Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cost versus value – who wins?

By Laura Knox, inside sales team leader, DataSource Mobility

In today’s ever challenging economy it’s no surprise that we see technology customers focusing more and more on cost ... and while I am all about getting a bargain and finding the right solution at the right price for my clients, I often find myself explaining that cost does not always equal value.

Much more goes into the concept of value than the upfront purchase price of any solution. You have to think about potential downtime if the equipment breaks, repair costs, replacement if your workers refuse to use the machine because of poor performance, replacement cost if a device fails, upgraded warranty fees (most low cost solutions come with little or no warranty coverage) and the time any IT staff must spend to keep the devices working properly. So, if we are looking at overall value rather than upfront value the emphasis moves from simply finding something cheap to finding something that is high quality.

Now, most people with a healthy knowledge of IT matters already understand that inferior parts and inferior quality plus lack of service are what equal the attractively low price point of generic industry devices – and they are very anxious not to get stuck trying to support devices that will need constant attention and repair - but try explaining this to a person without IT experience who is tasked with finding a top quality solution at a “bargain bin” price and things get tricky.

So, for those of us who are not IT aficionados but need to make smart decisions for the companies we own or are employed by, the question becomes; how do I tell a high quality device from all the other options? Below is a list of questions that I strongly encourage these folks to ask before purchasing any equipment from a potential vendor.

$ vs. ROI vs. TCO

1) What is it made out of?

2) What type of service and support is included in the cost being quoted (and what will you have to pay extra for)?

3) What is the typical lifespan of the device?

4) Are parts and labor outsourced or does the manufacturer actually make the product?

5) Has it passed any level of rugged certification?

6) What is the typical failure rate for the device?

What do you think?

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