Why Business Technology Equipment REALLY Costs so Much

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It happens very frequently. We give a client a new estimate for a server change-out or workstation refresh and their eyebrows go up. They wonder – why exactly am I paying $700-$1000 for a workstation when I can walk into Best Buy and purchase a computer that will run the same applications for $399? Business class technology equipment, including workstations, routers and firewalls, costs more for a reason. Here are the reasons behind the cost of business-class technology equipment that might help you understand the reason for the expense.

  1. Better quality.
    Business-class workstations and servers are built to last longer and work harder. A computer at Best Buy is built for Windows Home edition and isn’t built to last like commercial-grade equipment. You’ll never find manufacturer warranties that extend beyond a year, and that’s by design. Consumer equipment doesn’t last a long as business-class equipment.
  1. You’re paying for business licensing.
    When you purchase business-class workstations and servers, you’re also paying for the business licensing that allows that piece of equipment to connect to a business domain or server and participate in a business network. A computer purchased at Best Buy or another computer store typically cannot be connected to a business network, which means it can’t participate in managed updates or antivirus and they’ll all have to be done at the workstation level, which is very risky and cumbersome. Business class workstations can participate in business networks and easily be restarted and managed through the network by your network administrator or managed services provider.
  1. You get more warranty time.
    For the reasons explained above, you don’t get as long of a warranty period with consumer equipment – because of the quality of the hardware. With commercial grade workstations you’re typically getting 3-5 year warranties. Your computers should always be in warranty, since you should be refreshing them every 3 to 5 years to keep your users productive and you want to make sure that if something goes wrong with the equipment it is covered by the manufacturer.
  1. You get upgraded warranty support
    If you happen to catch an issue with your hardware in the 1 year that you own your Best Buy computer, you’ll likely wait on the phone with support, have to troubleshoot yourself and ship the equipment or take it into Best Buy yourself to have it exchanged. When you purchase commercial grade business workstations you get upgraded warranty support that comes with next-business-day onsite assistance.

What are you really paying for when you decide to choose the inexpensive route? There are always hidden costs. There’s a value to every service and piece of equipment that you purchase. Make sure that you’re maximizing yours and have a true understanding of where you’re losing or gaining that value. Purchasing business class equipment as a business isn’t an option. You owe it to your customers and employees to have high quality equipment that will help them to be productive and deliver the experience that they’re expecting when interacting with your business. Never forget that you get what you pay for. Invest your technology budget wisely from the start.