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There comes a time when all computer equipment reaches the end of its useful life. As this time approaches, you’ll need to decide whether to upgrade the hardware or simply get rid of it and buy a new machine. In some cases, you won’t have a choice as some devices can’t be upgraded at all. But if you do have this option, you’ll need to assess the best course of action. Here are some questions to answer which will help you make the right decisions.

Is the device no longer supported, or will it reach end of life soon?

This is obviously the most critical reason to invest in new equipment. For example, if you’re running an unsupported server such as Windows Server 2003, you’ll no longer be getting bug fixes and security updates, putting your business at risk. You may also find that software providers withdraw their support, or that applications become incompatible with your systems. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to invest in new technology.

If upgraded, will the machine still meet your needs in the future?

If your business is growing or evolving quickly, you’ll probably find that your IT requirements will change. Bear this in mind when considering upgrading a device. For example, you might need to invest in powerful new software, so you can keep meeting your customers’ needs – and these may not be compatible with older computers.

Could the workload be transferred to a different device?

If you’re having problems with a particular machine that’s only used for basic tasks such as administration, you could simply move the workload to a different computer that’s more reliable. On the other hand, if the device is used for business-critical tasks such as accounting or CRM, you’re probably better off replacing it with a new one.

Could a slow machine benefit from hardware upgrades?

Older computers will inevitably run more slowly, hampering productivity and causing frustration. However, you might be able to avoid consigning them to the dustbin by installing a Solid-State Drive also known as an SSD. This is similar to a traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD), but works more quickly because it has no moving parts. You’ll find your computer boots up and works much faster than before.

An SSD can be installed in any kind of computer running a Windows or Mac operating system. They’re relatively cheap and straightforward to install. You could get years more use out of an ageing machine at a fraction of the cost of replacing it.

Another way to speed up a slow machine is to upgrade its working memory also known as RAM, which is relatively cheap and easy.

Is the device on the verge of failing?

A total failure should be avoided at all costs. By replacing a device before it breaks, you’ll avoid adding to the cost through lost productivity. If a particular machine regularly crashes, freezes or experiences other problems, it’s time to buy a new one if an upgrade isn’t possible.

Has the manufacturer’s warranty expired?

If you’re running equipment that’s out of warranty, it might be an idea to replace it even it seems to be working well. Moving parts like hard discs and cooling fans are at risk of breaking down once a machine is a few years old and replacing it before this happens could avoid a lot of hassle and downtime.

Could you move some or all your applications to the cloud?

Moving some or all of your IT applications to the cloud could reduce the need to replace or upgrade physical equipment. For example, you could move your data storage and email management services to an online system such as Microsoft Office 365. Depending on the size and nature of your business, this means you might not need a physical server.

Of course, you’ll still need some physical hardware that will need maintaining, but your long term costs could be lower than before.

Could you save money by upgrading or replacing?

It might sound strange, but upgrading or replacing equipment with a newer, better model will save you money. For example, if you lease photocopiers and printers, your supplier may be able to replace these with more advanced machines at a lower monthly cost. Don’t wait until the device breaks down – find out your options now.

Additionally, companies, often unknowingly, are wasting hours of staff time waiting for PCs to complete tasks, boot up, print etc. Wasted staff time is an unnecessary overhead on your business.

What’s the cost ratio of upgrading versus replacing?

As a rule of thumb, if the cost of upgrading is more than half the cost of replacement, you’re probably better off buying a new machine. Another thing to consider is the long term running costs of upgraded equipment, bearing in mind that these will increase as the machine ages. If the five year running costs are more than the price of new equipment, it makes sense to replace it.

Either way money invested in your IT systems pays dividends in very short order through increased staff productivity and morale.

Book a FREE systems audit with Jalapeno today

We can help you ascertain if your IT systems need upgrading or replacing, or are just fine as they are. Our audit is completely free and there’s no obligation to act on our recommendations or ask us to work for you. Book an appointment online today or contact us to discuss your IT requirements.