A decade ago, there was an adage that stated ‘no one ever lost their IT job for purchasing Microsoft software.’ True in its time and still somewhat significant today, when IT workers turn to the task of replacing company computers, there are quite a few more factors that come into play.

First, if you have an installed base of users working on Dell machines and you plan to switch the ones that need upgrades to an Apple or Imaginot tablet, you have to factor in the added costs of maintenance and parts problems that arise when more than one supplier is used.

One of the largest costs can be the support agreement that you pay for every year with Dell. Once you pay, you don’t need to pay anymore. If you add another manufacturer’s machines, you might need business finance to pay for a second or third support contract.

Another factor that is important is that there are a variety of form factors out there today that make a formerly straightforward desktop PC purchase, a crossroads of sorts. If your company is like many others and untethered their workers from a company network; allowing them to access much of their workspace from offsite over the past few years, you might be ready for the next step in the evolution of office work-namely purchasing hardware that also can be removed from the office and go home with the worker, regardless of whether or not they are a mobile warrior.

Laptops have been purchased like this for years. In fact, one of the best credit card for small business companies has even offered insurance for employees in the past in case their is a damage problem.

Tablets and the new ultrabooks are both now making their debut in many companies to rave results from their users. Ultrabooks often feature a combination touch screen, like a tablet, with a keyboard and solid state drive that makes the battery life on most machines soar.

Whatever combination of form factor that you choose to purchase, it would be wise to stick with the previous conventional wisdom and only purchase one model of each form factor from either one or more vendors.

Finally, if your company is price sensitive at all, you might find that there are several vendors offering either tablets or notebooks that have similar features as the hardware that you are used to, without the large costs. If you take the time to verify that their support is adequate, you might find that owing to the short life of deployed hardware in companies anyway, you are getting a worthwhile deal.