should buy IT equipment for three to five years ahead of present day. A prime example where planning for growth is essential for smart purchasing is with Windows Server 2012 R2 and the server hardware you choose to spin it up on. The software is tiered by number of users and devices connecting to the server. Upgrading to the next tier consumes as many costs and resources as the initial server migration. Many tech products scale in a similar fashion. Planning for growth saves costs in the long run.

Related: Why Companies Overpay for Windows Server Licensing

We hope these questions will prompt an effective IT purchasing decision. Should you need assistance or have questions about products and solutions, our account executives are available by phone or e-mail to point you in the right direction and help you buy IT equipment that best fits your organization.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy IT Equipment
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5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy IT Equipment
Indecision is the worst decision in IT. A few simple questions can help you buy IT equipment that best fits your company’s goals and needs.
Adam Lovinus

Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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