Indepth: Choosing the Right Maintenance Package


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Choosing the Right Maintenance PackageIt can be tempting in an economic downturn to cut costs any way a company can, including reducing IT maintenance costs. However, not looking after your IT equipment or having the right computer support package could prove to a be a costly mistake, if your systems went down and severely affected your business. Having to buy new equipment in a rush may be more expensive to your business than maintaining it properly.

There are different ways to maintain your IT systems. This article considers the different forms and helps you choose the most suitable.

There are three basic options;

  1. Do nothing
  2. Pay-as-you-go
  3. Maintenance

Do nothing

This is best suited to domestic users or small companies, i.e. those with less than 2 PCs or based at home. It works best with some computer knowledge as you will be on your own if anything goes wrong. There are companies that will provide support for this type of customer who charge by the hour.

Pay-as-you-go

This can seem like an attractive option as you only pay for what you use. There is a major downside though, as the computer support company never really gets to know your IT systems so cannot be proactive in advising you how to get the most out of it. They may fix the problem, but unless they really understand your business they can't advise on how you can get the most out of it or avoid the problem happening in the future.

You may also be reluctant to ask them for advice, in case it costs.

Maintenance

This is the best option for companies who are serious about their IT and depend on it for their business. It means that all IT and computer support issues can be resolved in one place by a company who understands your systems and who are available for advice any time you want it. Payment is normally pre-set in advance and paid for as part of a quarterly or monthly budget scheme.

The security and knowledge is good to have, but the downside is that the cost of future year's contracts can come as a shock, if you've had to use the services often. That's why it pays to make sure you follow the tips in Reducing your IT Equipment Costs and Reducing your Maintenance Costs.

Another shock can come from unknown extras, so make sure you know what's covered and what's not.

Final Advice
Think carefully about how important your IT systems are to you. If you're knowledgeable and your computer systems are simple, then it might not be something you have to worry about. But if you have more than 10 PCs or your IT is critical, then the security of a maintenance contract can help you get on with running your business.

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