Budgeting for IT equipment can be a struggle. The problem is that there is such a huge amount to choose from with a drastic spectrum of price points.
Typically, with the Veterinary Practices we work with we always try to establish the purpose for what they plan to use the device and how they will be using it, as this helps govern how much they need to spend. For example, your receptionist will most likely need a desktop computer that will stay at the front desk, whereas the partners might prefer a laptop that they can use to work both in the practice and at home. This isn’t a hard a fast rule, and every practice will be different, so to enable you to get the most from your computers and your budget it’s integral that you are aware of the specification you need for each person, role or workstation.
It’s also worth noting that like with most things you really do get what you pay for. The more you spend will usually mean you will get a higher quality device that typically will last longer, spending more can be a ‘short term pain for long term gain’.
On the flip side, just because you can get top of the range expensive computers for your practices, it doesn’t mean that you should. The last thing you want to do is spend money on equipment that has features that you neither want nor will need. It’s all about being able to strike a balance between cost, quality and function.
Below we have created a breakdown of device budget ranges and the typical functionality you can expect. For each bracket we have also provided use case examples so that you may better understand where this type of computer might be of use in your own practice:
£350 and under
Within this price bracket the machines are generally very basic and not practical for use within your veterinary practice. They will only run home software which makes them entirely unsuitable for use in a veterinary practice that requires their computer to work with business grade software such as your PMS, imaging systems and accountancy software.
Other issues with this bracket is that they are cheap build quality, so will likely not last very long at all and need replacing a lot sooner than those that are more expensive. They have minimal storage which means you would need to invest in additional storage options and for the end user they can have a very slow performance, which is just plain frustrating!
We would not recommend spending any of your practice budget on computer in this bracket no matter how tempting the price is.
£350 to £450
This is the entry level price bracket for a basic desktop for your veterinary practice and should be the absolute minimum that you spend. Generally computers at this price will have enough power to run the basic day to day programmes you need such as your PMS and you will be able to use it for basic everyday tasks such as opening and editing documents and browsing the web.
The build quality will be better that those in the £350 and under bracket, but it is still worth doing some additional research to ensure there aren’t any issues that commonly crop up with the model you are looking at.
Typically, we would allocate the types of machines you can purchase from this bracket in shared areas where multiple members of your team might use them for a wide range of purposes such as Reception, your consult rooms and prep areas.
£450 to £800
For this price you will get a good mid-range desktop or even a laptop. The likelihood is that you will get a better quality build that the previous brackets and it should be able to handle any of the functions you need it for, working nicely alongside your other systems.
We wouldn’t recommend spending this kind of money on a machine that’s being shared by the wider team. If you are paying this kind of price, we would recommend that you only place these computers in areas where people might be allocated a specific machine, for example your Accounts team or even maybe a laptop for your Practice Manager.
If you are looking at spending this sort of money then you will be able to purchase a very high-powered machine, such as an Ultrabook, an Intel spec high-end ultra-thin, lightweight laptop with decent battery life and performance.
We would usually advise that this quality of machinery would be over-kill for general practice use, so typically we would see these being used by the Partners or Directors of the practice, who would have more use for a very portable high powered laptop.
Our hope is that this article will be able to guide you in your purchasing mission. Like we said above, not every practice is the same and you will require a wide range of machines from across most of these brackets to really get the most from your investment. As with ‘all things tech’, if you are struggling with all of the options in front of you (we get it – it can be a LOT) then do reach out and consult an expert.
As always, if you have any questions our team of Veterinary IT Experts are here to help, you can book in a chat with them at a time that suits you.