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Is your business ready for a tech refresh?
It seems as if nothing ages quite as quickly as technology. Advances in hardware, software, mobile technology, and cloud computing are happening at lightning speed. And all these advances can age your IT fleet before its time. A technology refresh can be a great opportunity to increase efficiency, reduce security risks, and give your business a competitive boost. Yet, determining the necessity, scope, and timing of a refresh can be a daunting task.
So what’s the best strategy to maximize your current resources while deciding if the time is right for new IT investments? Maybe the best way to develop your business’s refresh strategy is to begin by asking the right questions. Here are eight things to consider before moving forward:
- Age: How old are each of your current IT assets? Identifying a resource that is useful as-is (or with minimal upgrades) is a first step to determining and prioritizing replacement needs.
- Capacity: Does your business have assets that are at or near maximum capacity? Determine the risks and business limitations of using resources that will soon be maxed out.
- Complexity: Is your current IT environment unnecessarily complex? How might investments in new resources simplify it and increase productivity?
- Cost: Is your current fleet of assets too costly to maintain? Is this cost pulling resources from other business priorities? Consider how new investments might reduce costs longer term.
- Risk: Do you have IT resources that present a continued risk to use? How would a failure impact your business? Beyond simple capacity limits, reliability and security are important factors to consider.
- Resources: Do you have the necessary time and personnel to support a new asset or larger infrastructure upgrade? Besides the initial monetary investment, consider training, support, and ramp-up time.
- Availability: Do you have an IT asset that’s inconsistent or unreliable? How much is the downtime costing you?
- Functionality: If you’re planning on upgrading an application, will your current infrastructure support it? Will you lose functionality of existing systems with an upgrade?
Once you’ve asked and answered the right questions, you can decide if it’s best to sit tight, phase in a targeted refresh or plan for more sweeping infrastructure upgrades. Determining if, where, and when your dollars will be spent is half the battle.
For companies that decide to move forward with a tech refresh, it’s important to understand the potential benefits:
- Risk reduction: As technology ages, the law of diminishing returns begins to apply. Though it may seem more cost-effective to keep a current asset, the trade-off might be increased liability through chronic inefficiencies or potential security risks. A tech refresh can offer the chance to save money, boost your business’s competitive advantage, meet new compliance mandates, reassure your clients, and better prepare your business for growth opportunities.
- Increased productivity: No technology works in isolation. An upgrade may mean the chance to reengage with your workforce and leverage office-bound employees in the field through mobile tools like the ProBook Notebook PCs, and ePrint-enabled printers.
- Scalability: The new advancements in cloud computing might surprise you. Leverage virtual servers for your computing and storage needs. Scale up or scale back to respond to changing customer demand without huge expenditures for onsite hardware.
Depending on the scope of your refresh plans, expense might seem like a serious roadblock. Fortunately, there are choices. To minimize capital outlay, consider flexible leasing options like HP’s 36 month 0% program. Or, phase in your refresh over a predetermined period to stagger the expense.
Whether you choose to put off your tech refresh for the time-being, invest in a simpler upgrade like purchasing new monitors, or dive in and explore the full range of asset upgrade options, the decision is a highly individual one. No single solution fits every business.
The best tech refresh strategy starts with taking a step back — understanding what your current IT needs are, anticipating future needs, researching the host of solutions available, and then determining how to move forward in the most cost-effective way.
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