Seeking growth is a business constant for small and medium businesses (SMBs). However, the means to achieve this goal is changing. Today’s SMBs know that they need to put technology to work to help the achieve top business goals—such as attracting new customers, improving employee productivity and streamlining operations.
If you want your business to survive and thrive, you need to use technology improve the way you do things, and to create new and better ways of doing them.
Do Your Employees Have the Devices They Need to Help the Business Work Smarter?
But, if it’s been more than a couple of years since you’ve updated your employees’ PCs and laptops, the odds are high that these old devices may no longer be able to keep up with today’s always-on world—and may actually create a drag on your business.
If seems like it takes longer and longer for employees to boot up, get work done or watch training videos, it’s not your imagination. According to Moore s Law, computer power doubles every year. That means that four-year PCs are likely to be up to 200 percent less powerful than the latest generation. In fact, according to a recent J. Gold study, PCs that are five years old decrease employee productivity by 29%.
Of course, new PCs offer faster program loads and boot time, but they also provide you with up to 1.9 times better web performance versus a five-year old PC. * These performance improvements help employees to get more work done, more quickly and with less friction.
Beyond Performance—Benefits of Upgrading Your PCs
The performance benefits of upgrading are clear. But if you haven’t shopped for new PCs lately, you may be surprised to learn that today’s PCs offer many other new capabilities to help boost employee productivity and improve security.
- Productivity boosts with Windows 10. Sticking with old PCs means you can’t take advantage of new software that can give your business an edge. If your old PCs can’t run Windows 10, you’re missing out on great new productivity advancements to help get things done more easily and with fewer distractions. For instance, nearby sharing lets you share files and links with users on nearby PCs; and focus assist allows you to control the settings to specify when, what and who you want to get notifications and alarms from.
- Lighter, thinner, laptops. Today, almost all professionals spend time out of the office—on planes, trains, cabs and ride share services—making laptops an increasingly popular choice. Vendors including Dell, HP and Samsung and other manufacturers now offer ultra-portable laptops that weight in at under three pounds—lightening the load for road warriors. These laptops are also much thinner than their clunkier predecessors—many measure less than a half an inch in thickness. re less than a half-inch thick.
- Natural language capabilities. We’ve all become used to the convenience of voice commands and natural language processing (NLP) on our phones and in our homes. This year, several major PC makers launched Windows 10 hardware and Amazon Alexa support in addition to Microsoft Cortana, and it’s likely that going forward, most new devices will include this. Amazon launched Alexa for Business last year, and has developed over 25,000 Alexa skills for business users. It’s also building partnerships with business software vendors such as Salesforce, Concur, Ring Central and more ServiceNow who integrating Alexa for Business into their applications—so users can get more done, more easily.
- Longer battery life. Employees can get a lot done on their laptops when they’re out of the office. But limited battery life puts a damper on productivity. Laptop batteries can lose up to 80 percent capacity within two years. Meanwhile manufacturers have been working to extend battery life with larger batteries, new power management tools and technology to improve CPU and GPU efficiency. Some of the latest models offer 10 hours or more of battery life—getting employees through a full day of work before they need to be recharged.
- Improved security features. Many laptops now offer fingerprint readers and cameras with facial recognition, but PC makers are continually upping their security game. For instance, several new PCs eliminate the need to cover your webcam with a piece of tape, with hidden, spring-loaded cameras that you can pop open and close. Other new improvements include built-in privacy filters for your screen. For instance, HP’s offers the HP Sure View privacy screen as an option on several laptops—with the touch of a button, you can render your screen unreadable to snoopy people while you see your content clearly.
- Tailored form and function. Gone are the days of one-size fits all PCs and notebooks. Today, manufacturers offer rugged PCs that can take a beating on a construction site, such as Dell’s Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme, built to meet military standard requirements. Featuring a shock absorbent case, it’s also IP65 certified against dust, sand and water and can withstand extreme temperatures. Meanwhile, new workstations are now about the same size as regular PCs. They offer he power and performance required for rendering complex graphics, financial analysis and computations and digital content creation—without taking up too much space.
Finally, it may seem thrifty to hang on to old PCs instead of replacing them. But this strategy can actually hurt your bottom line. According to a recent study, businesses spend an average of $427 to $521 per PC on repair costs for machines that are four years old or older. Over time, these costs can add up to more than it would cost of a new PC—and take a big bite out of your operating budget.
Beyond the Obvious—Is it Time to Upgrade?
The most obvious signs that you need to upgrade your PCs and laptops center on performance and costs. Tell tale signs include:
- Crashes and/or slow performance.
- Inability to upgrade from old operating systems, such as Windows XP or Windows 7.
- Your systems are “no longer supported by the manufacturer, and/or are no longer under warranty.
- Repair and maintenance costs are mounting
But, there are some less obvious, but just as important reasons to upgrade—most of which focus on people and flexibility. Especially In the midst of a talent crunch, businesses that provide employees with modern, easy to use technology will have an easier time attracting and retaining talent. To achieve those top business goals—to grow the business, improve productivity and streamline operations—employers need to give employees the tools they need to do their best work–instead of struggling with outdated equipment that gets in the way of getting work done.
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Note: This post was created in collaboration with Intel. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Intel.
*- Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations, and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information visit www.intel.com/benchmarks. Performance results are based on testing as of October 2018 and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. See configuration disclosure for details. No product can be absolutely secure.
*- New System: Intel® CoreTM i5-8250U Processor, PL1=15W TDP, 4C8T, Turbo up to 3.4GHz, Memory: 8GB DDR4-2400, Storage: Intel 600p SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620, OS: Windows* 10
*- 5-Year-Old System: Intel® CoreTM i5-3317U Processor, PL1=15W TDP, 2C4T, Turbo up to 3.6GHz, on Dell* XPS 12, Memory: 8GB DDR3, Storage: SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000, OS: Windows* 10
* Work seamlessly across your cloud applications with up to 1.9x better web performance vs. your 5-year-old PC. As measured by WebXPRT* 2015 on Intel Reference Platform.
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