Why Buy for the Little Guy

In my blog titled top 10 reasons to buy in a recession ,I discussed generic reasons to invest.  While small businesses (and to some extent medium businesses) don’t have the scale to take advantage of some of the consolidation and cost savings gains discussed in my “why buy for the big guy” blog, the benefits of replacing older servers remains a strong value for smaller businesses also. 

For those business owners who don’t have dedicated IT staff, your technology is depended on for reliable, efficient operation of the business. Technology is depended on to support daily operations and services ... like website operation, email communication, customer management, purchasing and record retention among other things.  If not … then you (as business owner) must turn your attention away from customers and towards your technology platform – not something a you have the time or resources to do.

Before reading, you need to know that I’m not a small business owner but I do have a family (in many ways that is my business) and as such I have several computers at home to support the operation of my family.  Recently, I experienced some issues with my existing computers that have put me in the market for replacement technology.  Specifically, when doing my taxes this year and when trying to load TurboTax*, my computer did not have sufficient memory to support the new 2008 software version.  Additionally, my wife and I track our finances with Quicken* and recently the slow performance on our computer has resulted in us spending too much time doing data entry on a slow computer.  In essence, our technology now is limiting us from doing the things we need to do .. so time to upgrade .. and I am shopping for a new desktop.

These challenges are similar to what I foresee from small businesses when it comes to technology upgrades.  Here are two examples of customers who, as a result of a growing demands and slowing performance of existing technology, turned to a Xeon-based server to streamline operations, boost reliabiilty, improve customer service, improve competitiveness and open up business possibilities for themselves.

ð       Yellow River i-café See How this small i-café went from a situation where a demanding workload caused hardware failures, leading to down time, loss of revenue, and frustrated customers to a situation where Yellow River saw performance gains and head room for growth by upgrading to an new Intel Xeon based server.

ð       Lampworks. Read how Jason Harper of Lampworks went from “We knew that we’d hit the wall with our desktop-based server; it couldn’t bear the extra load. Our computer was suddenly a barrier to our growth, rather than a business enabler” ... to ... “We’re extremely excited about the growth possibilities that our new server gives us.”

As your technology ages, you have a choice.  Typically standard OEM manufacturer warranties are supported for 3 years with purchase of a new server.  Before you extend the warranty (for $800-1200 per server for additional two more years), evaluate the enhanced performance, improved energy efficiency and capability to replace many servers (either desktop or true server technology) with fewer new servers.  If you are already at the end of your extended warranty, can you run the risk of server failure inside your business or can you afford the unexpected expense of a service call. 

Additionally there are some government incentive programs, like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act  that offer businesses accelerated depreciation (60% first year vs standard 20%) on new computer hardware which can lower you 2009 tax burden and accelerate ROI.

Is your current technology holding you back or in your way? ... If so, consider a new server.