So what do you do when the computer is currently running great, but you fear a failure is just around the corner.
You preemptively replace your hard drives.
This is a simple process where the old hard drive, which is still running just fine, is cloned to a new hard drive. All programs, software licenses, user settings, and files are completely copied (cloned) to the new hard drive. You lose nothing and require no additional configuration to be up and running.
The idea is that the new hard drive gives your computer a new lease on life and, barring a motherboard failure or some other catastrophic event, you are good to go for another 3 to 5 years.
Additionally, if you replace your hard drive with a modern Solid State Drive (SSD) you can realize drastic improvements in system performance. While SSD’s cost more, you will see such a drastic improvement in your system’s performance that you will quickly recoup your investment. Furthermore, SSD’s are dropping in price, so by this time next year it will truly be a no-brainer to make the switch to SSD.
The advantages of preemptive drive replacement:
$300 for a new drive (SSD) and clone vs. $1000 for a new machine
ZERO staff re-training
ZERO down time (assumes after hours deployment)
ZERO additional deployment costs (no tweaking to get new Windows 7 / 8 systems working with existing equipment etc.)
Everything that was, still is, just on a fresh drive
Increase in available storage space (assumes new drive is larger than old drive)
Very low risk
Ask us how your office can benefit from an approach like this.
NB: Hosts are NOT created equally. There will be a balance of Hosting Services, Customer Service, and Price.
Cost: $10+ / month
A Web Design
find a reputable designer that understands your business and whom you feel can create a website that is a fit for your business.
ask them how they are going to help position you at the top of the Search results (Search Engine Optimization, Mobile Reading, Responsive Designs, Social Networking etc.)
is your site going to be part of a Complete Online Presence? (think FaceBook Page, Google+ Page, LinkedIn, etc.)
Cost: $ ? (depends on a lot of issues)
An Ad Campaign
consider pro-actively promoting your website using Google Ad Campaigns
our clients get $100 coupons towards establishing a campaign
Cost: $0+ / month
Many designers will offer hosting through their reseller accounts with the benefit that they will be able to develop, deploy, monitor, and update your site from a central, familiar interface. They resell space that they purchase from a major hosting company.
When you are looking to get hosting for your new website and you are in discussions with your web designer, PLEASE insist that you get a direct account with whichever hosting company you have chosen.
To put it another way, NEVER fall into the trap of becoming a sub-client of your web designer’s Reseller Account.
If you don’t know if they are selling you on their reseller account, ASK.
Why am I so adamant about this?
6 Reasons You Should Never Use a Reseller Account
Flexibility & Control
You don’t want to be joined at the hip with your web designer for life. What happens if there is a falling out between you? What happens if he/she hangs up their spurs and moves on to bigger and better things? You will find yourself unable to take Administrative control of your own site, and that is a tough situation to be in.
You are forever at the mercy of that one reseller. Your administrative requests have to go through them, not the hosting company where your site is actually hosted (!).
Should you choose to change providers (for Web Hosting or for Email), you will have a difficult time migrating without the full involvement (and approval) of your reseller.
Hosting companies don’t want to will not deal with someone who is not the Account Holder.
As a sub-account of your reseller, you are NOT the Account Holder.
Simple changes/problems that should take minutes to correct, can take hours (or in some cases, weeks) to resolve.
Your designer may be a terrific, creative, and talented person, but that doesn’t help much when things go wrong. Go wrong? What are you talking about? The most common error that I encounter daily is that of malfunctioning email. From spam, blacklisted IP addresses, DNS or MX record issues, configuration of email on a mobile phone, or just plain adding and removing new accounts, your web designer isn’t likely to be able to offer much in the way of support.
Troubleshooting issues like this requires full Administrative control of your domain and website. As a sub-account of your reseller, you are not an Administrator.
So now you have your local IT unable to make Administrative changes or even have a discussion with your hosting company because you have to involve your web designer from 3 years ago who really isn’t all that motivated in returning your urgent calls for help. And if they did return your call, it isn’t likely that they will be able to contribute anything meaningful.
And to be clear, your reseller is NEVER going to give you or your IT Administrative control as that would grant full access to ALL of their client sites. A major breach of trust for all parties involved.
See where I’m going here?
Resellers purchase space from a host and then carve up that space to all of their clients. The less space they give each client, the more clients they can fit into the space they have purchased.
We STRONGLY recommend switching your email to IMAP, whereby your emails are stored on the server and are synchronized with your various devices (laptop, office computer, mobile phone, etc.). However, this scares resellers because that means their clients will start consuming more and more of their precious space and they will encourage you to switch back to the archaic POP method of retrieving email (which is really only good for a single device) or tell you to start archiving or deleting emails. This is ridiculous and pure nonsense. I recently had dotCanada tell me that mailboxes over 1GB in size are subject to corruption. Complete fantasy, or more truthfully, just another sleazy tactic in spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It is a conflict of interest and the customer almost always loses.
Direct billing between yourself and your host. Keep it simple and clean.
Control of your site is linked to the credit card on file.
Time & Money
The obvious, overriding factor: money.
If it takes your local IT 3x longer to solve a problem because they are waiting on the pleasure of your web designer, you will be charged 3x as much money.
How much are you losing in business while you wait for your web designer to get back to you with details on why your email is down?
A Final Comment
Having your own account directly with a hosting company does not preclude the involvement of your web designer from maintaining and updating your site on a regular basis.
They can still log into your site, make security updates, changes to the site, tweak the SEO, etc.
You can still enter into a monthly / quarterly maintenance contract with your designer (or, since you are not trapped in a resellers account you can choose a new designer).
True, it is less convenient for your designer / web maintainer to have to juggle multiple clients on multiple platforms / hosts, but hey, that’s why they are paid the big bucks.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.