It’s that time of year when businesses are taking a look at their budget before the start of the new financial year in April, and you may be wondering where is best to allocate your IT budget. Some businesses rely more heavily on software and systems and others on the hardware side of tech, but where should you invest your cash…? The answer is it really depends on your business and its individual needs, let’s break this down.
What do we mean by software & systems?
When we say ‘software’ we mean the applications that you can’t actually see, it may not be as exciting as unpacking brand-new shiny computers, they work behind the scenes. Different software adds different value to different businesses. For example, let’s take a hotel as an example of a business that holds lots of customer data for long periods of time (credit card details, names, email addresses, etc…) security software is going to be extremely valuable and necessary for them. Keeping their customer data safe and secure means they won’t break GDPR legislation as well as avoid hefty fines.
Let’s take another example of an SME to a larger corporation, they may be dealing with a lot of data, files, and other things floating around, being sent, and emailed. It would be beneficial for them to switch over to Cloud IT, it means everything in their company can be stored securely in the cloud and accessed anywhere, anytime by people who ate given access. Making life much simpler for your employees as well as having added security and managing who has access to what.
These are just a few examples of systems that can be internally embedded in your IT network, there are many more and there is something that can help every business. Some more examples of software that work behind the scenes to benefit your business are
- Security packages
- Spam and ransomware protection software
- Backup (Backupify as an example)
- Google workspace and Microsoft Office 635 (collaboration tools)
- PCI compliance
- IT support and maintenance (updates, network security, fixing issues, etc…)
- ● Email services
Let’s talk about hardware and equipment
Opening a brand new laptop or PC is fun and exciting but there’s an entire array of equipment that make up the pieces of the IT network puzzle and they all work simultaneously to keep your business up and running. Let’s talk about some of the arguably most important pieces of networks for different businesses.
The hospitality and retail sector mainly revolves around processing orders and taking payments, the basic functionality of their business. Because of this WiFi and internet connection is one of the key pieces of the IT puzzle. A reliable WiFi and internet connection allows companies to process, print, send and take orders as well as take payments.
If your WiFi drops out completely, this can have serious effects. An East Sussex Nightclubs WiFi dropped out for the entire Friday night costing them approximately £25,000! Not on Astaris’ watch might we add. Only 17% of all payments in the UK are made with cash, so being able to process payments is important. Not to mention all the other systems (sound systems, phones, computers that run over WiFi).
Another example of an important piece of hardware for businesses is phones, and your choice of phones is also important. Phone systems should make life easy for your business. Astaris’ go-to is VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phones as they can be easily scaled up or down depending on the size of your business. They allow people to connect their work handset to a mobile device which makes hybrid working much easier too, perfect for larger businesses that have employees working between home and the office.
Some other examples of hardware businesses that may want to consider investing in are:
- PCs and laptops
- Routers and WiFi boosters
- Other phone systems and boosters
- Printers, tills, sound systems, etc…
Where do most businesses allocate their IT budget?
The majority of companies allocate a larger percentage of their IT budget to hardware, and we understand it’s more exciting, it’s tangible and you feel like you’re getting more out of it. We are not saying the hardware isn’t important, because it is. Your hardware and equipment are the building blocks of your business’s IT network and they are all necessary, the hardware you choose does make a difference to the reliability.
However, the systems and software are the foundation of your business, and they play just as important of a role in your network and shouldn’t be neglected. Having the best of the best WiFi systems and computers is no good if your security is weak. This is a classic example of how a behind-the-scenes issue can cause a big problem. WiFi and computer are no good if they have been overtaken by ransomware, so it’s important to lay the foundation before building the house.
Need a little help deciding?
You want to get the most out of your IT budget, and we understand that why not get in touch with a member of our team to advise you on what hardware and software would best benefit you and your business in 2023.