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In today’s fiscally responsible environment, many businesses are loath to spend any money on new computer equipment, when the old equipment appears to be running OK, albeit a little slowly.

Now, I am not here to advocate throwing money away unnecessarily or by attempting to fix computer problems by replacing them with faster computers that have a whole new set of computer problems. See Office 2013 & Office 365 – Think Again Before Upgrading or Repair Your Computer vs. Replace Your Computer.

Nor am I in the business of selling computers, so I truly don’t have a vested interest in you or your company spending money on new computers. In fact, I should probably encourage you to keep spending money on my services to keep your old fleet limping along for as long as I can.

But that’s not the way I work.

Now, to the disclaimer: I am not a purchasing agent that will present the following analysis as if it were a Total Cost of Ownership nor as a Return on Investment.

I want to look at a no-nonsense, simple example of replacing an aged computer from the “it just makes good business sense” perspective.

Front Desk Reception

I just finished installing a new system for a front desk receptionist whose ancient computer was dramatically reducing her efficiency and overall effectiveness.

We had opted to replace the computer, rather than upgrade it or repair it because someone in the office had pointed them towards the following articles: Repair Your Computer vs. Replace Your Computer and 2013 Computer Buying Guide.

We were also convinced that the hard drive was about to fail, so they were looking at expensive repair bills, regardless.

Her responsibility in the office is to take and redirect calls, schedule appointments (checking availabilities in a common calendar), input data into a company database, maintain the company customer contacts, and reply to queries via email. Pretty standard stuff.

She was days behind in her work and it was only getting worse.

Her problems:

  • Slow computer: 20 minutes to turn on, many seconds to flip screens, no multitasking capabilities
  • Slow switching between programs often had her losing her train of thought (she would be interrupted frequently, and then have to start again)
  • Customers were getting cranky (or going elsewhere) because their emails were not being returned in a timely manner.
  • Old Office software prevented her from communicating effectively with others in the company
  • The database entry program is a fairly memory intensive application, which her system could just barely handle

The solution:

A Dell Optiplex 7010 w/ Microsoft Home & Business. The cost of the machine was $950 CAD and it cost them $100 for me to configure this new system with access to the company database, the company email system, the company printers, and to migrate over personal settings etc.

The total cost of the new computer was $1050.

I checked in with her a few days later to see how things were going. This is what she had to say:

This is really incredible! It’s 10x faster and I’m getting through my backlog in no time. Turn it on, and 2 minutes later I am down to work. Compare that to the 30 minutes it used to take.

Great response!

Now, let’s take a simple look at the economics:

Let’s assume she makes $16 / hr and we take her claim of working 10x faster with a serious dose of skepticism and evaluate her performance as only being 50% more efficient.

So for a typical 8 hour day she is now performing 12 hours worth of work performed.

The company is getting $8 / hr more out of her efforts, or $64 in savings in a typical 8 hour day.

That means, that $1050 will take a mere 16 days for the company to recoup their investment in that new technology.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the return on that investment with respect to:

  • improved communication with fellow employees and customers
  • reduction in lost revenue by not keeping up with customer demand
  • improved accuracy in data entry
  • reduction in costly IT maintenance
  • improved compatibility with modern software packages

It also doesn’t factor in more esoteric concepts such as employee satisfaction.

Now, what if this computer wasn’t for a $16 / hr employee?

What if this was for a highly productive sales team member where being able to close a deal quickly, efficiently, and without the “can you hold on a minute, my computer is really slow today?” results in dramatic improvement in your revenue stream.

What if this is for your 3D modeling draftsman, where rendering times can take hours, and shaving even a nominal amount of time could result in thousands in savings?

What if this was for a busy executive that bills out at $300 / hr?

Frankly, it’s a no brainer. Replace your old systems with something modern and up to the task.

Taking It a Step Further

If you want to really take your operation up a step, consider Multi-Monitors.

I cannot think of a more affordable way to improve speed, accuracy and overall performance in any office environment.

You can take a read about Multi-Monitor efficiency here.

more monitors cut down on toggling time among windows on a single screen, which can save about 10 seconds for every five minutes of work. If you have more than one monitor, he said, “You don’t have to toggle back and forth. You can take in everything with the sweep of an eye.

I won’t belabor the point, but I strongly recommend two monitors for anyone juggling a calendar, an inbox, a web browser, and any sort of Office program.

Alternative

If you REALLY don’t want to spend money on a new system, or are worried about the possible disruption to your business workflow, there is an alternative.

I write about a special case in the following article: Alternative to Buying a New Computer.

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