Applications join hardware and operating systems as the third leg of stool that is your workstation. System requirements and licensing options are discussed.
- [Instructor] If you've been struggling through this chapter because you can't find a close link between buying a computer and your company's strategy, thank you for hanging in there; you're going to like this video. This is where we start to talk about the part of technology that specifically supports what you do. This is the part of technology selection where occasionally the users know more than IT. At least, until IT starts doing their homework. This is about the programs, applications, or just apps, that your employees need to do their jobs, and sometimes they can be very specialized.
Whether you're an industrial designer using CAD software, a graphic artist using image-manipulation packages, or a private accountant doing bookkeeping for multiple clients, you have software that may well be the primary reason you bought a computer in the first place. Just like the platform helped refine the choices of hardware, your applications will narrow the list of workable options for both operating system and hardware. But before working out the operating system requirements, you're going to need to select the applications themselves.
One of the choices you'll have to make will be between the expensive title, from the industry's favorite brand, and the free or open-source alternative, and possibly something else inbetween. The free price tag is inviting, but there's usually a reason the industry still favors the pricey product, and peer pressure is usually only part of that. I'm going back to our magazine company to illustrate this point. Adobe Photoshop is the accepted standard in image manipulation software.
Adobe has lots of monthly purchasing options, but if you plan to use it as a regular part of your business, it can cost you. Outsiders to the industry may often choose an open-source package named GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The interface is kind of similar to Photoshop, and it's in that open-source category, which I think I mentioned sometimes means free. Most amateurs will find more features than they can possibly learn how to use in GIMP, and will loudly wonder why anyone would pay the hefty price tag for Photoshop.
But there are reasons to stick with the industry leader, and they could include the same total cost of ownership discussion from the last video. Also important is the array of features that may not be in the free product, and seamless integration with other Adobe products, possibly professional support, and included functions the design industry has come to count on. This is not a commercial for Photoshop, or a bash session against GIMP, they both have their place.
The important point here is knowing which one your company needs, so your IT dollars are spent more strategically. Another consideration for software selection is the list of system requirements, including the operating system, and the network environment. I've seen office networks rebuilt to support a single application, and no one was thrilled about that, except possibly me, and I was being paid by the hour.
Now price is obviously an important aspect of selecting software, so I want to caution you to be careful about comparing software based on the shelf price at your nearest big box retailer. As you consult with a trusted reseller, you can explore volume licenses, or packages with upgrade options that will save you money upfront and in the long run. Some software upgrades so often that it makes more sense to buy on monthly or yearly plans, sometimes called renewable licenses.
And another feature that's a fit for some companies is shared licensing. That's where the software is installed on more machines than you own licenses, and a feature is installed on your network that limits the number of employees that can use the software to the number of licenses that you own. However you put this together, your IT department will need to maintain a list of the needed software titles, and create documentation of which titles are needed in which departments and on which computers.
This list can be added to the computer types from the previous video to begin building a database of the computers used throughout the organization. I'm a big fan of documentation, and this is one reason why. If we add details of renewal dates, among other things, we can avoid a costly surprise somewhere down the road.
- Including IT in strategy
- What does IT bring to strategy?
- Communicating the big picture
- Selecting and evaluating the effectiveness of training and development activities
- Choosing the right hardware, platforms, and applications
- Who owns the devices?
- Site planning
- External and internal connectivity