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How to Reduce Your Technology Costs

Current economic status is prompting us to find ways to reduce expenses. This article shows how to reduce your annual technology expenses without sacrificing any functionality, thus maintaining its full benefit. Although helpful as you plan your way through this downturn, this information provides a solid basis even when the economy is not a limiting force.

Technology expense is the sum of three components. First, (and this is usually overlooked when determining cost) is the time required to work with the technology: time to react to unplanned outages, duration of training, time to work through planned outages, and other operational activities. The second component is IT service. The third is hardware and software. Excessive technology expenses are caused by redundant purchasing, use of hardware and software which requires disproportionate IT service, and technology systems that require inordinate operator time.

Redundant purchasing is the practice of purchasing replacement equipment, usually due to either premature failure or replacing accessories that are not compatible with upgraded or replaced equipment. It is a misconception that IT products are useful for only a few years, and many companies take advantage of this belief by offering unreliable products which fail in a short time period. Opting for longer life products will decrease annual expenses, but not decrease accessibility to new technology. If you're looking at a laptop, look for features which help serviceability, ease component upgrades and replacements, and keep the system dust free and cool. Choosing "open" (non-proprietary) products will reduce the requirement to purchase new accessories if you upgrade or replace the host device. Avoiding companies such as Dell, Linksys, Apple, Gateway, D-Link, E-machines, and Sony, in favor of more reliable and "open" products, such as those by Samsung, Panasonic, Itronix, Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu, Canon, LG, and Epson, will immediately reduce your annual expenses.

Excessive IT service and operator time are addressed by combining the above with the following. First, be proactive. Reacting to issues costs more than proactively avoiding them; reaction cost is the sum of what would have been applied proactively, your time in working through the issue, and the IT service needed to correct the issue. Second, choose accessories that won't cause peripheral issues: i.e., accessories that require little to no software, so there is no chance that system stability will degrade. When choosing digital cameras and portable audio players, look for devices that support UMS, as these devices have no software requirement. Avoid audio players, such as those by Microsoft and Apple, which require the use of special software that degrades performance, has known security issues, and can cause conflicts. Instead, use UMS players, such as those by Cowon and Archos, since there is no chance of peripheral issues. Third, the operating system run by your computer affects dependability. A computer with GNU/Linux will decrease your IT service requirement to almost nothing and minimize software related downtime. Windows Vista and Mac OS X require the most service, resulting in the highest annual cost. If you use applications such as PaperPort, Bloomberg Terminal, or Creative Suite, Windows XP Pro or X64 offers the best balance between application accessibility and low service requirements.

With the unfortunate state of the economy, it is smart planning to take steps to avoid surprise expenses and reduce current expenses. Following this guide provides a method for conservation, without any functional deprivation.
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