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Why Skimping On IT Will Cost You Money

ImageOne of my biggest challenges as an IT consultant is trying to convince small businesses to upgrade their hardware and software.  IT is looked at as an expense, and because we are all trying to save a few bucks, you may think that keeping your older hardware and/or software is the best cost-saving solution; but trying to hold on to old equipment or outdated software may cost you more in the long run. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. Productivity – If users are waiting for a program to load, or can only run a specific number of applications, they are not nearly as efficient, and worse: they can become very frustrated trying to do their job because the older and limited technology is slowing them down.
  2. Security – As technology advances, so do the threats.  Old and unsupported software may not be secure and patched, therefore putting your data and company at risk.
  3. Maintenance – The cost of keeping old equipment up and running is expensive.  After a few visits from your IT Professional, you could have replaced the equipment at the same cost, and you wouldn’t have to worry about it later on. On average, desktop PCs should be replaced every 3-5 years.
  4. Support – As software ages, the “experts” who know how to manage older software become harder to find, and because of this, will charge more. It also becomes much harder to acquire older components.
  5. Functionality/Compatibility – Updated versions of applications and software are easier and faster to use.  In some cases, older versions of the same software may not be compatible with newer versions.

I am not recommending that you toss out your current IT infrastructure, but I do recommend you evaluate what you own and consider updating/replacing older equipment. Start with a plan to replace/upgrade the oldest systems in your office.  Your IT Pro can help you design a roadmap for updating your systems and software. He/she will be able to assist you in creating cost-effective solutions for your budget, customized for your current needs and workflow.

By taking the time to be proactive now, you can save yourself many future issues, including unforeseen costs, hardware failure, and other unpredictable difficulties.  You never know what could happen when you are using out-of-date equipment; and it is always better to have a plan in place than to be hit with a huge and unexpected IT bill.  Take the 5 minutes and call your IT Pro today to determine how to best protect your company’s future plans.

Why Do We Still Have Snow Days?

A few weeks ago I had a lovely lunch with Mitch Garvis, a Microsoft Valuable Partner (MVP). For some excellent tech insight, you should check out his blog and follow him on Twitter @mgarvis.  He asked me what I would like to see technology do in the future…my answer: “end snow days”.  The look on his face told me he didn’t see the connection between technology and snow days.

I live in a small city in the snow belt.  Classes are not canceled that often, but the school buses are.  My daughter takes a school bus and there have been several days when she hasn’t attended school because the buses have been cancelled.  If my husband and I can re-arrange our schedules, one of us will drop her off and pick her up; but otherwise she stays home and chats online with her classmates who are also at home.   If she is chatting with her friends online and her teacher is at school (which has Internet connectivity), why can’t the students, both at home and in class, and the teacher have an online  lesson?

Not only could we use this model for snow days, but we could free our elementary children from the education “box” they are stuck in.  Skype In the Classroom is free, and already connects teachers and projects together.   Could this model be expanded to include experts on different subject matter? This would make learning a more interesting and interactive experience.  To keep our kids exposed to current technologies not only makes learning fun, but it also ensures they can use technology to their advantage; whether it’s in school using a Smart board or outside of school teaching a grandparent how to communicate over the Internet. Our education system needs to change and adapt to meet the needs of our younger students. Education should encourage our children develop a passion and desire to learn about a variety of topics, not just curriculum in the box.

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