There's a fine line that office administrators have to walk when it comes to ordering office equipment. They can't ignore vital new technology that would make the business operate more efficiently, or vital software updates that keep systems running safely. They also can't just acquire every new gadget as soon as it hits the market if it won't offer real value to the workplace.

Trying to decide which pieces of office technology are worth investing in can be tricky. With the right research, however, teams can make more informed decisions about their office equipment to reduce waste with unnecessary products. 

"Outdated equipment is more vulnerable to security holes."

Determining need and use
Tech lovers can't wait to get their hands on the latest smart device that hits the shelves, but not everything has a functional place in an office environment. Before choosing a new piece of equipment, business owners need to consider what its practical applications are, according to Business Zone. If the functions that would be used the most on that device can be done with existing machines in the office, it may not be worth it to buy something else. A new messaging system, for example, that doesn't offer anything that a texting smartphone can't already do isn't worth the investment.

If there are tasks the device can accomplish that can't be done by any of the other tech in the office, that may make it worth further consideration. It's important to only consider functions that are actually necessary – business owners shouldn't invest in new gear just because it seems cool – or else once the novelty of the gadget wears off it won't get much use. Then it turns into a wasteful investment.

It's also a good idea to consider new equipment if it can improve on something that the office already has. Outdated equipment is more vulnerable to security holes or may not run efficiently over time. If office equipment is too old to upgrade to new software patches or the support agreement with the developers has expired, it's time to look into a good replacement.

Some cutting-edge equipment may seem appealing, but it needs to have a practical application to justify an office investment. Cutting-edge equipment needs to have a practical application to justify an office investment.

Choosing new office technology
Though choosing new equipment may fall into the hands of just a few people, it's likely that the whole office will be impacted by the decision. Entrepreneur recommends considering the IT and customer service needs of any new product before investing in it. If the office has a limited technical staff, the new gear will need to be easy to use or come with a good support package. Otherwise, user errors could render it obsolete before it can have a positive impact on the office. 

Administrators shouldn't rush into new equipment deals. Taking the time to compare options to find the best deal is crucial. Depending on the office's goals, other factors like energy efficiency should also be considered before deciding on a product. 

It can be hard to predict which new inventions will be passing fads and which will become integral parts of today's technological landscape. For many businesses, there's no need to rush to be the first to acquire a new type of equipment before it's demonstrated its value on the market. When in doubt, take time to wait on a new investment until it's obvious that the tech will make a positive change.

Office technology industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, a nationwide provider of commercial lending solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Marlin's equipment financing and loan products are offered directly to businesses, and through third party vendor programs, which include manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.