Top 5 Considerations Overlooked by Community Banks When Ordering New PCs
Several factors are often overlooked when banks order new PCs or laptops. It can be extremely aggravating to receive your hardware order only to find that a missed detail makes it difficult or even impossible to deploy the machine as intended. Such oversights can lead to long delays in your project timelines, and force you to deal with the hassles and added expense of the return process. You want to get your hardware order right on the first try. To help avoid some of the more frequently missed details, here is a list of five of the most commonly overlooked details by banks and credit unions that should be considered before purchasing new hardware:
Compatibility with existing hardware and peripherals
If you are planning to replace an older machine and will need to work with existing peripherals such as scanners, monitors or printers, then it is important to verify that the new system has the necessary ports available to seamlessly connect those devices. Don’t assume that your new hardware will have all of the same hardware connections as your old system. As computer hardware technology advances, the ports and connections that interlink technology components evolve. Ports that were considered standard fare in previous years may have been replaced by new technology, or may have been eliminated from standard builds altogether. For instance, installing teller stations that cannot connect to existing serial validator printers may lead to extra expense and costly downtime for your employees.
Similarly, you should plan ahead if you want to implement a new feature during a hardware upgrade. If you have specific needs such as dual monitors or wireless connectivity for a desktop, then make certain the computer can support the necessary feature right out of the box. Serial ports, VGA/DVI ports, Display Ports, HDMI ports, wireless cards and the number of available USB ports should all be considered before placing your order.
Compatibility with existing banking software
Another commonly overlooked aspect of planning a PC purchase is whether or not the new system will be compatible with the software applications your bank is currently using. While this is becoming less of an issue as time passes, situations still arise where programs are incompatible with more recent operating systems. In other situations the software manufacturer may require an upgrade to support the modern operating system, sometimes requiring your institution to incur unforeseen costs. Even if the programs do run fine on the newer hardware and operating system, manufacturers may not provide full support for their product on computers running on an operating system they have not officially cleared.
What software will you need?
Understanding what software will be required for the user to perform their role is essential to avoiding irritating delays and unnecessary expenses. If a second order has to be placed after the hardware is received, not only are you forced to wait on processing and shipping, but ordering this way will likely cost more money than placing the order with all the correct software initially. A great example is Adobe Acrobat. The standard version will add roughly $70 to the cost of a computer; however, if purchased after the fact, the cost rises to nearly $300. Proper planning of your software needs can save both time and money.
What is the optimal setup for the workspace?
Consider the physical space these systems will occupy. Is there enough room? If you plan on adding larger monitors or moving to a dual monitor setup, then be sure to ask, will the area accommodate that? Will the user be able to operate the scanner or reach the validator printer in that space? Would a touch screen work better in that space? Full size desktops, laptops, small form factors, all-in-ones and even tablets all make up the dizzying array of options available today to solve your space-function conundrum.
What is my plan for a PC failure?
Do you have spare systems available for emergencies or new hires? If the answer is no, then consider the cost of having an employee out of action for a few days due to failed equipment versus the cost of purchasing an extra system or two proactively. Having spare equipment allows you to be flexible when responding to unexpected issues. In the event of a newly hired employee, you will already have the equipment on hand and you can concentrate on merely resupplying your stock of equipment. This is even more effective if identical equipment is used for multiple purposes throughout the bank (e.g., workstation models that fit both under desks and on the teller line).
With all of these hardware advances, software choices and requirements from your core banking software provider and other banking software vendors, planning for hardware upgrades has become more involved than ever. If you find all of these choices and considerations more than a little confusing, or simply do not have the time to deal with the hassle, then consider employing a hardware provider experienced in both banking and technology. The right partner will help you navigate the sea of available options to find the systems and technology to answer your institution’s current needs and prepare you for future growth.