Small business owners have to watch their budgets closely. When it comes to your business' bottom line, however, trying to squeeze every bit of life out of equipment isn't always a smart move. While using old computers until they wear out may seem like a wise way to save, it could cost you money, productivity, and customers in the long run.1
Current technology trends for small businesses call for powerful PCs, which make regular updates of your computer hardware a must. Here's how five of the top technology trends predicted for 2019 could affect your company's approach to computer hardware.
Trend 1: Cloud Computing
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are already using cloud computing, according to a Gartner survey, while 33% are either planning on implementing the technology or evaluating how it could best be used.2
Ease and efficiency are common benefits of cloud computing for small companies, but they aren't the only ones. By helping to reduce the costs associated with the technology needed to store and maintain your own data, such as servers and backup devices, cloud computing can help you maximize your technology budget for upgrading your PCs.
Trend 2: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Small businesses are starting to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate repetitive, labor-intensive tasks. From chatbots that answer customer service questions to marketing automation software that holds email "conversations" with clients, AI-powered apps may be used to help small businesses improve the customer experience, automate their processes, and analyze vast amounts of data for better and faster decision-making.
Making the most of these advanced business applications requires high-performance PCs, especially if your employees frequently run multiple applications at once. Older PCs can slow app performance and make your small business employees as much as 29% less productive.3 In fact, each outdated PC your business uses can cost you as up to $17,000 per year in lost productivity.4
Trend 3: Mobility
Do you or your employees ever work outside the office? Thanks to increasingly sophisticated mobile devices and cloud computing, it's now possible for your team to use business applications, access computer files, and collaborate with each other no matter where they are.
Whether your mobile employees work from home, on the road, or at customer job sites, older mobile devices with shorter battery life can really slow them down. If you update to more powerful PCs that offer more power for today's mobile user, your mobile employees will be ready to work more efficiently.
Trend 4: Cyber Security
In a 2018 survey by global insurance company Hiscox, 44% of small businesses reported suffering at least one cyberattack in the past 12 months; 52% of those businesses had been attacked more than once.5 Small businesses in the study estimated that the average cost of cyber incidents in the past 12 months was $34,604. Protecting your company computers, your business data, and your customers' data should be a top priority for 2019.
New PCs that combine Intel® technology with Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows* 10, have additional security features to help provide you some peace of mind. Their built-in security features offer enhanced protection so that you can keep your focus on growing your business.
Trend 5: The End of Support for Windows* 7
After January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running Windows* 7. If you and your employees have not yet updated to Windows* 10, it's a good idea to update to do so as soon as possible.
But running Windows* 10 on an older PC may not give you all of the productivity benefits and security features you can get on a newer device. So, if you decide to upgrade to a new PC, look for the speed and security of the latest Intel® Core™ processor.
Is It Time for an Upgrade?
Keeping pace with 2019's top technology trends may require buying new software or upgrading the apps you currently use. To maximize ROI from your software investment, it's a good idea to make sure your computer hardware exceeds the software vendor's recommended system requirements, which typically reflect the bare minimum needed to run the software. Consider choosing hardware that's at least 50% more powerful than the system requirements to keep your new software running efficiently well into the future.
Whether or not you're planning major software upgrades, watch for these warning signs that your business may need a hardware upgrade soon:
- Frequent computer crashes or slow performance
- System no longer supported by the manufacturer
- Inactive warranty
- Difficulty finding replacement parts
Add up the costs of repairing and maintaining your existing PCs, and you may be surprised at just how much they're costing you.
Today's technology trends are helping to raise the bar for small business computing. Most customers are starting to expect real-time responsiveness, reliable security, and lightning speed. Investing in new PCs that have more powerful capabilities can help your business deliver these objectives and more.