When faced with the numerous hardware and software options available on the market today, understanding differences in warranty claims becomes an important part of decision making process. The procurement management process is without a doubt, a critical component to business success. When introducing hardware and software in the workplace, management of the procurement life-cycle will surely have effects on the office efficiency and security. It is essential to implement the right technology to see a real benefit, increase the productivity of your staff and ultimately see an increase in profitability.
While the quantity of hardware and software options to choose from are numerous, deciphering the quality of your options will certainly come into play throughout your decision making process. When examining the life-cycle of your technology purchases be sure to examine the details, any associated warranties and their implications.
While a warranty is a written guarantee promising to replace or repair an item if necessary, it must be understood that not all guarantees are the same. A careful review of the terms will unveil the details of what is and isn’t covered and for how long.
What to Look For
- Lifetime warranty. Whose lifetime? (Yours, the product’s or the company’s?)
- Responsibility. Who is the warrantor? (The manufacturer, the seller, or someone else? In the event of vendor bankruptcy, will the warranty agreement be upheld by the successor?)
- Location. Where do you have to send the product for service? If the vendor operates globally, under which jurisdiction is your claim covered under?
- Duration. How long is your item covered under the warranty? How long will you be without your purchase while troubleshooting is performed or replacement is sent?
- Fine Print. Will the item be replaced or repaired, and who makes that decision? Do you have to register the warranty when you buy the item? Do you pay for shipping and handling when returning an item?
It becomes your responsibility to save all information stored on your device before sending out for any warranty-approved repair. Often devices will be “factory reset” as a form of troubleshooting. Information on your devices could be erased during the repair, so be sure to have a back-up of your files. Consider that in some industries (healthcare, legal, etc.) ensuring data remains private is of the utmost importance. In these cases, devices likely cannot be sent out with data still contained in it.
- Personal devices. Cell phones, smart phones, eBook readers, computers and other similar technologies are growing in popularity. While they usually will come with a warranty, often times commonly used marketing claims like “water resistant” are not always backed by an applicable warranty.
- Software. Software vendors typically promise that the licensed software will conform substantially to the description in the software documentation. Software quality warranties are usually subject to many exceptions. Be sure that the vendor’s software promises accurately reflect the commitments made by the vendor during sales presentations and negotiations.
- Hardware. When purchasing monitors, laptops, or workstations from well know vendors understand that their warranties come with a varying degree of support levels. After selecting the duration of your warranty coverage (1 or 3-Yr) be sure you understand if the term is providing only phone support, an option to return hardware to depot, or on-site technical support. The difference in support level will most certainly impact your business operations should you need to invoke the guarantees. 25% of Surface Pro tablet and laptop owners learned the importance of understanding their warranties when they encountered issues by the end of the second year of ownership.
Things to Consider
While many small business owners initially decide to purchase hardware on their own seeking attractive low price points, partnering with an IT Service Provider, like Compulite, that has ongoing relationships with distributors could be more cost effective in the long-run. Service providers are familiar with the standard of services vendors provide, the quality of their products and their return policies should products be defective or require additional support post purchase. When shopping online, the majority of resellers are shipping from the US, and you may be receiving pricing information before shipping, import tax and USD currency exchange fees have been applied. Compatibility of the operating system with software you intend to use, functionality, warranty information and vendor support become very important when selecting the right hardware for business use. Successfully blending security, performance and IT service efficiency should remain top priorities throughout the procurement process.
(image via flickr)