|When selecting new workstations, making hardware component decisions
is only part of the task. You must also consider warranties, support,
upgrades, and training. While one vendor may offer complete systems at
a low price, if they have a limited warranty (or none at all) you may
end up losing money in the long run instead of saving it. So, once you've
narrowed down your selections of possible purchases to a handful of systems
and a few specific vendors, take the time to evaluate each vendor and
each product in light of their service and support offerings.
Warranties from the vendor are an essential part of purchasing any new
computer system. A warranty guarantees that if the system's hardware components
fail within the first six months, year, or more, the vendor will replace
it at little or no cost to you. Many vendors offer extended warranties
or even on-site and 24-hour replacement warranty upgrades. Do not overlook
the value of a warranty. If only one out of every 10 systems you ever
purchase requires you to take advantage of the benefits of a warranty,
it will more than pay for itself. If your organization lacks sufficient
internal technical support staff with the ability and time to troubleshoot,
repair, replace, or upgrade hardware components, purchasing extended warranties
is a wise decision.
Note: The HP Care Pack program upgrades and extends
your warranty. You can even purchase a post-warranty Care Pack to ensure
that your key business systems are protected at all times. Visit the Care
Pack site link at right for more information.
Technical support provides invaluable help from a vendor when you need
troubleshooting, installation, configuration, etc. after the initial point
of sale. A reputable vendor will offer free technical support by phone
for several months after the initial purchase and give you the option
of purchasing additional technical support, including on-site visits,
to supplement the free support service.
Note: Some technical support may be included in the
warranty, so be sure to thoroughly read and understand the policies and
stance of the vendor in regards to keeping your system operational after
Be sure to evaluate the kind of technical support a vendor offers, both
for free and for a fee. Some offer Internet-only support, while others
have call centers or on-site representatives. Internet-only support isn't
a bad thing as long as it's well done. Visit the vendor's site and browse
their support tools to get an idea of what you'll have at your disposal.
Many technical support packages are based on the window within which the
vendor responds to your request for support and the type of support they
provide. To determine how much support you need, and how quickly, decide
how long any given workstation can be down before it starts to impact
your business, and whether you have the expertise internally to troubleshoot
most problems. If you can't afford the workstation to be down for more
than a few hours, you may want to invest in a more aggressive service
package. While you'll pay more up front, you will save money if the system
goes down. Alternately, if you can afford the system being down for a
day or so, save some money on your support package and put it toward a
faster processor or more RAM.
Training should always be evaluated in light of a new workstation purchase.
If the system is significantly different or improved from existing systems
in your organization, users may require training before they can employ
the features and capabilities of the new system appropriately and productively.
Some vendors offer training as part of the purchase. If vendor-supplied
training is not available, you may need to seek out third-party training
companies or develop in-house training.
As mentioned earlier, you should be concerned about software licensing.
It is all too easy to install software on new computer systems without
verifying that you have the legal ability to do so. You must have sufficient
licensing for each individual software product. This means that you must
have a user license for each individual installation of the software.
If you are unsure about the status of your software licenses (which includes
both applications and operating systems), do not install software until
after you have verified your license position or purchased additional