Getting something for free is great – especially when you’re working with a limited budget and have to find creative ways to keep your IT department running efficiently without breaking the bank. But while some IT automation products are being offered for free, many of aren’t quite what they’re cracked up to be. In fact, turning to the wrong type of “freebie” could potentially end up costing you more money in the long run. Here’s how.
First of all, most free IT automation products typically focus on providing a single-use solution. In other words, they’re designed to address one or possibly two basic problems and that’s it. When you go this route, you’ll ultimately end up with a dozen different tools running at the same time, and none of them are actually working together. In some cases, they may even be hindering each other. This type of fragmented or siloed approach can actually cause a drop in efficiency while increasing the chance of human error, both of which can be costly to your business.
Secondly, free IT automation products are not usually designed to support a long term, complex business strategy, but rather to address a current need. Any successful IT professional knows that in order to continue to be profitable, there must be a strategy in place that will account for both the present as well as the future. Without an effective long term plan, you’ll only be able to realize short term goals, and you may find your tools falling short over time. IT automation tools that you purchase, on the other hand, are much more robust and can be figured into the big picture and help you set and consistently achieve long term operational goals.
Another way that free IT automation products may end up costing you in the end is that they typically lack real substance. Those that are built to be free often come without several key components that could have a dramatic impact on your business. This means your automation won’t be running on all cylinders and the results will ultimately fall short. Some are even temporary, so you may find yourself with no other choice but to purchase the full product in the end just to avoid having to start over again. If the full version isn’t much better than the free one, you’ve wasted valuable time and money that could have been spent on a better product.
Finally, there’s the age old theory that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re going to place your trust in a free product download, you’d better make sure you’re aware of the motive behind the giveaway. These businesses are in it to make money too, and giving everything away isn’t going to do them any good….unless they can somehow rope you in via their free product to have to pay for other things, such as ongoing support or product add-ons. Before you know it, that “free” tool has suddenly cost you more than you would have spent had you simply purchased a quality IT automation product outright.
In short, while availing yourself of free products online may seem like a wise choice upfront, in the long run doing so may end up costing you more. Do you really want to take chances on a half-rate product that could end up doing the exact opposite of what it was designed for by costing more and hindering productivity and efficiency? The wisest choice, at least when it comes to IT automation, is to do your homework and investing in a quality tool that may not be free, but will produce the benefits your business needs over the long haul.