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Choosing things for your company computers, what programs, how much ram?


Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than not having adequate tools to do his job. When you consider the cost of labor compared to desktop or laptop computer equipment, the cost of computer equipment is much less than what you would pay an employee who runs the computer. A business is much better off spending enough money to make sure that the employee's time is being spent on valuable work, and not on waiting for the computer to load programs, crunch away on virtual memory because he is out of RAM, or not having the right software tools to adequately do his job. That would be like bending over a dollar to pick up a dime.

What kind of hardware should a business computer have?

Your business computers need enough memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) to run the software that your employees are likely to use. Most software has listed on the box what its minimum requirements are. A good rule of thumb is to take the minimum memory requirements and multiply it by four. The reason for this is because employees need to constantly shift between applications. An employee wants to be able to load all the applications that he is likely to use at one time. This will probably be at least four applications at once, and maybe more. If your company computers are using Microsoft Windows, remember that Windows itself has a hefty memory requirement. As software version numbers get higher, so do memory requirements. This is because software developers know that memory is getting cheaper, and they take advantage of that fact. For a business computer, you should plan on anywhere from ½ a gigabyte of RAM (512 KB), to 1 gigabyte of RAM. If you are running Windows Vista, you may want to plan on more than that.

Memory is the most important hardware consideration for a business computer. Having enough memory means the computer will run fast. The processor speed is also important to a lesser degree. Just make sure you are not having your employees use a computer that is too old and you will be fine.

What kind of software should you have on your business computers?

Email has revolutionized that way office and field employees do business. The features included in software programs such as Outlook or GroupWise is an important part of any company's balanced software diet. Meetings and conference rooms are scheduled with this tool. Task lists, high priority messages, file attachments, corporate broadcast messages, alarm systems, calendars and many other features are a vital part of your company's day to day operations. It's hard to imagine how anything got done before these tools were widely used.

Every employee who is skilled at using a computer needs an office suite such as Microsoft Office which contains spreadsheet, word processing, presentation and database software. These are the basic building blocks of business computing for most employees. Every employee needs to be able do the basics when it comes to these four applications. In fact, in the hands of a skilled employee, these programs would allow someone to do just about anything under the sun.

Depending on the type of business, there is always specialized and customized software made for a specific application. These are usually database applications built by an Information Technology professional that works for your company, or who has been contracted by your company to build such a database application. In this case, the database will probably be running on a server. Your business computers need to have the necessary client or browser needed in order to run these applications.

Much of the guesswork on what you need for your business computers has been taken out. You need a fast computer with lots of memory, a good email program, and a basic suite of business software.

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