Choosing the Right Hardware and Software for Your Business

Once an exclusive luxury, technology has become much more attainable since its inception. So much so that, with recent technical revolutions, it has become a fundamental element of every business. In fact, a robust hardware infrastructure and a modern software approach are vital for simplifying your operations, increasing efficiency, and securing a competitive advantage for your business.

With that said, there is a sea of alternatives on the market, complicating your decisions and making the process of selecting the proper technology tricky. So, what is included when we say “hardware” and “software” and, more importantly, how do you choose the right hardware and software for your business?

Hardware and Software: The Basics

In general, there are two primary computer components: hardware and software.

Hardware is the physical equipment that comprises a computer system; that is, anything you can physically touch. The hardware items we are all commonly familiar with are desktops, monitors, keyboards, laptops, and printers, but, of course, there are more available hardware elements than just those few. Depending on your business requirements, you may need:

  • Central Processing Units (CPUs)
  • Hard drives (either external or internal)
  • CD-ROM and DVD drives
  • Flash drives
  • Modems and routers
  • Scanners
  • Smartphones

Which hardware options you will need for your business will depend on the types of software programs you run to accomplish your business operations tasks. Software is the set of instructions that tells your computer the “what” and “when” associated with your tasks and can be further classified as operating system software or applications software. Operating system software encompasses the complete set of programs, procedures, and sequences associated with your system’s operation, managing everything from your computer’s monitor and drives to your computer applications software; that is, the select computer programs designed to perform specific activities or actions. Depending on your business functions, the general types of applications software that you may find helpful are:

  • Word processing programs
  • Spreadsheet programs
  • Database management programs
  • Accounting and bookkeeping programs
  • Desktop publishing programs

Rather than selecting individual programs for purchase and installation, if you expect that you will be using more than one, you may consider bundling to purchase a complete software package. To satisfy basic needs, you can shop around for an integrated office suite, for example, Microsoft Office 365. It effectively combines several tools into a single program. However, if your business falls into a particular niche, you may consider purchasing an industry-specific software package or having a program custom-made for your business. As you can imagine, the latter is more expensive than buying off-the-shelf software, but it may be well worth the investment if you cannot find existing programs that meet your specific needs.

Regardless of the options you select, you need to determine your software and hardware needs and products in tandem to ensure everything is compatible down the line. But how do you even start to narrow down what products you might need?

Considerations For Selecting Your Hardware and Software

There are several factors to consider when selecting products for your business. We recommend you look at:

  • Range of features
    What features are you looking for in your hardware and software? Take some time to determine your “essentials” versus your “nice-to-haves,” then make sure that your list and the product’s features are compatible.
  • Speed and performance
    How complicated are the tasks you will be completing, and how quickly do you need them accomplished? The CPU is responsible for the speed and performance of the device, so the more processing power you have available, the faster your computer can work to tackle more complicated tasks and larger workloads.
  • Storage
    How much storage space do you need? Keep in mind, you need storage for everything from basic documents to complicated programs and applications. If you run low on storage space, this can also impact your computer’s performance, slowing down daily progress and incurring employee frustrations.
  • Mobility
    How often do your employees work remotely, whether from their homes or while travelling? The products you choose can have a significant impact on your team’s ability to work remotely and stay nimble on a daily basis.
  • Budget
    Approximately 53 percent of businesses plan to increase their I.T. budgets to invest in new technology. Although a hefty portion of that comes from purchasing big-ticket items, smaller purchases can also add up. This is not to say you should buy the cheapest option; the takeaway is to make sure you shop for the best value within your set of qualifications.
  • Maintenance
    How old are the products you are considering? Everything is subject to wear-and-tear, becoming less efficient over time. Keep in mind, too, that the longer a product has been available, the more time cyber-criminals have had to uncover and exploit its vulnerabilities. In that case, consider purchasing products that have fail-safes in place to future-proof your chosen products when they reach the end of their operational life.

Don’t Go IT Alone

It can be difficult to wade through the vast array of products out on the market while also considering the factors above. We recommend partnering with a well-established I.T. service provider, such as PC Corp. We carry out this research for you – matching your business requirements and employee needs to find the right-fit hardware and software options and assist you in making informed decisions about the best solutions.

It is also advantageous to have an IT partner leverage their vendor relationships. PC Corp has formed long-term partnerships with our vendors and has a deep understanding of their product sets and the programs available that may help bring value to your IT hardware and software investments.

Remember: the hardware and software you use are the pillars of your business, so your I.T. infrastructure must be efficient, reliable, and secure. Above all else, the best thing you can do when purchasing hardware and software is to get an opinion from a competent I.T. provider.

Do you need support with procurement and management? We’re here to help. We make I.T. easy! Contact us to find out how.

Small Business