New hardware can help you work faster and more efficiently, and often it’s needed to run software applications effectively. The cost of upgrading computer hardware is a significant investment for many businesses though, which is one of the reasons it is often delayed or ignored.
At some point your computer hardware will no longer meet your business requirements. Hardware may become outdated, your business model may change, or your business will outgrow your technology.
Quantifying the benefits versus costs of upgrading can be difficult, so ask yourself the following questions to help determine whether it’s time to upgrade your business hardware.
When Should I Upgrade My Hardware?
The question of when to upgrade can be a complex one, however, as a simple rule, when the cost of not upgrading exceeds the cost of upgrading, it’s time for a change. The following questions will help crystalise the decision:
1. Is Your Hardware Failing?
Like all equipment, time and usage can take their toll on hardware, and it tends to fail more often as it ages. The constant stress of hardware components being heated and cooled, and the mechanical parts wearing out will eventually result in hardware failures. Storage media can also decay over time due to file, data and disk capacity increases.
Clearly if you have an accumulation of broken equipment, and PCs or other devices that are crashing regularly or prevent you from effectively completing work, it’s going to cost your business more in lost productivity if you don’t upgrade. Similarly, if a business server fails, that could have a massive impact on business operations.
2. Is Your Business Rapidly Expanding?
It’s likely that your business has changed and evolved since you purchased your current IT equipment. It may be growing more rapidly than expected, you may wish to automate more processes, or simply improve remote work and collaboration. Your IT equipment may simply not be keeping up for your business growth.
3. Are You Getting the Most from Your Software?
With the rise of cloud computing, software updates are an almost invisible process for many companies these days. Other than receiving alerts about program updates, most users pay little attention to updates – until their computer starts behaving strangely because it is no longer fast or reliable enough to effectively support your cloud solutions.
Similarly, if you’re planning to install memory and processor-heavy intensive programs such as digital video editing, you will need large and fast hard drives for storage.
4. Is Your Security at Risk?
It’s a constant battle to stay ahead of the malicious cyber criminals trying to access your information and systems. Older hardware increases the risk of missing a vital security update, which can leave your business exposed to the latest threats, particularly if the manufacturer is no longer supporting this hardware. Updating to the latest technology can provide superior security, making you less vulnerable to cyber breaches.
Additionally, your business may now be required to comply with new regulations mandating additional security and storage, which is not possible on your current IT.
5. What Is Your Hidden Productivity Cost?
As discussed, many businesses put off upgrading hardware due to the cost, however, a recent Microsoft study found that a PC over four years old:
- Runs slower and is 2.7 times more likely to require maintenance
- Costs a user approximately 112 hours of productivity each year.
Microsoft estimates that the annual cost of a slow computer is over $8,800 per employee, which is a staggering amount of wasted time and money, especially for a small business.
Outdated technology that is slow, crashes or can’t effectively run required software, can also be a source of incredible frustration for employees.
6. Can You Source Replacement Parts?
If your hardware is outdated and old, you are going to struggle to find replacement parts. For instance, if an old server starts to fail, you may struggle to find spare parts as manufacturers stop producing and supplying parts for older models. You may have to reply on non-genuine parts or pay a premium to obtain them from a 3rd party.
It’s Time to Upgrade – What Next?
Futureproof Your Hardware Requirements
Before you rush out and buy the fastest or most expensive new hardware, it’s important to do some research and, ideally, to have a clearly defined IT strategy.
Having a clear understanding of your business objectives and technology goals will help define requirements and identify the hardware that will best deliver on your current and future needs.
Need Help with Your Hardware Upgrade?
If your business requires help in upgrading your computer hardware, or developing your IT strategy, contact Surety IT today. Our team will work with you to really understand your goals, and then provide you with the expert advice and technical support to help your business flourish.