Using Business Technology in a Modern Workplace

Most people are not and would not consider themselves to be computer geniuses, yet nearly every person in business world uses a computer daily. If they have been working in an industry for a particularly long time, they are sure to have seen the advancements that have been made and the technology that makes their work easier, once they have been trained to use it.

If you have not jumped on the progress bandwagon that increases in technology have started, you may be lagging too far behind. One definition of failure is the result of not accepting progress. You should keep in mind, however, that progress does not mean eliminating procedures and processes that work well within a company. If the procedures work just fine and nothing is gained by changing them, they should remain the way they are. Change should not be made when it is not necessary, although business people should constantly seek a ‘better way’. If something works for the company, it should remain in effect until something better is found, not just ‘comes along’.

When change is necessary due to new, advanced technology, it should be welcomed. Resistance from employees only makes the change more difficult. Employees should be made aware that procedures will change, that new equipment will be brought in or that a new computer system will be integrated. Whenever an employee or department is affected by a change, they should be warned ahead of time and given enough time to prepare. Employees need positive encouragement so that they will more easily accept what will happen. This is called change management, and its methods should be studied by management before business-wide change is implemented.

Once new technology is incorporated into a company, employees and administration should see the benefits take effect very quickly. If a change has caused problems within the company procedures, those issues should be focused in on and eliminated. At times, new computer systems will have bugs or glitches that make them work incorrectly. Company executives must work diligently to find solutions to these issues before they cause any damage to the company. They should be aware that if new technology is brought in, they will need to be watching for these obstacles. They need to monitor the progress of the newly implemented change to make sure it is truly beneficial to the company overall.

Employees can benefit from new progress and changes because they learn new technology and computer systems as their company incorporates them (this knowledge is a great resume booster). They can take these new-found technological skills with them to another job or to obtain a higher position within the same company.

4 Steps for Managing Your Small Business Technology Costs

A few simple steps can help you make the most of your expenditures throughout the lifecycle of the technology. Servers, desktops, software, networking equipment and peripherals add up, but you do need them to keep your business running. Follow these steps to make cost-effective decisions.

1. Weigh Financing Options

Aside from purchasing, financing and leasing are viable options for a small business. Consider a combination of the three when going through the buying process. Installing and configuring the technology could also be financed and bundled into regular payments. Does the company you’re buying from provide “new and authorized by the manufacturer” sales? After you’ve got the equipment up and running, this could enable your company to get updates or enhancements directly from the manufacturer–and dealing with problems will be much simpler.

2. Warranty Wisely

Anticipate growth and business changes and decide whether or not the technology you are selecting today can carry you through these changes. Take into account the time that it will be considered useful for your business. To protect yourself when financing or leasing, align the term of the agreement with the warranty period. That way you’ll have protection direct from the manufacturer during the period of time you intend to own it.

3. Consider Total Cost

Prepare and budget for other costs to support your technology. For example, toner cartridges typically cost the owner or a laser printer two to three times the initial cost of the printer. Consider a program such as a Managed Print Service to include these costs in the monthly price. Typically this will lower the total lifetime cost.

4. Plan for Disposing of the Equipment

Considering your company’s strategy around technology disposal or recycling at the front end. There are basically 3 ways to properly dispose of technology at the end of the useful life:

Sell the equipment
Donate the technology to a school, non-profit, etc.
Formal Disposition – Certified companies will assure your computers or other hardware and software will be properly disposed of, including recycling and reuse of components. Another benefit: Your data is destroyed and made unrecoverable by professionals rather than relying on inexperienced staffers.

The total cost of ownership of technology includes more than the upfront price tag. Consider the total lifecycle costs of IT for your business, plan ahead and you’ll make sure you’re maximizing your investment.