Following is a guest post by Brian Burch, the Director of SMB Segment Marketing for HP. I know that many of you are faced with the decision of whether you should upgrade your technology, and I thought Brian’s perspective would help you make a more informed decision.
The U.S. economy is showing signs of recovery, with all eyes focused on small and medium-sized businesses (since they’re the nimblest and most innovative) as the group with the greatest potential to accelerate the economy. As SMBs prepare for growth, there’s a common perception that they will save money by continuing to use older technology until times get better and credit is easier to find. That belief is a myth: In the long term, managing with old equipment can actually cost more than upgrading to new technology. Using up-to-date technology is one of the most important ways SMBs can improve productivity and move their businesses forward.
Since many of you delayed upgrading your IT equipment last year, you now need stronger productivity tools than ever, to better compete. [Microsoft’s release of] Windows 7 is an obvious reason that many SMBs are considering renewing their technologies, along with updated multimedia demands and the need for increased hard drive capacity. However, SMBs with a smart IT plan will take additional holistic factors into consideration before making a purchase.
Trade- in Options
[If you’re now] considering PC replacement, you should weigh the options of replacement versus upgrading. Make sure to look at environmentally responsible ways to dispose of your old hardware and review how to calculate the ROI of new technology investments. These used to be daunting tasks since many of you lack a dedicated IT department, but participating in a trade-in program can make this much simpler. In addition to offering customers cash-in-hand for their old equipment, trade-in programs offer competitive payment terms on the purchase of new products. [The potential] results: you now own brand new equipment for no extra capital outlay, you receive cash for your old equipment, you get renewed warranty services and you’re doing the right thing for the environment.
Lease Instead of Buy
In most cases, the monthly lease payments for new desktops or notebooks (laptops) are less than the depreciation cost of the old equipment. Leasing new equipment can offer you an effective way of managing your cash flow, while taking full advantage of the productivity gains from having the latest technology.
Financing programs offer potential benefits. Many PC manufacturers are now offering compelling, flexible leasing terms for purchases as low as $1500.
Energy Efficiency and Speed
Still not convinced that it’s time to upgrade? Take a look at some of the energy efficiency and productivity gains your company will reap with new PCs. As an example [testing showed] that using new desktop computers, outfitted with an Intel? Core™2 Duo processor and Windows 7 Professional software, your PC can boot up and shut down faster (up to 55 percent and 31 percent respectively), run nearly three times faster, while using half the electricity, and consume up to 55 percent less energy than your old desktops.
Going mobile? Here are a few other reasons to consider upgrading: If you replace an older Notebook (laptop) with Windows XP, with a new business Notebook with Windows 7, you can get up to a 68 percent increase in performance power. New business Notebooks can start and shut down faster (41 percent and 30 percent respectively) than older machines. More details on all these stats are available.
Service and Support
Buying new technology is only half the equation. [The} technology manufacturer [of the equipment you’re purchasing] should foster an ongoing relationship with you beyond the purchasing stage. Ask yourself:
? How can your PC manufacturer help you once your equipment is up and running?
? Do they offer helpdesk services and support?
? Will they help with your Windows 7 migration process?
SMBs should consider the end-to-end life of their technology purchase, and choose a technology provider who will partner with them for the entire cycle.
(Brian Burch is the Director,mSMB Segment Marketing, PSG Americas, of the Hewlett-Packard Company. He leads HP’s SMB Marketing efforts in the Americas region working across all of HP’s business groups to drive a consistent and powerful marketing campaign to drive consideration and preference for HP’s products among businesses from 10-999 employees.