At one time, technology was moving so fast, equipment had to be replaced every few years just to keep up. But today’s systems are sufficient to handle whatever changes are coming our way in the next decade or so, leaving many to wonder if the hardware we have in our offices today will last through several major operating system releases.
But any piece of electronic equipment has a shelf life. On day one, all of the components may match minimum requirements for the software applications your business needs to run, but over time those components will begin to wear out. The problem for many businesses is that by the time these systems are replaced, they’ve already slowed down to the point that they are affecting worker productivity. To put it into perspective: a system that is seven or eight years old today is likely running Windows XP and Office 2003 with the capability of only advancing to Internet Explorer version 8. Support for all three of these products is coming to an end, meaning businesses that haven’t upgraded will soon have no other choice.
It’s important, however, that you choose a reasonable replacement cycle for your organization. Here are a few guidelines to help you as you draft a plan that will take you into the next decade and beyond.
Desktops and Laptops
The life of desktops and laptops in a business can now reasonably be extended to five years. Less time can be excessive, while more time puts your business at risk for being out-of-date. While a boost in RAM could extend the life of your systems a little longer, it’s important to make sure your company’s equipment isn’t getting in the way of employees doing their work.
If you still have servers on site, it’s important not to take risks when it comes to your infrastructure. Your servers are the backbone of your operations and a failure could mean significant downtime, which could severely inhibit your ability to serve your customers.
Many printers come with only a one-year warranty unless an extended warranty is purchased. A good printer can easily last three to five years but the problem is, when a printer breaks, it often does so without warning. Since repairs can be costly, decide the impact of being unable to print for a short time and base your replacement policy on that.