How to overcome technology obsolescence

New IT investments are often put on hold as a result of budget constrains. But with an increasing number of deals like those from HP, SMBs can still invest in IT and yet enjoy improvements to their bottom line.

Ditching old technology for the new allows enterprises to operate more efficiently and helps drive revenue growth. But with Moore’s law acting on every piece of hardware and software, the bane with new technology is that it may put a strain on finances as corporations find themselves replacing obsolete technology faster than expected.

For instance, while companies have historically replaced employees’ PCs every three years, budgetary constraints--reinforced by the recent economic downturn--have now stretched the replacement cycle to an average of four years.

For small and medium businesses (SMBs), which typically have a limited IT budget, technology obsolescence is a challenge.

Therefore, wise management of IT assets is key for firms to stay cash rich. But thanks to the introduction of solutions tailored for SMBs, businesses facing the issue of having to constantly upgrade their IT system can now keep up with technology changes and improve their bottom line at the same time.

Outsourcing a solution
Outsourcing is certainly an option for SMBs, especially since industry analysts expect outsourcing to gain momentum, resulting in more vendors joining the foray to serve customers’ growing demand.

According to Dataquest, the worldwide desktop/client lifecycle outsourcing market will exceed US$25 billion, and achieve a year-over-year annual growth rate topping 13 percent, from 2003 to 2005.

In the Asia-Pacific, IDC projects that the desktop/client lifecycle outsourcing market will reach US$800 million, with year-on-year annual growth rate of 28 percent, by 2005.

Today, SMBs can sign-up with an external IT provider to improve their business processes and lower their IT costs. HP, for instance, has some key offerings that start as low as US$22 per seat, per month.

Two new HP solutions that SMBs can immediately implement are Access on Demand--an outsourcing solution, and Pay Per Use--a printing solution.

Access On Demand
Access On Demand takes care of a company’s PC infrastructure as it covers PC acquisition, management and support issues. Developed with an aim to reduce overall PC ownership cost, it combines a SMB’s needs for high-performance computing to generate business and simplify business processes at a single “seat” price, which is charged on a monthly basis.

The solution helps businesses refresh PC capabilities every three years in a cost-effective way, without the hassle and expense of disposing depreciating and outdated equipment. It also removes the headaches of acquiring new platform products, staging, testing and installing them.

SMBs will find that there is no upfront investment needed and they will not be faced with fast depreciating IT assets. Instead, a predictable, monthly expense coupled with the option of a technology refresh is available.

Access on Demand gives SMBs access to desktops and laptops as utilities, where they can enjoy lower total cost of ownership than if PCs and support were to be purchased separately. At the same time, businesses can look forward to improved service levels like:

- Standardised user platforms
- Deployment for office, connected and ready to go
- IT help desk covering all services
- IT asset reporting
- Hardware and software maintenance
- 24X7 on-site support

In some cases, HP can offer remote monitoring of hard-disk capacity, system performance or security/virus intrusion. In the case of a virus attack or capacity shortfall, appropriate action can be taken promptly to rectify the problem or scale the system utility accordingly.

Pay Per Use (PPU)
PPU allows SMBs to take control of their printing costs while increasing workflow efficiency, improving device management (laser jet or ink-jet for different print-out effects) through the help of detailed printer management information. Overall, the administration of the printing needs is simplified and also results in hassle-free maintenance of a business’ printing supplies such as print cartridges, toners and other consumables.

With this solution, HP provides companies with access to leading market technology, a better total customer experience and improved management of printing needs.

SMBs who sign up with Pay Per Use can look forward to installation, management, maintenance and support of their printers. A range of optional services for varying levels of support are also available to cater to the needs of particular businesses or industries.

For SMBs, a reliable and trusted technology partner is key, especially since most SMBs have very lean IT teams which are best tasked to handle critical roles that drive their business operations.

With solutions catered for SMBs like those from HP, the ability to improve bottom line and upgrade technology investments at the same time is now achievable.

Kelvin Tan is the senior regional marketing manager of Marketing, Alliances & Strategy for HP Services Asia-Pacific.

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