IT options growing for SMEs

July 7th, 2008 - 10:39 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, July 7 (IANS) You could call it toys-for-boys, but it’s also turning into something more serious. Computer hardware is turning into a vital tool for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across India to get that competitive edge. “What’s needed by the small and medium business segment…is education, education, education. Folks in this segment need lots of hand-holding when it comes to selection and deployment (of computer hardware) and beyond,” says Prashant Rao, editor of the Mumbai-based Express Computer weekly.

In a special buyer’s guide edition of the journal, Express Computer highlighted the range of IT products available in India.

“Desktops are still the most economical choice,” says the Express Computer. It points to innovation taking place there, as with the Zenith SmartStylePC, with a CPU built into the monitor without making it look bulky. Cost: around Rs.20,000.

It notes: “If desktop sales growth is tapering off as notebook sales skyrocket, it is because of the fact that today you can get a notebook for Rs.35,000 that can handle pretty much anything that a regular user would want to do.”

Yet, desktop computers are still cheaper, with options starting at Rs.15,000 onwards. But budget computers might not be suited for those wanting to do more complex computing.

Networks are expected to offer more functionality - and the ‘buyers guide’ looks at switches, cabling, routers, wireless routers, and other products available in the market. Tatanet Readynet even offers a broadband internet over VSAT, costing between Rs.7,200-17,000.

Diverse devices too are growing on the ‘want list’ of SMEs.

Needs keep multiplying: tiny scanners big enough to scan and electronically store your A8-sized visiting cards, secure computing firewalls costing a hundred thousand rupees or more, anti-virus, anti-spam email security software, and more.

Higher end devices also offer options. Network-attached storage (NAS) is file-level computer data storage connected to a computer network providing data access to heterogeneous network clients. Costs in India: Even as much as Rs.1.19 million plus taxes for the Fujitsu ETERNUS 4000 Model 300, a storage array featuring 120 drives.

Multi-function devices, which combine image scanning, document printing and fax into a single unit, are becoming popular, and so are LCD monitors, says Express Computer.

The projector market is warming up in India, with some low-end projectors costing as little as Rs.34,000 plus tax.

Editor Rao suggests that small and medium businesses no longer look to their “neighbourhood assembler” for purchases, since branded machines “cost just a bit more than their assembled counterparts”.

Assembled hardware offers more personalised service. But branded players have been “reaching out through a network of service centres and their machines have fewer problems to begin with,” argues Rao.

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