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The New Computer Age and the One Man Business

So, here’s the critical question – ‘Can I really run the whole of my business just using a budget tablet computer, a mobile WiFi (MiFi) router, a smartphone and a printer/scanner?’

Let’s face it reliable tablet devices can cost as little as £70 and printer/scanners can be had for as little as £40. That’s a low overhead and if you can get away with minimising expenditure to that level why doesn’t everyone jump on the bandwagon?

In fact that does appear to be the trend, -

‘Windows-based PCs have fallen from a 95% market share a decade ago to 90% today, according to Morningstar. That's thanks to the rise of mobile devices and software from competitors like Apple (AAPL, Tech30) and Google (GOOGL, Tech30).’ -

Computer experts and advisors will caution that any start-up business should factor in capacity for expansion, redundancy to cover equipment failure and a whole host of additional features, all of which add costs. And cost, as we know, have a habit of mounting up.

 It’s that well intentioned cautionary advice that holds many back from taking full advantage of the latest in computerisation and making huge savings into the bargain.

What we can do here is examine a number of scenarios, comparing the latest innovations in business computing to the older more expensive options.

One Man Business Scenario.

Start by considering a one-man business, say a plumber, electrician or builder. This type of business is the most numerous world-wide, and is probably the one that needs to hold down costs more than any other.

In this scenario the businessman has a home or office based computer, on which is stored all of his business data. Customer names, telephone numbers, orders, invoices, bank details and accounts. For security this computer will be backed up to either the cloud or an external hard drive. The problems with this is that time must be made available during or at the end of the working day to update the computer. In addition, while on site or on the road there is no access to stored data so business decisions are difficult to make.

 The alternative utilises cloud storage (Office 365 E3), a budget Windows 10 tablet (Linx), an Osprey MiFi unit and a budget smartphone (Lumia 535).

1. The Office 365 E3 licence costs £176.40 per user per year and delivers –
  a. Full MS Office suit for up to five devices  
  b. 1Tb of cloud storage  
  c. Email  

This compares well with the purchase of one Office 2016 licence delivering a saving of up to £150 per year

2.   The Linx tablet costs around £150 and delivers –
    32Gb of storage (around 19Gb after OS install). This is more than enough to install the full MS Office 2016 suite provided as part of the O365 E3 package. It will also accept a microSD card for local data storage for those occasions when there is no Internet available. Offering a substantial saving over the purchase of a PC
3.   The Osprey MiFi unit is the means of connecting to the Internet when no BB wireless is available. Alternatively, there is the option of purchasing the Tablet with a SIM card. The Osprey may be preferable in many cases as it performs as a router which will allow the connection of several devices concurrently. The Osprey can be purchased for around £50, or it can be taken with a data contract.
4.   The smartphone is a low priced Lumia offering running Windows Mobile 8.1

These are the statistics, and they indicate a substantial saving over traditional computer provision.

However, it doesn’t end there. First and foremost, there is the convenience of having access to all business data wherever and whenever the need arises. Access can be provided either via the tablet or the smartphone. This means –

1. Business decisions can be made on site without reference back to the office computer
2. Business data can be updated from site, eliminating the need to return to base to spend time bringing data up to date

The great thing about O365 cloud storage is that the data becomes available on all registered devices immediately it is saved on any one device.

The result is a net cash saving, increased working day productivity and, as a bonus, more free time

Security is also enhanced as data can be stored both on the device(s)and in the cloud. Nothing is lost in the event of loss or damage to any local device. Mobile Device Management can be used to ensure that data on lost or stolen devices cannot be accessed by anyone unauthorized

The Office 365 trend -

‘Office 365 First-quarter 2015: Consumer base reached 12.4 million. First-quarter 2016: Sales of consumer products and cloud services climbed 6% and subscriber base grew to 22.2 million. Office continues to be a steady driver of sales for Microsoft. In the past three months, Microsoft has benefited from growth in subscribers and higher sales for each Office 365 license.’ -

Learn more.

Chris Watkins I've been an IT professional for over thirty years. Most of that time has been spent helping large organisations with the evaluation, installation and maintenance of business software applications.
I have a wealth of knowhow on the subject of data management.
Advice is free and so are basic templates. If you need more just ask. I only charge for actual work done.
Contact - Tel: 01392 58 0420 email: