09/22/2016 07:27 EDT | Updated 09/22/2016 07:27 EDT

The Business Owner's Guide To Computer Shopping

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I am a small business owner and have several different computers and laptops. Upgrading or expanding my equipment is always in the back of my mind. Recently, I was fortunate enough to speak with Kelli Hodges, Global Marketing Manager, Dell Commercial Solutions. Kelli provided the top tips on what small business owners need to know before purchasing a computer or upgrading their equipment.

Define the role and select the right solution set for the job

As a small business, you have created roles within your organization. You should define and understand the work required of each role. This will enable you to select the most appropriate ecosystem for optimal employee productivity.

Knowing how employees will use their PCs determines whether performance, mobility, battery life or display quality is most important. A desk-bound engineer designing a next generation product will require more computing power than a traveling salesperson. Based on role-specific priorities, you will choose from a wide variety of devices, including notebooks, desktops, 2-in-1s or tablets.

The same process applies when choosing a processor - PCs containing entry-level processors will perform just fine for general office duties such as responding to emails, drafting documents and generating presentations. As the performance demands increase, so does the need for a higher end PC containing more advanced components.

Employees who use complex software programs such as graphic design, video editing and other compute-intensive applications will require higher end processors and graphics cards to ensure smooth performance. Upgrading to PCs containing sixth Gen Intel® Core™ processors will enable faster performance, lower energy consumption, 4k video editing and immersive graphics.

Keep docks and monitors in mind

Because modularity is becoming a crucial factor in the evolution of the workplace, you should consider the need for versatile and powerful docking systems. This can be especially important within small businesses, where resources are tight and IT equipment might be slim. The flexibility of docking systems allows employees to adapt to ever changing working scenarios by being mobile one day and desk-centric the next. A notebook combined with a dock that instantly connects to a monitor, keyboard and mouse will enhance productivity.

Provide options for user types based on device

Today, thin and light notebooks and 2-in-1s make being mobile and getting work done even easier. To realize the business benefits of a mobility strategy, small businesses should understand the work different employees are doing, where they are doing it and identify the best combination of devices to meet their needs. Needs vary based on the type of business, but most organizations prioritize PCs and smartphones as the two most critical tools for empowering a productive workforce.

Prioritize security

As a small business, security is a crucial element of your IT ecosystem. Windows 10 Pro delivers enterprise-grade security for organizations of all sizes and offers compelling tools to take advantage of the latest hardware innovation to combat cyber threats.

If a Windows 10 Pro device or USB drive is lost or stolen, BitLocker and BitLocker-to-Go put everything on lockdown so no one else can access systems or data. You can enable additional protection to do multiple tasks, such as remotely delete business data from lost, stolen, or former employees' personal devices without touching their personal information.

Understand the importance of manageability

Your business may be small today, but if growth is on the horizon, you may find yourself managing 50, 100 or even 1000 employees. Manually updating a few PCs may seem like a manageable task while your business is small, but will be a headache if it comes to manually updating hundreds of disparate devices.

I love all of these helpful tips about choosing the right computer and I will use them as I continue to expand my business!

Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to live life to the fullest. Let's have the very best 2016!

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