Part of managing and monitoring your IT hardware expenditures – desktops, laptops, servers etc. – is assessing the life expectancy of these tools. Most people probably adhere to the slogan “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” or think that they should wait for the hardware to fail to start thinking about changing it. It is, however, better to think proactively about how often you should be upgrading your IT infrastructure. It is much more cost effective as well to upgrade on your own terms rather than on the terms of your hardware.

If you want to be “business efficient and proactive,” your company’s IT infrastructure must be an important part of your technology plan since it has a major impact on your business. After all, it is the means to your business goals.

Start by developing a hardware inventory: list in details the specifications of your hardware, such as operating system version, memory and hard drive capacity, year purchased, warranty status or expiration date, and a list of installed software.

Once you have a complete list, run through which items need updating. As there is no hard or fast rules about when a refresh should occur, make a decision based on your company’s needs, which will determine the “wear and tear” of your IT infrastructure. For example, the optimal lifecycle for desktops and servers is between 3 and 4 years. For laptops and mobile devices, it’s 2 to 3 years. For printers and other networking equipment, it can be 5 years or more. Knowing your company’s requirements and goals can help you determine how often you should replace your hardware, allowing you to avoid last-minute purchases and to smartly plan for hidden costs.

There are two approaches to renew your infrastructure: Big Bang and Phased approaches. In a big bang scenario, the entire hardware is replace at once. It could be costly. However, advantages include a discounted price on a big purchase and future, seamless, streamlined software updates.

In a phased approach, a portion of the hardware is renewed every year or so. Although this approach requires more planning and coordination, it allows you to spread the cost of the upgrades over time.

Whether you choose to Big Bang or phase your hardware renewal, take the time to assess your IT infrastructure and plan your purchases accordingly.

You also might want to consider the following factors:

  • Hardware Warranty: Some vendors will not extend warranty on old hardware as it becomes very costly to fix. In certain cases you can either keep obsolete hardware or move up to newer gear with a current warranty from the vendor.
  • Software: As your hardware ages and software requirements advance, your hardware becomes obsolete and you find yourself in a situation where you have to change the hardware. Plan your hardware purchases in advance, based on your software requirements.
  • IT Performance: Assess your business overall IT performance and SLA. If it starts dropping below a certain threshold due to new technologies or aging equipment then a hardware refresh becomes essential.

Whatever your choice is, let us know and we will assist you in creating and implementing your hardware renewal plan.

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