December is probably the best time of the year to replace aging computer hardware. It is also the best time to think about introducing tools you might not have had before, like tablets. That is because the sales that begin on Black Friday generally continue. Last year saw computer prices in December coming in six percent lower than in November.
Generally accepted wisdom is that a computer is at the end of its life after five years. And there will be diminishing performance over its lifetime.
This is particularly true at the moment as we ask more of our computers beyond word processing and email. We run more programs, keep more browser tabs open and get our information in more processor-intensive ways. Cisco expects 84 percent of internet traffic to be videos by 2018, for instance.
Even the standard tasks like word-processing evolve. Microsoft Office 2016 comes with a host of attractive features, but you might need new hardware to get the most from your investment.
Software is a competitive market. That makes prices attractive, and it also means developers spend time listening to their customers. They want to give you what you want before you go elsewhere.
Those features that would answer the prayers of your employees might well be in the latest version.
You could find that updating your software underpins a significant boost in productivity for 2016.
Tablets and smartphones
Another route to increasing productivity is to consider some of the latest tablets. Portable (obviously) and far more functional than they have ever been, you could see significant jumps in efficiency by investing in some of the workhorses now on the market.
This is especially true now that you see Windows apps on tablets behaving just like their desktop counterparts. They even offer proper multitasking.
If employees do not need a full-blown tablet, the latest smartphones could equip employees to do things out of the office that they were not able to do before.
The right time for an audit
With so many deals out there, now is the time to run an audit of your hardware and software:
- How old are your computers?
- How are they coping with software updates?
- Are you doing things on computers that you did not buy with those requirements in mind?
- What do the employees who use them say? (Are they wasting time during the working day because their computer cannot keep up?)
- What software do you rely on and are you on the latest version?
- Are employees still relying on pen, paper and re-doing it all when they return to the office?
- What are your competitors able to do in client meetings or on the road that your team cannot?
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