At some point, every business needs new computer hardware. With the ever-changing technological landscape, this involved task takes time and foresight. But how do you know what specifications are suitable for each of your users' specific needs in your organization? What programs should they be using to be the most productive and efficient?
What if I told you that there's a resource that wants to help you find the proper computer equipment without any added stress while saving you time? Someone who would not only find the right equipment but also properly deploy it? It's not a fantasy. Your IT provider isn't just a helpdesk. They're also experts in procuring and setting up computer equipment for your office.
WEBIT Services has helped clients reach their IT goals for over 25 years. During that time, we built vendor relationships and procured the right equipment for their customers.
This article addresses the pros and cons of buying through an IT vendor. Of course, as an IT provider, WEBIT recommends that clients purchase hardware through providers. We feel that this choice offers clients value beyond the hardware: time and peace of mind. However, there can be disadvantages and we wanted to honestly present those as well. You know your company's needs, and we understand this is not a small decision. We hope this article can help you decide if IT provider procurement is right for you.
Pros: The benefits of buying hardware through your IT provider
When purchasing hardware through your provider, you will receive equipment that best suits your needs. Your IT provider will know what equipment you need by combining their expertise with your organization's IT roadmap (your current IT setup, future business goals, and how these two work together).
Your IT provider has the resources to quickly research which equipment is the best option for your environment and goals. There won't be any guesswork about which computer is best and what accessories are compatible.
Appropriate business software installed
Your IT provider will also ensure that all your computer's software and programs are business-grade, which is incredibly important for functionality.
When purchased through a retail store, consumer-grade computers are equipped with programs like Windows Home or Microsoft Home Suite. While these are wonderful for personal use, these programs present issues in a corporate environment. For instance, Windows Home will not allow users to access business networks, so shared office drives will be inaccessible on that device.
Instead, companies will want hardware with business-grade software like Windows Pro or Microsoft 365 that will help organizations meet their business and IT goals. This allows for optimal functionality, security, and accessibility for your organization.
Fully functional hardware
Imagine opening your new computer and finding it damaged. At home, this would be disappointing. At this office, damaged equipment slows onboarding and productivity, creating additional stress and taking time from other tasks.
However, when purchasing through your IT provider, you're guaranteed to only receive fully functional hardware. Before a single piece of hardware arrives at your door, your IT provider will examine it for defects. If a part is damaged, the IT provider will contact the vendor for replacements, saving their clients time and frustration.
"Plug and play" ready hardware
In addition to testing and examining each machine for functionality, your IT provider will also install all the software you require. They can even add all the office drives, links, and accessibility needed for each computer and device.
Once you receive the new hardware, it will be ready to use as soon as it is turned on.
Cons: The potential disadvantages of buying hardware through your IT provider
The main potential disadvantage is summed up very simply: cost.
Buying through your IT Provider can be more expensive than going to an electronic store and picking out a laptop. The cost of the time, effort, and tools used to research and purchase hardware is typically built into the mark-up on the equipment sales price. Depending on how you look at the value of your own time, this can either be viewed as an added cost (Con) or potential time saver (Pro)
If you purchase hardware directly through a retail vendor, there typically is no service fee. However, it would take more time to determine the proper specifications and applications for your new equipment. In addition, possible damages or warranty returns also add time to the process
In the end, you would have to decide if your IT provider's services are worth the potential difference in price when acquiring it directly.
Depending on your IT provider and their resources, you may find customization options more limited, particularly if your organization uses specialized software or hardware like CAD. Some IT providers are more limited in the equipment options they can offer.
Many - but not all - IT providers encourage streamlining through standardized equipment. If this does not work for your organization, speak with your IT provider. It may be that they can and will do the customizations that you need. If not, the provider or their procurement service may not be a fit for your organization.
Is purchasing hardware through your IT provider right for you?
To summarize, purchasing hardware through your IT provider has several benefits. IT providers will:
- Assess and understand your current IT systems and recommend the right hardware.
- Properly configure and deploy new systems that meet your organization's needs.
- Examine new hardware and ensure the product has no defects
- Deliver a great out-of-the-box experience for the end user.
We've done our best to provide an honest breakdown of the pros and cons of buying software from an IT service provider.
Essentially, IT providers offer services to help save their clients time and frustration.
So how do you know if purchasing hardware through your provider is right for you? If you want to save time and frustration and have established an IT budget, purchasing through your provider could be a good fit for your organization. On the other hand, this service may not meet your needs if the value of your time isn't in line with your budget.
If you'd like to learn more about hardware procurement and receive an estimate, please contact your IT provider to learn more.
If you would like to learn about what happens after your equipment is delivered, we recommend our article on technology deployment services.
If you don't have an IT department and are interested in an IT provider and their procurement services, you can reach out to our team of specialists here.