pricetagAs an owner or Financial Controller of a Small to Medium Business it’s important to keep a savvy eye on expenses.  Cutting costs and observing and monitoring spending are key tactics in maintaining a healthy bottom line.

When it comes to IT equipment, the lure of lower cost consumer grade PCs, notebooks and monitors in particular can appear at first glance to offer a sure fire way of cutting the cost of equipment to the business.  The reality is it can end up costing the business more in the long run.

Will Home versions of Microsoft Windows join to a company network?  No.  Most PCs and notebooks purchased through retail outlets are going to have Home editions of Windows installed on them.  Machines intended for business use need to have the Professional edition of Windows in order to join to a domain.

Purchasing the correct version of Windows and then the labour costs of reinstalling the operating system will in most cases mean the total cost of ownership exceeds what a comparable business model would have set you back in the first place.

Consumer models are typically not as robust or suitably designed for business use as their business grade counterparts.  Business notebooks are typically built with brushed aluminium casings (eg HP Notebooks and Ultrabooks) and either come with or have options for 3 year onsite warranties.  Workstation PCs are built to run 24 x 7, their heat sinking capabilities and the components used are specifically designed to sit under a desk and hum away (albeit very quietly) day and night for years.

For instance, consumer notebook displays and PC monitors have by and large a glossy finish.  Business grade notebook displays and PC monitors on the other hand have a matt finish, designed for long periods of use and to be gentler on the user’s eyes.

Before making your next PC or notebook investment, consider discussing what your requirements are with your IT adviser and performing a proper cost analysis between consumer and business grade options.

There are ways to help reduce the upfront costs of refreshing PCs and notebooks while actually facilitating a more frequent refresh cycle.  “Hardware as a Service” programs are becoming a popular way of providing equipment to Small Business teams; the hardware and software required is rented rather than purchased outright.  This shifts the focus of the investment from a capital expenditure to an operating expense, provides tax benefits and enabling equipment to be rolled on a regular basis with little impact to cash flow.

The company benefits from a solid, robust and flexible solution. The team benefits immensely by having tools that enable them to be productive, collaborative and increasingly mobile.