The New Computer Age and the One Man Business
So, here’s the critical question – ‘Can I really run the whole of my business just using a budget tablet computer, a mobile WiFi (MiFi) router, a smartphone and a printer/scanner?’
Let’s face it reliable tablet devices can cost as little as £70 and printer/scanners can be had for as little as £40. That’s a low overhead and if you can get away with minimising expenditure to that level why doesn’t everyone jump on the bandwagon?
In fact that does appear to be the trend, -
‘Windows-based PCs have fallen from a 95% market share a decade ago to 90% today, according to Morningstar. That's thanks to the rise of mobile devices and software from competitors like Apple (AAPL, Tech30) and Google (GOOGL, Tech30).’ - http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/21/technology/microsoft-earnings/index.html
Computer experts and advisors will caution that any start-up business should factor in capacity for expansion, redundancy to cover equipment failure and a whole host of additional features, all of which add costs. And cost, as we know, have a habit of mounting up.
It’s that well intentioned cautionary advice that holds many back from taking full advantage of the latest in computerisation and making huge savings into the bargain.
What we can do here is examine a number of scenarios, comparing the latest innovations in business computing to the older more expensive options.
One Man Business Scenario.
Start by considering a one-man business, say a plumber, electrician or builder. This type of business is the most numerous world-wide, and is probably the one that needs to hold down costs more than any other.
In this scenario the businessman has a home or office based computer, on which is stored all of his business data. Customer names, telephone numbers, orders, invoices, bank details and accounts. For security this computer will be backed up to either the cloud or an external hard drive. The problems with this is that time must be made available during or at the end of the working day to update the computer. In addition, while on site or on the road there is no access to stored data so business decisions are difficult to make.
The alternative utilises cloud storage (Office 365 E3), a budget Windows 10 tablet (Linx), an Osprey MiFi unit and a budget smartphone (Lumia 535).
This compares well with the purchase of one Office 2016 licence delivering a saving of up to £150 per year
Offering a substantial saving over the purchase of a PC.
These are the statistics, and they indicate a substantial saving over traditional computer provision. However, it doesn’t end there. First and foremost, there is the convenience of having access to all business data wherever and whenever the need arises. Access can be provided either via the tablet or the smartphone. This means –
The great thing about O365 cloud storage is that the data becomes available on all registered devices immediately it is saved on any one device.
The result is a net cash saving, increased working day productivity and, as a bonus, more free time
Security is also enhanced as data can be stored both on the device(s)and in the cloud. Nothing is lost in the event of loss or damage to any local device. Mobile Device Management can be used to ensure that data on lost or stolen devices cannot be accessed by anyone unauthorized
The Office 365 trend -
First-quarter 2015: Consumer base reached 12.4 million.
First-quarter 2016: Sales of consumer products and cloud services climbed 6% and subscriber base grew to 22.2 million.
Office continues to be a steady driver of sales for Microsoft. In the past three months, Microsoft has benefited from growth in subscribers and higher sales for each Office 365 license.’ - http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/21/technology/microsoft-earnings/index.html
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris A Watkins provides help and support to a small number of businesses in the field of automated workflow. This is especially relevant for organisations wishing to utilise the full power of SharePoint online in O365.