Businesses often succeed or fail on their ability to make smart budgetary decisions, so every investment is one that merits real concern. It is only natural that some companies would seek to cut corners when considering technology. This may be an understandable mistake, but it is a mistake none the less. Enterprise technology iterates so quickly that going cheap is a surefire way to stay behind. But it goes beyond that, as cheap technology poses real risks to the company’s stability and bottom line. In this way, cheap technology is actually not that cheap, and traps the company in a spot from which there is no affordable escape.
That may sound a bit dramatic but consider the essential nature of data to an enterprise. Data is the lifeblood that keeps business machinery going. And technology is what interfaces with and utilizes that data at every level. It’s a simple observation, then. If the company’s technology is behind the curve, then its ability to maximize its data will also be shoddy.
Why Cutting Corners isn’t the Right Option When Adding Technology
When a business adds technology, it isn’t just about adding equipment. It’s also about adding processes and a partnership with a reputable A/V integrator. Decisions makers should consider three questions when adding technology and working with an A/V integrator.
- Will the technology fulfill the company’s needs?
- Will the technology add processes that company personnel will tolerate and properly learn?
- Will the A/V integrator provide long term support for the new technology?
An effective A/V solution must answer those questions to satisfaction before it should be considered. Why? Here’s what can go awry with cheap technology:
1. Reduced reliability and lifespan – Cheap technology is often old technology. By now, the idea that a company must always be on the cutting edge is played out, but there is wisdom in that. Consider, for example, the difference between cheap and commercial-grade displays.
Digital signage is an important trend for commercial entities. Digital signage allows companies to quickly spread information to customers, with little cost involved. However, businesses often skimp when purchasing the display hardware, opting for residential displays instead of commercial displays, primarily for cost reasons. And unscrupulous equipment sellers might try to lure in clients with promises of saving them money with subpar equipment.
The problem here is that residential displays come with smaller heat sinks and no image burn protection, so even though the display looks nice at first, after months of continuous use, the equipment will need to be replaced, likely after failing entirely. Commercial displays, though more expensive, are built with heavy duty heat sinks, onboard fans and image burn protection. As a result, they can operate for years with no loss of reliability.
2. Reduced functionality – Cheaper tech doesn’t always mean old technology, though. Sometimes, it means a smaller scale option. The technology might function perfectly in the right setting but isn’t enough for the desired solution. Video conferencing technology is a perfect example on this point.
Polycom’s video conferencing products are the best in the industry and come in several options, depending on how many people are expected to use the technology, among other things. A room conferencing solution works extremely well for smaller teams, providing excellent image and audio quality, as well as compatibility with numerous software options. However, if the company intends on joining large teams or entire training rooms together, a room solution isn’t enough. Polycom has those solutions as well, including immersive options that blend in with the room’s architecture and furniture. Of course, these options cost more, but it’s the kind of investment a business will need to make if it wants to scale up its video conferencing options and stay competitive.
3. Poor security – This is a serious issue that every business must regard with great caution. The world is producing more data than ever, and every day there’s another 2.5 quintillion bytes to add to the pool. Much of that data is dedicated to enterprise tasks, and it requires tight protection.
The addition of cloud computing and bring-your-own-device to enterprise processes has complicated security matters further, with some people linking several personal devices to their company’s network every day.
Cheap technology, and the lax processes that come with it, brings a security hole to the network. Perhaps it isn’t equipped with modern security features. Perhaps those features are just too difficult to access and manipulate for the company’s IT personnel. Whatever the reason, cheap solutions often bring cheap security, and the results can be devastating. Poor security can result in data breaches (and resulting liability), manpower costs, network instability, information leaks and embarrassing PR nightmares, among other issues.
4. Nonexistent support – The fourth and perhaps most overlooked component is support, as it ensures the technology continues delivering well after installation. As cheap technology is often packaged in poor overall solutions, companies usually have to put up with less responsive support, if it is available at all.
Poor support is a problem because any technology will experience the occasional fault. And cheap technology is going to fail often. Without someone on hand to deal with those faults, the options come down to paying a third party for repair services or replacing the technology. Both will prove to be even more costly in the long run.
Reputable A/V integrators don’t rely on cheap technology and pair their quality equipment and solutions with ongoing support. This is especially important for high priority equipment, as an integrator can offer 24/7/365 support, and respond in-person. Further, integrators offer frequent preventative maintenance services and inspect equipment, so potential failures are caught before they result in downtime. If a company prefers, it can have their integrator constantly monitor equipment performance in a effort to spot problems in real time.
The only good thing that comes with cutting corners is spending less up front. But given a little time, it will be clear why cheap solutions are rarely effective solutions. Poor security, poor reliability and poor support are all common issues with cheap technology, and the truth is, they aren’t cheap at all.