So, when do you think it's time to upgrade? Do you even know what needs to be
Upgrading your networking equipment is pivotal to your business' growth. It's also a strategic process. You don't want to commit to equipment that's more than you need, nor less than you can use. Also, the budget has to be kept low. Management has already gone through these topics, concluding that your group is doing just fine. So, how can you make the case to managers that purchasing new equipment will not only increase production and profits, but employee retention and quality, while keeping down costs? Well, you can always go used.
Image courtesy: David Clow, Flickr.com
Refurbished networking equipment is one of the more popular ways to upgrade to better and more efficient equipment without killing your budget, especially for small businesses. Sales of refurbished or used equipment is a robust market and most large companies sell refurbished versions of their equipment at a discount. These larger companies have the resources to also put equipment back under warranty and update the units with the most current software packages and add-ons. Third party vendors also go even deeper into the discounts but the level of IT support may not be there.
So, how does one go about the convincing management to go used?
- Have you done your homework? Figure out why you need the upgrades, look at the alternatives to upgrades and argue then down. Make sure your evaluation criteria is clear and sound and that you address a specific business or IT related objective that this proposed upgrade will meet.
- What will happen to the business if this upgrade is not performed? Talk about whether this answer a mandatory question or a discretionary one. You want to make sure the upgrade has value.
- Have you compared alternative solutions including competitive proposals? Talk about how refurbished can be a cost and time saver. Involve non-IT people, such as finance and legal, to assit in the acquisition, especially if going with used technology requires a request for quote (RFQ), a request for information (RFI) or a request for proposal (RFP).
- How will you utilize or dispose of the old technology? Have a recycling or removal plan in place and relate that to the installation and maintenance plan for the newer equipment.
- What are the dependencies that need to be resolved to remove it? Is the equipment already in place in the business' infrastructure to support newer networking equipment? And, make sure that there is the right amount of support to handle refurbished equipment, rather than totally new equipment.
- Are there any hidden charges or costs to consider (see separate list below) with regard to refurbished? There are always added costs for going used, due to the fact that refurbished equipment is older and may not have the latest and greatest of upgrades. Outline how these differences will not affect productivity, or, at least, have a solution in place, should certain costs be unavoidable.
- Is now the best time to be buying? If you wait, you could get a better deal, perhaps on newer equipment. The impact of the upgrade must be specified and emphasized, especially if you're considering refurbished because time is a factor. You'll want to upgrade as much as possible as soon as possible. Refurbished makes that need a realistic one.
- Have you negotiated the most effective deal (not necessarily the cheapest) possible that includes all associated costs? The last thing that the managers want to hear is that they're going to have to shell out more money to get the best possible technology, especially if it's refurbished equipment. Come to the meeting with a firm quote from a reliable vendor. Discuss whether the equipment is for sale or for lease. Make sure associated costs include installation, IT support, upgrades, equipment removal (if necessary), power output/input, and loss of time or work.
You may only have one chance to sell your upgrade to management so make it count. Talk about the non-financial benefits. Talk about what to expect or anticipate for the future. Show that you are proactively monitoring and managing resources for the business. Most benefits to refurbished are quite evident and can be helpful in making a case:
- If you can get the equipment from a reputable company with a solid history of quality and performance, it helps build your business' reliability factor. You don't want to buy refurbished equipment from a defunct company with a bad reputation. Make sure your purchase has the source company's reputation for reliability and quality well in hand.
- The refurbished equipment has the innate benefit of being built to a higher standard of specifications. Having a equipment from a top company is one thing, but knowing it can support a higher standard of workload and performance is a significant selling point.
- Most refurbished equipment from marketable companies have a firm warranty in place to make sure the support is also top quality. The burden is on the host corporation, as well. They wouldn't do well to see that their equipment, refurbished or not, fails to perform. A reliable warranty can ensure that even refurbished tech will last for as long as is needed
- Upgrades are much simpler. If your budget is a factor and refurbished is your best bet, then there's some comfort in knowing that when the time is right to upgrade to a full-bodied, more comprehensive networking suite, you'll already have a reliable system in place to adequately transition from the refurbished model to the more current models, keeping costs down, making installation easier and simplifying the transition process with regard to your customers' information, as well as, your employee training process.