Virtually any business that uses digital resources will benefit from ensuring that its hardware is up-to-date. However, this is often a significant investment. As such, business professionals may wonder how they can reduce costs in this area without sacrificing valuable upgrades.
First and foremost, you should stay in the loop regarding technology trends in your industry. By better understanding these trends, you can leverage helpful information such as manufacturers that you can partner with, emerging cyber threats and cybersecurity options, and new technologies that can reduce expenses. There are also many avenues you can take during the planning and buying process.
When you begin planning for upgrades, you should take stock of what current digital resources you have and what digital resources you could benefit from gaining. A network diagram is a good tool for such reviews, as it can give you a visual resource to better understand how your systems interact. Once you have a good idea of current resources, options for growth, and your larger digital infrastructure, you can begin to rank the priority of hardware assets.
You can determine your priorities by considering factors such as your cybersecurity needs, your storage and processing needs, and the expectations of your partners and customers. For example, an e-commerce platform will likely need to make use of more storage and processing resources than a small, brick-and-mortar retail store. Therefore, they will need more in-house hardware resources or the support of a remote server to effectively handle their needs.
2. Conduct an Audit
A hardware audit is a process where IT professionals assess the existing hardware materials used by a company. They will not only determine whether any updates are necessary, but also whether the overall setup is optimal for the company’s needs. They may also review standard procedures and operations related to the daily usage and ongoing maintenance of hardware.
By enlisting the advice of such professionals, you can be more certain that you are efficiently addressing any issues related to your hardware. Additionally, if cost is a concern, that is something that you should make clear when taking any recommendations for upgrades and adjustments.
3. Buy Directly From the Manufacturer
By buying directly from a manufacturer rather than a third party, you can substantially reduce costs, as the intermediary will typically add expenses to make a profit. These savings may be even more significant if you buy hardware assets in bulk. This can be achieved by ensuring that you have a good idea of what hardware assets you need and in what quantity before you start looking for a manufacturer. It will also be beneficial to reach out to and compare costs for several different manufacturers.
4. Coordinate Upgrades
Whenever you upgrade your hardware, it is important to plan carefully to ensure all of your hardware will be compatible. For example, you will want to make sure that all components of computer hardware can function using the power output available. Additionally, in some cases, different hardware elements may not be physically compatible, such as situations where the slot types do not fit together.
By making sure that all of your hardware is compatible, you can maximize the efficiency of operations, and reduce the likelihood of needing costly replacements in the near future. Similarly, you should ensure that your new hardware is compatible with any software or IT resources you use, such as RMMs, alert systems, and automation programs.
5. Consider Outsourcing
In some cases, it just isn’t feasible to manage all of your digital resources in-house due to a variety of reasons, including cost, space, and IT resources. A good alternative may be to outsource tasks related to your storage, processing, updating, and monitoring needs. This may be a more cost-effective way to leverage high-quality hardware resources, as well as other valuable IT resources. Always ensure that you are aware of your needs before you start shopping around for an outsourcing solution, as you don’t want to get over-sold.
6. Invest in a Good Warranty
A warranty is an agreement between a buyer and a seller that the sold items will be repaired or replaced as needed within a certain period of time. Oftentimes, this warranty can be extended for an additional upfront payment. Typically, this agreement will be made at the time of sale, but sometimes may be adjustable for a short period of time following the sale. It is important to ensure that you are very familiar with the terms of the warranty, as it may offer additional perks or exceptions to their responsibility to fix damages.
7. Ask for Detailed Life-cycle Information
Life-cycle information related to IT resources like hardware refers to the various stages of “life” that the resources will go through, e.g. procurement, usage, upgrade, decommission. Life-cycle management refers to efforts to maximize the lifespan and usefulness of the resource. This can be achieved through efforts such as strategic planning, regular upgrades, and ongoing maintenance. You can better manage these efforts by discussing life-cycle information and management strategies with the seller.
In general, the best thing you can do to reduce cost and maximize efficiency related to hardware is to make sure that you understand your hardware needs and the options available to meet those needs.