Procurement of computer hardware and software

procurement-of-computer-hardware-and-software

We often get asked ‘Do you do procurement of new computer hardware and software?’ Yes we do!

Today, computers are an integral part of any business. They are used by Melbourne businesses in small and large to perform many functions for employees. Computers may be used to send an email, store information about customers, or even create products that can be sold. However, not everyone has the know-how to purchase new computers for their company. The following guide outlines the basics of purchasing new computer hardware for a business.

Preparation:

Before purchasing any computer equipment, it is important to take several things into consideration.

  • What do you need the computers to accomplish?
  • Are they going to be used in an office setting, or will they be out in the field?
  • How much storage space do you need and how much speed is needed for your programs?
  • Will you use the same computer to create products that will be sold?

Once these questions have been answered, a general idea can be formed about what type of computers are necessary and what kind of budget needs to be set aside for their purchase.

Types of Computer Hardware:

Desktop Computers

A desktop computer has a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse connected to the computer all together on one unit. This can be moved from place to place on a desk or table depending on where it is being used. A laptop computer is portable, allowing it to be moved from place to place easily. However, unlike a desktop computer, it does not come with a monitor and its mouse and keyboard need to be purchased separately

The most important thing in purchasing any kind of computer hardware for personal use is safety. Make sure there are no small parts that could break off and become choking hazards for children under the age of six years old.

new-desktop

Laptops

These types of computers can be more expensive than desktops because they do not come with monitors or keyboards. It is important to know how powerful the processor and ram are for this type of computer before purchasing it. A laptop needs a reliable power supply because life could become difficult if its battery stops working

Other types of computer hardware:

  1. Input devices (such as keyboards),
  2. Output devices (such as monitors), and
  3. Storage devices (internal hard drives & external hard drives).
  4. Monitor(s) – especially for dual monitor setups.

Internally, every computer looks basically the same! Components include a motherboard which contains a CPU chip surrounded by a heat sink and fan, memory, internal and external drives (optical disk drives), controllers for input devices (such as a keyboard or mouse), and the power supply unit which takes standard AC power from your home and converts it to DC power provided by your computer’s motherboard.

Purchasing considerations

Online buying has greatly increased in popularity in recent years due largely to increasing bandwidth and better customer service.

Computer software

There are really just two main categories of computer software that will be installed on your new computer – Operating Systems, Applications and System Software.

Operating Systems

The operating system includes the control center for your PC – it tells each of the parts what to do. As you can imagine, this is an important piece of the puzzle. Without it, your computer will not startup. Operating systems are complex programs that can be difficult to install and use While many people use the operating system included with their computer (Microsoft Windows for PCs manufactured by brands other than Apple), others choose to switch to Linux or Apple’s Mac OS.

Applications

Software applications perform all kinds of functions on your PC including word processing, games, web browsing and so much more! Applications need to be installed separately but once they are in place they allow you to do things like edit photos or create a family budget when you want. You can find free software online that does just about anything! Software tends to fall into two categories: Application Software and System Software. Application software refers to any program that performs a function for the user allowing them to do something like edit photos or communicate with friends.

System Software

System software is used by computer technicians rather than regular users, but all PC users need it in order to interact with their operating system. System software manages hardware resources on your PC including RAM allocation, disk management, and monitoring processes running on your computer.

Buying computer software is much easier than hardware because most software comes with a guarantee and return policy so you only need to worry about whether or not it’s going to work with your computer. There are a couple of online sites that sell used software. there is also some new software on the market that can be purchased at retail stores for an affordable price, however, it may have been on the shelf for a while. The only thing you have to potentially worry about when shopping for software is that some companies do offer their software directly over the internet after doing research it seems to me that most retailers claim they ship this fast but I notice that nearly all say 2-3 days which in my opinion is way too long if you need the product yesterday.

The first step in procurement is determining your needs

After determining your needs, you can begin writing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to be sent out to vendors. The RFP lists what products are needed, how many of each product are needed, who is responsible for installation & maintenance of the purchased software packages, etc. The RFP also includes details about prices so that potential vendors can determine if they can even provide the items required at a price that is acceptable to your organization. The vendor then creates an offer that answers all of the questions in the RFP. This offer could include discounts for larger quantities or faster delivery dates, which will help keep down your overall procurement costs. After reviewing offers from several different vendors, you narrow it down to two or three companies that seem like they can provide the best match for your needs.

Avoid mistakes

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in any procurement process is not following this step-by-step outline. If you set out to purchase computer hardware and software without first creating an RFP, then it’s unlikely anyone will be able to provide exactly what you need. Any vendor that receives an unexpected email or phone call asking them if they sell a particular product will simply say no, because these types of requests are way outside the norm for how business is conducted. Even worse would be making assumptions about things you need, rather than actually determining these requirements through research. Without having everything spelled out clearly regarding what exactly it is you want, neither a vendor nor a prospective customer can possibly provide what you’re looking for, and this is one of the main reasons why it’s so important that you determine your needs.

Budget and size of the company

A big part of determining your needs is researching the various types of computer hardware and software that would be most beneficial to you, before setting out to find what fits best into your budget.

Procurement of computer hardware and software also involves determining your needs which should include budget, size of the company, number of employees, and workstations. Thus you can decide what kind of a machine or program you need according to the daily work conditions that every department has to deal with. Even though there are programs that allow user-friendly installation, configuration, and results presentation, it’s still very important for users who have some technical skills to get involved from the early stages. This will help them better understand the nature of their job and make it easier for them when they come across problems.

Smaller companies

These all play a role not only in choosing what computer should be purchased, but which software programs should be considered as well. A small company with fewer than 10 employees might choose to buy pre-configured systems from major suppliers like HP, Dell, or Lenovo rather than building their own systems because these companies already know how to configure the computer for your specific needs.

major-pc-brands

Larger companies

A company with a large number of employees or one that sells or manufactures computers will have a completely different set of requirements than the small operation just mentioned. The cost to support each user can be reduced by including features like voicemail, messaging, data backup, and integration with existing systems into the purchase agreement even though most people don’t use them initially.

Refurbished options instead of procuring new hardware and software

When budget is an issue, you can choose used equipment from sources like Dell Outlet, HP outlet, Apple refurbished store,  or Lenovo manufacture refurbished items.  These companies take returned items and make them available at significant discounts compared to new products. Businesses who re-sell this equipment are required to ensure that it is tested sufficiently to meet specifications.

Warranty

To verify the warranty coverage, most companies will also make one or more physical checks of the equipment before they ship. You can call their support department for status on warranties and returns if you are concerned about what you are getting before you pull the trigger.

Apple refurbished store is a professional OEM-certified technicians who completely restored your Mac,  a little more expensive than others but it includes Apple Care.

Repairs

Another good option is to have an item repaired by someone else then buy that item with a discount. It isn’t as much fun as buying new products, but with some hard work and persistence, you can get what you want at a lower price. For example, there are many Mac owners who like to tinker with their gadgets. They buy them used, take them apart, clean them up, and put them back together again. Completely repaired Macs are lower price than new ones.

Fixed your equipment is unlikely to have a warranty on it but you can negotiate for one from the seller if you feel unhappy with the purchase.

Sellers may not accept returns or charge a restocking fee if you change your mind afterward so do some research before buying second-hand goods. Even reputable sellers may try to sell you an item that is not as described, damaged, defective or perhaps they just don’t want to bother taking it back from you.

Final note

Protect yourself when buying secondhand by performing a few simple checks before handing over your money however so take a moment or two before jumping into purchasing stuff online!

If you are in Melbourne, you will be glad to know that our technicians discounted computer setup on procuring hardware or software.