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Technology moves so fast that making 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. This one-page IT proposal template can set you in the right direction.

It is important to understand your objectives correctly. If you’re looking for more productivity, think of where you can add automation to your workflow. Consider areas where you or your teams might be regularly be wasting time. You might address these areas with collaboration tools like Office 365, G Suite, or Evernote. You might consider smart office improvements that automate building management features.

Perhaps increasing productivity is all in your head, and you need to consider a more holistic approach to staying productive in the office trenches. A guided meditation app like Headspace helps keep your mind on work during business hours. Content filtering features on firewalls and security appliances can achieve similar results in a more strong-armed fashion by blocking time-sucking websites and social media.

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, manufacturers have taken huge strides over the years to improve compatibility. Generally speaking, it’s wise to keep your networking equipment homogeneous.

For software you can expect that any moves from new to old should be compatible. In terms of hardware, common sense usually prevails. For example, if you need to beat out Windows 7 end of support check that your legacy equipment is up to running Windows 10.

Always consult your search engine of choice if you’re unsure. Beyond that, if you need help, our Account Executives know how to get the answers you need. Reach out to us with 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 software licensing requirements for each prospective IT purchase.

Software manufacturers like Microsoft make licensing models about as simple as IRS tax code, which is why we have dedicated professionals on staff to ensure you don’t overpay for Windows licensing.

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.

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.

Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

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

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