Are you planning to make a technology purchase?
The end of financial year makes many people think about tax and hurriedly scramble to organise deductible expenses in time. At the same, savvy large technology retailers and department stores hold tempting sales. It is very easy to get caught up in the frenzy and make a purchase you might regret. A little groundwork can leave you ready for a win-win situation – you buy in time for the tax benefit, find a good deal at the sale and make sure you have what your business needs so you are left with a device or program that you are happy to use.
Where do I start?
Start by thinking about your business. What are you doing now that would be easier with new technology? What are your competitors offering that makes smart use of technology?
What devices or programs/applications do you have that are getting old and may no longer be meeting your needs? Are there any support or security issues that are becoming a risk for you? For example, Microsoft stops issuing security updates for old versions of Windows after a time. This has just happened to Windows XP.
So now you have identified any gaps in your business.
Then identify what you need to fill those gaps. Write a wish list of every technology purchase you think would help you. If you are relying on Windows XP, maybe you need new desktop computers which run Windows 7 or 8. If you need to be able to print in colour, maybe an updated printer is your thing. Maybe it is a new smart phone or tablet for when you or your staff are on the road. The answers will be different for every business, so pick what will help you most. Identify your budget and decide which of the items on your wish list should be a priority
Some Tips to Help Find What You Want
Once you have identified what you need, these tips will help you find it:
- Write down the most important things you want your purchase to do and verity it can do them. This can be by reading manuals and reviews or by viewing a trial version or demonstration.
- Do the “nightmare” and “problem” tests. Google the name of the product and the words “nightmare” and “problem”. This is a simple way to learn from the experience of others and identify products that have caused issues.
- Verify what sales staff claim by checking multiple sources, including with friends, a trusted technology expert or on Google. .
Happy End of Financial Year
I’d love to hear from you and hear of any purchases you make and if this article helped. I’d also love to know what’s bugging you about technology and what you would like me to write about, so please drop me a line.
Cathy Ewald is the founder of The Electronic Lighthouse. She has a PhD in computer science from The University of Queensland for a thesis focusing on how to make different databases work well together. She has experience in both business analysis – helping people work out what they need technology to do for them and how and systems analysis – drawing up the detailed plans as well as building or selecting actual solutions and has worked for a range of organisations including Queensland Health. She combines strong technical know-how with a passion for helping people use technology better. Her web site is www.electroniclighthouse.com.au.