Purchasing Computer Equipment and Software, Part 1

We are often asked to assist small business clients with the purchase of new computer equipment. In this chapter we will cover some basic things to be aware of when making these decisions. We will discuss purchasing versus leasing, where to purchase from, and what the necessary equipment may be for your business.

Please understand that in the IT industry there are various business models. Some we call a value-added reseller (VAR). A VAR is a company that will sell equipment or applications as a package. A VAR will usually resell a certain product and will add some other value. You might need a particular database application for your business. A VAR would sell you the system as a package that might include the hardware and a service agreement to keep things running smoothly after it is all put together.

There are also those that only sell equipment. This might be a local computer shop that builds its own product or a reseller that is selling for another major manufacturer like IBM or Dell. These resellers know their own products very well and are either paid a commission or mark up the prices to the consumer.

Another business model includes those that provide IT services and is not basing its business around a certain supplier or application. This is the business model we have chosen for our company. The value we provide related to purchasing decisions is consulting and providing ongoing services. We are not locked in to certain hardware or software vendors.

Keeping Costs Below Budget

We are often asked to help a business with their IT needs after they have set a budget. The manager might say, “This is what we need to do, and here is what we intend to spend.” There are things you can do to keep your IT costs within budget. In the next couple of blog posts we will look at some suggestions.

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