Upgrade Your Productivity

If you are thinking about upgrading your IT systems, you are not alone. While there is not yet a stampede, many ITS clients have discovered that it has become more cost effective to buy new computer equipment than to hang on to older PCs. The good news is that ITS can help you plan your IT upgrades to ensure the equipment and software you buy best match your needs, and help you fit the upgrade into your IT budget.

Even so, making the decision to upgrade can be surprisingly difficult. But with economic data finally looking better, and companies seeing that begin to translate into actual results, it has become easier for many companies to benefit from new IT equipment. The resulting efficiencies justify the upgrade expense.

Three factors generally lead ITS clients to upgrade: new software and technology, raw speed increases, and replacing depreciated hardware.

New Technology

Many managers look longingly at new programs that help small- and mid-size businesses operate more efficiently. Most, however, need new PCs:

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. Technology allows us to instantly bring your customer's data to the computer screen when a rep takes a phone call...along with that customer's history, data, and previous correspondence. The virtually instant availability of key information will impress customers with your professionalism and efficiency - a
decided benefit in competitive markets.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Properly designed next-generation voice systems can provide essentially free telephone hookups between branch offices, to remote staff, or even sales reps. A VoIP phone, or for convenience a software phone utilizing a laptop's microphone and speakers, can be connected to any Internet connection and still dial back to the office, from anywhere in the world.

Wireless connections can be especially useful for sales staff, as they complete calls and enter orders or other data directly into the company system from a remote location. The ability to connect over wide areas via the coming WiMax standard makes sales staff and traveling managers more efficient, rather than relying on "hot spots" at the neighborhood McDonald's. Companies now can also use wireless to connect nearby offices (up to several miles apart) or in lieu of installing permanent wiring when expanding, especially into temporary offices.

Anti-spam systems. New software can learn to automatically sort out incoming spam by content and other flags rather than simply the sender's e-mail address. Over time, ITS has achieved up to 99.9% accuracy (that's one mis-classification per 1,000 e-mails). This approach lets employees focus on reading e-mail rather than sorting out the spam. In addition, anti-spyware programs that eliminate electronic pests (like the ones that display those adult popup ads, and web search hijackers) are becoming popular - and necessary.

Faster Hardware

Sometimes, older PCs just do not have the memory or speed to run newer software. Consequently, employees are forced to waste too much time waiting for spreadsheets to calculate, databases to load, or simply switching between open programs. New PCs are at least two to three times faster than PCs from even a few years ago. The increased speed boosts employee efficiency and morale.

For example, ITS recently replaced the CAD workstations at a suburban custom home builder. The speed and graphics capabilities dwarfed the firm's existing four-year old PCs. We also replaced six PCs and a server at a home appraisal coordinator one recent Saturday, and upgraded the server to a Gigabit connection. Within a few days they called to comment on how pleased they were with the extra speed operating their database programs.

Tax Deductions

Your accountant will tell you that your older computers have likely outlasted their economic life. Most were purchased in the 1999-2000 run-up to Y2K, and have already been depreciated. Recent tax law changes increase the deductibility of hardware and software, so it may make sense to replace the older hardware with newer, faster, more capable PCs and take the increased write-off. Talk to your accountant about your specific situation, however.

Calculating ROI

The return on investment for these types of solutions is typically measured in increased productivity. Saving just 1 minute every hour results in 32 hours saved per year! The higher paid an employee is the more sense it makes to maximize their productivity. Whether you are ready to upgrade or just in the planning stages, give ITS a call at 630-420-2550 and we will be happy to lend our skills and knowledge to your planning and budgeting.

August 2004

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