Tech Check Up – is it Time to Buy New Technology?
Sometimes, it’s easy to tell if you need a new computer for your business. You might be adding a new employee, or an existing desktop has had a meltdown and your technical support team tells you that it’s definitely not worth replacing. Other times, a relatively new device simply might need a minor repair or an inexpensive memory boost to get it up to par. Those are the times when it’s easy to tell whether you need to invest in new technology. For most organizations, it’s the gray areas in between that cause the most angst.
For example, most manufacturers and tech experts agree on general guidelines for when to replace your existing technology. Desktops generally last around 5 years. Laptops usually will function for 3 years (heavy use) to 5 years (light use). When it comes to tablets, an iPad’s life expectancy is about 4 years (subtract a bit for other brands). Cell phones are around 3 years.
How well and how effectively your employees communicate with you, with each other, and with clients has a huge impact on your bottom line.
However, many small- to medium-sized organizations tend to do the same thing that consumers do – use tech devices until they break. While that might be okay for a home tablet that you don’t rely on for daily work, that strategy doesn’t work nearly as well with a business. Why? Because functional technology is the lifeblood of most businesses. How well and how effectively your employees communicate with you, with each other, and with clients has a huge impact on your bottom line.
Most large organizations have technology replacement cycles built into their budgets – and many mid-size companies have a line item for ad hoc replacements, even if they are not on a regular rotation. However, most small businesses just replace devices as needed. So how can you tell when it’s time to replace a device that still appears to be functioning? Here are a few indications:
“Software and apps are continually being updated in today’s rapidly changing tech world. If your team’s devices won’t handle the latest updates, they may be working at a disadvantage.”
Time to task completion. Does it simply feel as if your employees are getting less done – and taking more time to do it? As devices age, they tend to get “bogged down” and take longer to perform simple tasks – such as opening applications. For example, I’m writing this on a four-year-old laptop that just took a full minute to do a simple file search. While you can try cleaning up desktops, deleting files that are no longer used, or even upgrading the memory, if a computer is simply too outdated, these fixes will only be temporary.
Upgrade failures. Software and apps are continually being updated in today’s rapidly changing tech world. If your team’s devices won’t handle the latest updates, they may be working at a disadvantage. Again, if it requires more than a memory boost to get the older models up to par, it’s time to look at newer versions.
Ease of use. Are your employees patching things together just to function? Maybe an employee has to send files to someone else’s desk because he or she can’t connect to the printer. Does someone have to walk into another office to handle a conference call because their speaker phone doesn’t work well enough to hear a client clearly? Have you ever had to have a colleague open a file because you don’t have the software to do so (and your computer doesn’t have the capacity to handle the program in question)? If your employees are dealing with any of these common scenarios, they aren’t working as efficiently as they could be, and that in turn is costing your organization time and money.
One of our most popular services is Computer Purchase Advice – we can give you a recommendation on what to purchase based on your business’s specific needs. If you need any help choosing the right piece of technology, please give us a call at (810) 695-9869. – Vinnie Sanchez, PCS Computer Technician
Personnel changes. This could be a good problem to have or a challenging situation to face. When a new employee comes on board or you have to let someone go and have other folks assume their workload, your technology needs have just changed. Whether folks need to do more with less or you need to onboard a new person, your old devices might not be up to the challenge.
If you see any of these warning signs in your organization, it’s time to consider some upgrades. The good news is that now is the ideal time of year to consider making changes. With end-of-the-year sales rapidly approaching and tax deadlines for capital improvements looming (if you are on a fiscal calendar year), the holiday season might be the best time financially to cross some technology items off your employees’ wish lists.