Technology is constantly being modified to provide better service and greater satisfaction. At some time, you will need to make an upgrade to replace or improve your hardware and get the latest versions of your software.
Over time, processor speeds change and things get faster. New and innovative ways are found to interconnect everything, or to see things more clearly onscreen, or to print with better resolution and richer colours.
You don't have to have the latest invention or the newest product. But you will find that if you don't upgrade your equipment at the right time it becomes noticeably slower, even obsolete. It may not be able to load new software programs. It may not be able to read files written using the latest programs.
Upgrade only when your business requires. But keep up to date with latest product releases and newest innovations. How? By reading computer magazines, visiting relevant websites, browsing the information technology business press, and by visiting computer resellers and stores. A good reseller will keep you up to date and give you free demonstrations of the latest and newest innovations.
Upgrading memory is always worthwhile. You can also upgrade the CD and DVD drive and the hard drive. You can upgrade the monitor, sound, and video cards. There comes a time when it is more costly to upgrade than it is to buy the latest PC built exactly the way you want it.
Checklist for Upgrading
- Buy only what your small business needs, when you need it.
- Read the computer and business press for the latest advances and newest innovations, and then decide if your business really needs them.
- Keep track of all your hardware and software, because they are important business assets and you will need the information for a variety of purposes. Consider Volume Licensing for software upgrades on five or more licenses.
- Consider technology finance programs that can make your IT purchase easier.
As a general rule, you should buy only what your business needs, allowing you to budget sensibly and control costs effectively. Your business will change over time. So, perhaps, will what it does and the tools it uses to do it. Your software will definitely change as technology advances and new ways of getting things done are developed.
How you upgrade software may depend on how you originally purchased it and what kind of licenses you bought:
- If you bought a full packaged product from a retailer and a new upgrade comes out, you can buy an upgrade version.
- If the software was pre-installed on a new PC , you have a choice. You can buy a new PC with the latest software on it, or you can buy an upgrade from a retailer.
- If you need to license more than five PCs in your business, the Microsoft Software Assurance program will give you the right to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft software for the term of your license agreement.
Software is a business asset. Keeping a record of your hardware and software benefits your business. It means that you have the right information should you need support. It also means you have the details necessary for insurance purposes.
A software asset management program can help you to protect your business from software piracy and under-licensing. An effective software asset management program will also help you to determine what software you need and which programs you don't need.
One of the first steps to take is a complete audit. Your audit should include:
- Date of purchase
- Serial number
- Operating system
- Software packages
Sekhar writes articles for Microsoft India Small Business