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It’s An Appliance, Not A Computer

RefrigeratorI know it looks like a computer.  It has a mouse, keyboard…all the tell-tale signs of a computer.  Your business systems are not computers though – they are appliances.  Computers are things you sit at home with, install programs on, browse the Web from, etc.  Your kids use them, they get viruses…problems ensue.

How do you utilize the appliances in your home?  Do you install new stuff in your refrigerator?  I’m not talking about food.  🙂  Have you ever installed a different compressor, just to see if it will cool faster?  Have you installed new doors on the front, because they look nice?

What about your stove?  Done any customization to it?  Installed new burners, put some sweet flames on the side (’cause, you know, ovens get hot) and really “pimped it out”?

I’m guessing you’re looking at me like, “um, Dean, I would never “hack” or modify my refrigerator.”  Of course you wouldn’t.  You purchase the refrigerator based on features, appearance and price.  Someone delivers and installs it and it just works.  Each and every day, the doors open smoothly, the contents within stay cool and everyone’s happy.

When’s the last time your refrigerator crashed?  Exactly.

It’s this very approach that has to be taken with your business systems.  Take for example restaurants and bars.  You see the waiters walk up to their terminals, punch in your order, etc.  Do they install new stuff on those systems?  No.  Are they browsing Facebook and installing every app under the sun?  No.  Are they tinkering with the printers, trying out different drivers, etc.?  No.

Unfortunately, we still look at our business systems like their computers.  This leads to increased TCO and ultimately, frustration.

Your business systems should be utilized for your consignment software, period.  Your entire infrastructure stems from your consignment software.  The computers…excuse me, appliances, are there to run your consignment software, that’s it.  Systems that have clean installations of Windows, proper antivirus software and that are properly utilized, just work.

If you’re looking to test out new consignment software or try different printer drivers, it should not be done on your business systems.  Each of the consignment software programs have different requirements – and I’m not just talking about hardware.  How Windows runs, the common files applications use, etc. all work in concert to make your consignment software run properly.  If you install a bunch of different programs or different printer drivers, they’re going to step on one another.  Save the testing and experimenting for your home systems or a dedicated test machine.

To recap:

  • Think of your business computers as appliances – you don’t modify or “tamper” with appliances
  • Do not install different consignment programs – they can step on one another.  If you’re testing out a new program, do so on a dedicated system.
  • Do not adjust, install or edit your printer drivers.  Consignment programs are designed to work with certain printers + certain printer settings.
  • Set it and forget it – your systems will just work.

I've been helping consignment & resale store-owners since 2003. I started The Computer Peeps in February of 2010. After 15 years of working with consignment stores, I understand the unique challenges consignment & resale storeo-wners face. From electrical issues in old building or strip malls, to advocating for them when their consignment software keeps crashing. I now manage over 400 computer systems, servers & websites for store-owners all across North America and I am the developer/programmer of Peeps' Software -- the only software written FOR consignment & resale stores specifically.

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