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General Recommendations for our Clients

We do not think our clients should be on the cutting edge of the latest technology, but should be in the middle of the curve, buying tested technologies which will still have several years of usable life. Most hardware and software reaches a point where support from the makers is no longer available. Soon after that, it becomes next to useless to the user.

Shopping for the latest in good prices for hardware is not a good idea. We believe the company should settle on one name manufacturer of computers and stick with them. Small offices do well with Micron, Gateway, and Dell, Compaq and IBM. These are standard, Intel-based computers which use standard parts. If you prefer to buy locally ensure that the company has been in existence for 4-5 years, and intends to be around for that many more. Never buy from someone going out of business! Discounts will prove to be problems.

Insofar as possible the computers should also be of the same generation. Studies show that the cost of the hardware in a computer system is somewhere close to one-quarter of the total computer costs; one quarter is spent on technical support, and one-half on end user operations. When computers are brought in one at a time, every 6 months, there may be savings on the hardware end, but the cost of transferring files, moving computers around, and re-arranging workspace can greatly increase the perceived lower initial cost.

Purchases should be planned and discussed with us. Do not buy on impulse and then expect a smooth integration with what already exists.

We encourage several things:

  • Plan for each evolution of computer usage
  • Stay a step or two behind the leading edge
  • Don't shop for bargain basement prices
  • Do settle on a standard in hardware and software
  • Pay for what you use
  • Designate an in-house technology partner and staff person; designate a back-up.
  • When new software is put on computers, (e.g. Internet research software) designate a few people who are interested, competent, and who have the time, to pre-test the plan
  • Set up an on-going relationship with a trusted consultant
  • Understand the division of labor between the consultant and the in-house people
  • Concentrate on solving problems and helping users, not in finger pointing and portioning out blame

We hope this is helpful to you, both in terms of your computers and in terms of knowing more about Computers In Plain English.

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