You’re a small businessperson, and the office computer guy (who actually knows nothing about computers, but was selected because he successfully hooked up a game console to his TV last Christmas) tells you that two of your 10 office PCs are down with viruses or “something,” bringing a halt to a customer proposal that’s on deadline. Two others in accounting keep pausing long enough for workers to take coffee breaks while the systems mull over their keystrokes, pushing the billing process into overtime. Revenue is at a standstill.

 

“What are my options?” you ask. “We could maybe buy some stuff to upgrade them, and call in a computer repair service,” the computer guy shrugs. Buying new computers in the economic downturn seems a questionable call. The computers are only three or four years old and likely you could get another year or two out of them.

 

Nonetheless, while you’re small, these decisions aren’t just about survival and cutting back spending. They’re about remaining competitive and having an edge when the Dow Jones climbs for real. And the business doesn’t run without computers. So, what do you tell your computer guy?

 

OK, I’m an Intel PR guy, so you know where this is going. Nonetheless, bare with me for a bit and there might be some ROI. Rob Crooke, VP for Intel’s Business Client Group, recently tackled some of the key questions around this dilemma in conjunction with a press briefing on a new study by Techaisle. The study looks at the financial aspects of maintaining computers for SMBs.

 

Here’s what the Techaisle study says: The average maintenance cost for a small business on a computer that’s more than three years old is $545. On the average, that includes $326 for maintenance, $99 for those upgrades you’re considering and $120 for out-of-warranty service costs. If you bought the extended warranty, reduce the latter. If you buy a new computer, the maintenance cost drops to $126, the first-year maintenance cost from a study by Jack Gold (Techaisle doesn’t provide a first-year cost.) So, the difference is $419.

 

“Yeah, sure,” you say, “but I have to buy a new computer!” Yes, but let’s see how that $419 might cut the pain. PDS has Intel Core2 Duo-based desktop PCs starting at $540 and CDW offers notebooks beginning at $700. If you add Intel vPro for additional manageability and security, you could move up for $699 and $830, respectively. So, you can buy the new desktop system for as low as $121, a 15-month payback. Now, if you’re larger than small, say 50-100 employees, you can see from the chart below that the payback is less than a year, and will actually make you a $40 profit. OK, OK, I’m a PR guy, but cut me some slack. I’m not making up the numbers.

Money Foil.jpg

Now that’s just the hard dollars that Techaisle captured. A new PC can have other benefits – reduced downtime from viruses, improved energy efficiency and enhanced productivity to name a few. So, maybe investing a few dollars could save you money in the slightly longer run and possibly help you keep your revenue flowing.

 

For more information, you might want to look at the Techaisle study. For a quicker overview check out the fact sheet and white paper, or better see the media briefing with Rob Crooke, ASUSTeK and Gigabyte.