StartClever for Start-ups
If you are starting a business, you are most likely going to have some IT needs, even if it is just for one computer. There are many consultants for start-ups and they will offer advice on IT as well, but few of them combine their advice with sourcing, training and set-up.
I have years of experience running an IT department for a midsized business, so I see things from that viewpoint. I have developed a “lean” mentality so that I can get projects off the ground in the quickest amount of time and for the lowest cost, without sacrificing reliability, performance or productivity.
For instance, did you know that you can get high spec 2nd user workstations at a fraction of the cost of new? Through my sources, I have years of experience running an office of over 100 workstations, all 2nd user. Because they are high spec, the performance is comparable and in some cases better than buying new. By operating a ‘redundant spare’ system, I covered the very occasional instances where a machine failure occurred, making up for expensive warranty purchases. In fact, in my experience these computers failed at just slightly above the rate of brand new machines. New machines also fail, and when they do you need to send them off to the manufacturer under most warranties, or wait for an on-site repair if you have the contract. Using my system, when there was a problem, I had a spare that could be deployed without waiting for a repair.
Of course if you prefer new computers I am able to analyse your needs, suggest the right specification, and use my extensive contacts to find the best price possible
Then there is software. You may buy a computer and it comes with the operating system. But applications such as word processing (i.e. MS Word) spread sheets etc. need to be purchased separately. I have a thorough understanding of most of the types of software you will need, from very basic to quite sophisticated accounting, inventory, and payroll software. I am also able to source completely free software that will meet your needs just as well as proprietary software, and will be compatible with them as well. As with hardware though, if your needs are better served by proprietary software then I am best placed to help you get the right applications at the best price.
If you are going to have more than one computer in an office setting then you will need a network, probably a file server, and back-up facilities. Setting this up requires expertise, and can be very expensive if you are not careful. Again my experience will help you get up and running quickly and with the most cost effective solution possible.
StartClever by Computer Medic
Below is a typical example of the cost of setting up a StartClever office using four workstations, a file server, and a redundant spare.
Computers x 6 = £900
17″ Monitors, keyboards and mice x 6 = £360
Internet router = £45
Network Switch = £25
Cabling = £50
Back-up drive x 2 = £100
Software is included in the price (this is Windows Professional, plus open source office application)
Cost of my time for set-up @ £35 per hour x 21 = £735
Includes 1 month support.
Optional open source software training £300 per person x 4 + £1200
Total cost = £2215 or with including the optional training, £3415
This example is based on the following StartClever principles:
- One computer acts as a file server. It does not need to be a server, nor does it need server software. It is perfectly possible to use a single Windows Professional computer to store the data, and the client computers can ‘map a drive’ to it. You can have up to 10 such connections.
- This uses an Ad Hoc network topology, rather than a Domain based network.
- All data is stored on the file server machine. Back-up is to external hard drives.
- One computer is a redundant spare. If you have a failure with one machine, you simply deploy the spare, which is identical in every respect to the others. Because all the data is stored on the file server, you don’t need to spend time copying to the spare. All that is required is to set up the user account on the spare.
- Office software is open source, includes word processor, spread sheet software, database software, presentation software, and graphic design software. Compatible with MS office, so you can open and save as if using the equivalent MS product.
This is only an example, but you can see that this is an incredibly low cost way to get started. And it is a model that I have been using successfully for years. StartClever principles can also be used for office expansions.
It is also possible to set up a more typical MS environment using a server, server software, and a domain topology. The price will be correspondingly higher, but with StartClever you always get the best total cost of ownership.
You owe it to yourself to at least explore this option. I will give a no obligation consultancy session to outline how this would work for YOUR business. Contact me today!