LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Purchasing IT Infrastructure
SCOTT KROEGER, LUTZ TECH PARTNER
Growing businesses often need new computing tools to create efficiencies, provide better customer service and handle growing demand. As a business owner, it’s hard to understand the do’s and don’ts of buying Information Technology infrastructure – that’s why you need expert advice from IT professionals.
To get you started, here are my 5 tips for avoiding mistakes that could leave you saddled with the wrong IT equipment that doesn’t meet your needs.
1. IT is not DIY
Having IT professionals handle your needs is much better than flying solo.
Many business people treat buying IT equipment like picking out furniture and then waiting for the delivery truck to arrive. Business people with a do-it-yourself attitude will make a lot of mistakes.
For example, they’ll buy a home version of Windows that’s not compatible with their domain. Or a business owner will run the cabling himself, not realizing there’s much more required than plugging in cables and flipping switches.
Buying commercial-grade systems will be more expensive, but they are stronger, better, warrantied and longer lasting than systems built for individual use.
In short, spend money on the right equipment based upon professional advice.
2. IT installations are a process, not an event
Some business owners think they can write a check for IT services, have a team come out one day to install, throw a training manual at employees and then call it a day.
While technology creates efficiencies, there is never one magical solution that cures all issues. Systems need to work together, so you need to set expectations to match reality that this won’t occur overnight.
Be sure to invest the needed time and brain power to get things done right. It’s like surgery: sometimes it’s major and sometimes it’s minor, and your hospital stay might not be pleasant. But once it’s over, you are much better off for it.
3. The latest and greatest isn’t necessarily the latest and greatest – for you
As a dutiful company representative, an IT professional will try to sell you the latest leading-edge technology. That might be good for the IT company, but that might not be the best solution for your needs.
Think, for example, of your legacy software that works perfectly now. If you upgrade to Windows 10, for example, that program might no longer operate well or at all.
Unless an analysis proves that it’s the right solution for you, don’t be on the leading edge. Make sure you’re buying tried-and-true technology that fulfills your business needs, not an IT professional’s interests or bottom line.
4. Don’t just invest in new software; invest in your employees’ support and training
Sure, your team is whip-smart. But that doesn’t mean they can learn new software on their own.
Technology is a personnel issue, because people use technology. If employees don’t understand how to use it or – worse – don’t buy into what you want to accomplish, that will kill the value of technology more quickly than anything.
Don’t skimp on training and explaining why a new system is being implemented. It’s just as important as the system’s proper technical implementation.
5. Create a budget and build a trusted relationship with an IT adviser
As with other aspects of your business, set an IT budget that maximizes your ROI. A blended information technology/business consultant firm is a great way to bridge the gap between your computing and business needs. By building a trusted advisory relationship with such a provider, they will be honest about when you do and don’t need to invest money.
IT solutions often are packaged with pay-as-you-go pricing, which will help you avoid a large upfront investment. But if you quickly implement too many different technologies without factoring in recurring costs, you can bust your IT budget before you have created a proper technology platform.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SCOTT KROEGER + LUTZ TECH SHAREHOLDER
Scott Kroeger is a Lutz Tech Shareholder with over 15 years of technology related experience. His primary responsibilities include overseeing the areas of managed technology services, custom software development, and creative services. In addition, he provides CIO level consulting to clients.
AREAS OF FOCUS
- Sales and Operations
- CIO Level Consulting
- Managed Technology Services
- Custom Software Development
- Creative Services
- Interface Design
- Web Technologies
- Systems Infrastructure
- Application Integration
- BA in Computer Science, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN
- Institute of European Studies, Freiburg, Germany
- Omaha Children’s Museum, Past Board Member
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