Your IT equipment will eventually stop serving your demands because either your firm will outgrow it, it will become too sluggish, or the technology will be out of the current. There must be action taken.
However, you have a limited budget. You do not have the money to buy brand-new versions of your PCs and other electronic devices, or do you? Here’s how to determine whether to upgrade, if it is time to do so and how to do it while saving money.
1. How Do I Know When to Upgrade?
It is likely that since you bought your IT equipment, circumstances have changed in your company. Your company may be expanding more quickly than you anticipated, which is great, but your equipment is not able to keep up. Another possibility is that you need to do more with less.
Maybe it is time to increase productivity—yours and that of your staff—by automating certain tasks or fostering better teamwork via constant access to client information. Or you could have to comply with new rules that demand more storage and security for your company. Perhaps it is time to lower operational costs or improve client response.
You get the point, but I could go on. Each of these cases might benefit from an upgrade to the current IT infrastructure. So how do you determine when to update and when not to? Here are some inquiries to make:
Do you or your team members take longer to complete tasks? For instance, do apps appear to start more slowly on a certain PC? Is normal traffic now handled by the network slowly? If so, it is most likely time to think about updating.
Use any cutting-edge, potent apps in your company? Your PCs will probably need to be updated if you want to install processor- and memory-demanding apps. For instance, editing digital video demands a lot of memory and processing power, as well as a big, quick hard drive for storage.
Have you recently added additional users to your network or do you have any plans to do so? If so, it may be time to upgrade your shared office server’s RAM and/or storage, as well as other network-related hardware.
2. Is Purchasing an Upgrade the Best Financial Choice?
Many times, upgrading may be financially advantageous. For instance, just increasing the RAM on your PCs may make apps operate more swiftly and effectively. A bigger, quicker hard disk may also be helpful. (Internal hard drives in certain older computers read and write data at a 4200 rpm speed.
However, upgrading to hard drives that spin at 7200 rpm will make a difference.) Hard drives and RAM may be easily upgraded. You can prolong the life of a PC and delay the need to purchase a new one for, say, $400.
To extend the utility of older equipment, you may also think about integrating current technologies into them. For instance, are the computers used by your company wirelessly enabled? If not, you may spend $80 or less on a Wi-Fi network adapter, which might be in the form of a PC Card or USB adapter.
Do Bluetooth or USB 2.0 need to be added? Both technologies may be added for a lot less than the price of a new computer using PC Cards or other external devices. The second choice, however, could be more cost-effective in the long term if updating a computer or other gadget costs more than half as much as buying a new one.
For instance, upgrading a three-year-old laptop for $600 is probably not the best use of your money when a new one with the same specifications costs $900. Your older model probably lacks features like a higher-capacity DVD burner, but the new computer probably has them.
3. Who Would Be the Ideal Candidate for the Upgrades?
It might be more difficult to conduct certain improvements than others. For instance, desktop PC CPUs may sometimes be updated. But unless you are a very trained technician or extremely knowledgeable end-user, this is like having a brain transplant for your PC and should not be tried.
A few updates may also invalidate your warranty if they are not carried out by your computer’s manufacturer or reseller. Additionally, if anything goes wrong, the manufacturer or reseller could not provide help.
4. Repairing or replacing?
What happens if an IT component malfunctions? Should it be repaired or replaced? Ask your dependable IT expert for an estimate of the overall cost of repairs to assist you to make a decision. Compare this estimate to the price of purchasing an identical, brand-new replacement after finding out the repair’s warranty details.
In certain circumstances, the cost of purchasing or leasing new equipment is equal to or even lower than the cost of repairing it. Additionally, as was already discussed, the replacement can include fresh features and skills that the previous model lacks.
For instance, the cost of printers and other office supplies is often decreasing. In addition to having many capabilities, the previous model lacks, something that cost $300 two years ago can cost $150 now. In circumstances like these, replacement is preferable to repair.
Remember that renting new equipment could be a better option than buying it altogether. Leasing helps small companies better manage their cash flow since it costs little to no money upfront and offers a predictable monthly expenditure.
Some aggressive lease arrangements enable you to replace your equipment once a year and have minimal residuals. As a consequence, your company may remain technologically advanced and more competitive while yet retaining a reasonable monthly expense.
5. Keep an eye on the future
If you opt to buy or lease, make an investment in equipment that will need fewer updates down the road. For instance, to prevent needing to replace your PC later, get one with as much RAM as you can afford. Additionally, purchase or rent equipment that can accommodate any necessary future innovations. Make sure any new network equipment you buy, for instance, can handle any VoIP system you may decide to install in the future.
The last word? Your long-term IT plan should be supported by any IT expenditure, whether it be an update, a purchase, or a lease. If not, you are not managing your finances well. Lacking a long-term IT plan? Discuss it with a dependable IT advisor—a dependable friend, relative, or companion with extensive technological know-how. In other words, regardless of how little the cost of the IT investment is, make sure you have the overall picture.
If you want more information on such topics, check out this article about why an inverted yield curve is a bad tools for timing stock market.