Who doesn’t love getting something for nothing – especially when you’re working with a limited budget and have to find creative ways to keep your business running efficiently, such as with IT automation tools, without breaking the bank? While some of the products out there that are being offered for free are great, and can serve a purpose for your business, some of aren’t quite so beneficial after all. In fact, turning to the wrong type of “freebie” can actually end up costing you more money in the long run. Here’s how:
First of all, free products typically focus on providing a single-use solution. In other words, they’re designed to address one or maybe two problems that you or your team may be facing, but they aren’t all-encompassing. This is all fine and good until you step back and realize you’ve got a dozen different tools running at the same time, and none of them are actually working together. In some cases, they may even be working against each other. The result of this fragmented approach is decreased efficiency and increased chance of human error, both of which can be costly to your business.
Secondly, free products are not usually designed to support a long term strategy, but rather to fix a present need. Any successful business person knows that in order to continue to be profitable, there must be a strategy in place that will account for both the present and 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 achieve long term goals.
Another way that free products may end up costing you in the end is that they typically lack real substance. When they’re built to be free, they’re usually missing several key components that could really take your business to the next level. 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 money that could have been spent on a better product.
Finally, there’s the age old theory that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re going to place your trust in a free product, you’d better make sure you understand 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 add-ons. Before you know it, that “free” tool has suddenly cost you more than it would have to simply purchase a quality product outright.
In short, while availing yourself of free products may seem to make smart business sense upfront, in the long run it 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 actually costing money and hindering productivity and efficiency? The wisest choice, at least when it comes to automation, is to do your homework and select a quality tool that isn’t free, but will produce the benefits your business needs over the long haul.