Savy tech buying. Four steps to ensure you procure right every time.

We’re in an age of digital transformation, where technology is vital to efficiency and profitability.

From a five-person operation to multi-billion, globally trading groups, technology has become the backbone of most businesses.

This makes any decision to procure new technology, whether a suite of devices or a new software system, a huge one. The right decision can set an organisation on the road to greater growth and viability, but the wrong one can be costly and undermine progress.

From budgeting strategically to collaboration and cyber security, there are a range of issues every procurement professional needs to be on top of.

Here are four pieces of wisdom that can help make every tech choice a savvy one:

1. Needs assessment

Having a properly researched business case in place before funding new technology is vital.

For knowing whether your current tech equipment and software is meeting your business needs and then really understanding what size of investment is necessary, a needs assessment is the essential first step for every organisation.

A needs assessment will give you an objective evaluation of the various choices. It will usually include surveying and documenting all existing technology, together with its age and condition, and recording the business processes supported by every piece of technology.

You or your IT team should interview management and staff with the aim of understanding the ways that existing technology is not supporting the enterprise. There could be problems with slow, outdated hardware, or inefficiencies because the software in place is not supporting teams effectively.

Look for a tech supplier who will work with you on this, helping you to better understand current and required usage, to uncover the issues, and advise you on which solutions will deliver the best, long-term benefits to the business.

2. Schedule replacements

A more strategic approach to replacing your technology will help you budget better and make the most of every pound you invest.

Most businesses acknowledge that technology has a set lifespan, know that at some point they will have to fund replacements and set depreciation budget aside for this. When some businesses only allow for repairs but not the next round of replacements, they can be unwittingly setting themselves up for an unwelcome surprise.

With PCs and servers, most people would agree a lifespan is three to five years, although this can depend on how these are used. It’s easy to get used to deteriorating computer performance without recognising the loss of time and other efficiencies this can cause.

Many IT advisers would argue the cost of maintaining hardware beyond four years can outweigh the benefits of not replacing it. Many repairs or upgrades can be more than the cost of a new machine at that point.

Older machines often slow down productivity because they can be less effective at running multiple applications and at maintaining remote connections. They can take up more energy and their batteries are older. New devices will often put extra hours into your business.

3. Collaboration

Thinking about collaboration with every tech purchase decision will help to future proof your choice.  This helps teams to stay in touch wherever they are, have meetings regardless of location and share and collaborate on files remotely.

Our recent insight article Technology for Collaboration outlines how well-designed interactive technology is giving people everywhere an increasingly effective and productive way to get things done at work.

From how we present information and interact in sessions, to connecting our devices and holding successful virtual meetings, the right tech is empowering us to work together like never before.

Elements such as video conferencing solutions, LCD or LED monitors and interactive screens are all means of making these everyday interactions easier and more productive.

4. Security

Security has to be paramount. From protecting every business device, including smartphones as well as laptops, to training staff on best security practice, ensuring new tech is acquired with the best security strategy in place is vital.

The biggest threats to businesses come via hackers and criminals looking to steal and mis-use data, and they are regularly attempting to do this to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

As well as ensuring all software and hardware will be regularly updated, all devices should include the best anti-virus software and advanced malware protection available, and all portable equipment set up with full password protection and carried in lockable cases or bags.

With Banner you can equip your organisation with the best technology, ensuring a well-researched, user-friendly and future-proofed solution. For details please contact our technology team on technology@banneruk.com

For ideas on collaboration please download the B Guide to Collaboration.

Procurement Insights: For more insights join Banner on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter

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