As a technology company, we are hyper aware of the trade-off between cost and value. When evaluating new products and services for our customers we look at short-term, installation, and maintenance costs, but also the long-term cost savings, productivity enhancements, and compatibility with your current infrastructure.
IT upgrades are most valuable when made strategically. What we find when visiting prospects and new customers is that they are often focused on short-term budget implications, not the long-term benefits.
In an article from the Business News Daily the President of the online accounting software company Xero said "Using the latest technology to better run your company is what gives many business owners a competitive edge while giving them more time back with their families,". Obviously we all want to spend more time with our loved ones and less time dealing with technology headaches.
One such headache is the lifecycle of laptops. In my experience (and the experience of many, many internet bloggers) a business class laptop or desktop’s lifespan is about three years. In general, after three years the cost of maintaining a laptop becomes more expensive than simply buying a new one.
We’ve had this experience many times with customers who refused to upgrade a computer citing cost concerns. We are good at what we do, but we aren’t magicians. If a computer is too old and slow all we can do is work on it for several hours, reset it, reload the operating system, and get it in decent working order. In the meantime, the client has spent several hundred dollars, and experienced hours of downtime to extend the life of a machine that likely won’t last long.
For me, the best indicator of whether it’s time to buy new equipment is if employee productivity has dropped as a result of the equipment provided to them. If an employee spends a significant portion of their day waiting for files to load due to a computer issue, the repeated loss of productivity is probably going to outweigh the $1,000 or so to buy a new laptop.
This goes for other equipment in your office including routers, switches, firewalls, and servers. If you consistently spend time worrying about, or dealing with IT issues, it’s time for an upgrade.
You can do things to prolong the life of your technology, but remember, these will only extend the life slightly. When technology begins to slow down, to get significant improvements you’ll need to upgrade. If your computer is relatively new and it’s started to slow down you can improve performance by:
Freeing up memory wherever possible. We all download apps that take up lots of space and reduce performance. Periodically removing apps and freeing space will speed up your computer.
Reimaging your computer. Reimaging is simply deleting and reinstalling the apps on your computer, but it can greatly improve performance.
Reinstall or upgrade your operating system. This can be done once a year but takes time and can be done incorrectly if performed by the wrong person.
Invest in new batteries. Batteries lose their ability to keep a charge over time so this will improve longevity, especially in laptops.
If you would like to learn more about how IT upgrades can improve productivity and reduce downtime, please attend our webinar “How Old Is Too Old? Find Out When You Should Replace Your IT Equipment” on June 25 at 12:00 pm.
You can register for our webinar at: www.connectability.com/ITupgrade. During the event, you will discover how slow and outdated computers and IT equipment cost you money in productivity and downtime, and how you can measure the real cost of failing technology.