Making a PC purchase can be a confusing process for a small business owner, who have to contend with a long list of specifications, brands, and prices, not to mention differing online reviews. Here, Dell has put together the top tips for SMEs looking to update their technology.
1. Define the role and select the right solution set for the job
As a small business, you have created roles within your organisation. You should define and understand the work required of each role. This will enable you to select the most appropriate ecosystem for optimal employee productivity.
Knowing how employees will use their PCs determines whether performance, mobility, battery life or display quality is most important. A desk-bound engineer designing a next generation product will require more computing power than a traveling salesperson. Based on role-specific priorities, you will choose from a wide variety of devices, including notebooks, desktops, 2-in-1s or tablets.
The same process applies when choosing a processor – PCs containing entry-level processors will perform just fine for general office duties such as responding to emails, drafting documents and generating presentations. As the performance demands increase, so does the need for a higher-end PC purchase containing more advanced components.
Employees who use complex software programs such as graphic design, video editing and other compute-intensive applications will require higher end processors and graphics cards to ensure smooth performance. Upgrading to PCs containing sixth Gen Intel® Core™ processors will enable faster performance, lower energy consumption, 4k video editing and immersive graphics.
2. Keep docks and monitors in mind
Because modularity is becoming a crucial factor in the evolution of the workplace, you should consider the need for versatile and powerful docking systems. This can be especially important within small businesses, where resources are tight and IT equipment might be slim. The flexibility of docking systems allows employees to adapt to ever-changing working scenarios by being mobile one day and desk-centric the next. A notebook combined with a dock that instantly connects to a monitor, keyboard and mouse will enhance productivity.
3. Provide options for user types based on device
Today, thin and light notebooks and 2-in-1s make being mobile and getting work done even easier. To realise the business benefits of a mobility strategy, small businesses should understand the work different employees are doing, where they are doing it and identify the best combination of devices to meet their needs. Needs vary based on the type of business, but most organisations prioritise PCs and smartphones as the two most critical tools for empowering a productive workforce.
4. Take advantage of all that Windows 10 has to offer
PCs based on Windows 10 provide significant feature advancements and enable small businesses to easily manage and secure devices and data in a mobile-first, cloud-connected world. Windows 10 runs on all device types, works beautifully with Office 365 and automatically stores files in the cloud so co-workers can collaborate on documents wherever and whenever.
Windows 10 fosters a cohesive ecosystem that allows employees to use just one sign-in across Windows and Office, so when they log in to any Windows 10 Pro device (tablet, phone, or laptop), they will have access to all of their current files, data, apps and personal settings.
The latest generation of Windows 10-enabled PCs offer a slew of new features including touch, pen, fingerprint security and advanced 2-in-1 capabilities that allow the device to seamlessly transition from a notebook to a tablet and back again. The addition of Windows 10 universal apps allows software programs to run on any device to enable greater portability and more productivity at work. Universal apps reduce the cost of developing individual line of business (LOB) apps because they can be deployed across PCs, tablets, phones and IoT devices.
5. Prioritise security for your PC purchase
As a small business, security is a crucial element of your IT ecosystem. Windows 10 Pro delivers enterprise-grade security for organisations of all sizes and offers compelling tools to take advantage of the latest hardware innovation to combat cyber threats.
If a Windows 10 Pro device or USB drive is lost or stolen, BitLocker and BitLocker-to-Go put everything on lockdown so no one else can access systems or data. You can enable additional protection to do multiple tasks, such as remotely delete business data from lost, stolen, or former employees’ personal devices without touching their personal information.
For another layer of security, strategic partners such as Dell offer data protection packages that encrypt each individual file so all information is protected no matter where it goes. In a small business, top-notch security can go a long way in saving unwanted costs and compliance fees down the line.
6. Understand the importance of manageability
Your business may be small today, but if growth is on the horizon, you may find yourself managing 50, 100 or even 1000 employees. Manually updating a few PCs may seem like a manageable task while your business is small, but will be a headache if it comes to manually updating hundreds of disparate devices.
By choosing a Windows infrastructure for your business, you will enjoy the simplicity of keeping your devices up to date thanks to new Windows as a Service automatic updates and the ability to manage all devices remotely. Keeping manageability in mind early on will help you scale with ease.
7. Recognise the benefits of good service
As a small business, you may not have the luxury of your own IT department. This creates convenience, logistical, and potentially critical challenges due to lack of immediate in-person support. The importance of having reliable external service is crucial when it comes to deploying, managing and tending to workplace technology. When making a PC purchase and building a PC infrastructure, consider the service capabilities offered by their IT provider – alongside cost, offerings, reliability and reputation.
8. Choose a reliable partner
Choosing a reliable technology partner is a critical moment for a small business. Try to connect with organisations in the same or similar vertical/niche. This will allow you to learn from what they have found to be successful and enable you to make smarter PC purchase decisions.
Seeing how relevant companies deal with IT concerns, budget issues, and everyday challenges can drive your own decision-making and, ultimately, your success.
9. Unlock productivity through both hardware and software
You can maximise employee productivity through enhancements to the user experience, such as the addition of backlit keyboards, touch screens or 10 finger touch panels. These product features enable new, immersive ways for workers to interact with technology and can help them create and present in imaginative ways.
When it comes to software, Windows 10 is designed to support productivity with new Microsoft apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote optimised for the new OS. In addition to Microsoft-developed applications, there is a broad range of apps on the Windows Store designed to improve productivity inside and outside the office, including Evernote, RemindMe, Trello, Splashtop Business and Poki to name a few.
Neil Marshall is director of client solutions at Dell EMEA.