Hardware & Software (Is It Time to Upgrade)?

Like all business decisions these days, business owners must make informed decisions on upgrading computer hardware and software.  Business owner must consider costs of upgrading compared to costs of not upgrading.  Business owners must consider the age and efficiency of their technology and evaluate their needs.  Everyday new, faster systems are introduced and only a informed business owner can decide when the time is right to upgrade.  Computer hardware, software and peripherals do not last forever but the time when it is the right time to replace them or upgrade is always a difficult decision.  Here are some things to consider to help you make an informed decision.

Productivity – Will upgrading increase productivity? New system can effect productivity in positive ways, in today’s business environment many uses have more application open at one time and a new system with increased speed will have a positive effect on managing the time spent moving between applications.  Also time spent dealing with graphics and video files is greatly decreased with a more powerful system.  On the other hand applications like word processing or data input are equally affected by user input, typing speeds are also a factor to consider.  Productivity improvements are important issues to consider when making you decisions.

Training – With new or upgraded versions of software user training or re-training may be necessary.  Proper training on new feature or new software is critical to productivity and implementation of the new version your software.  Most hardware upgrades do not usually require re-training.  It is important to make sure your vendor offers the  training you will need to make a smooth transition of your upgrades.

Compatibility – It is critical to consider compatibility of older versions of software with new hardware.  It is equally important to consider compatibility of new or upgraded software with older hardware.  It is critical to have the proper configuration to ensure compatibility between software and hardware.  You must also consider the compatibility with customers and clients if you data share with them, accounting companies must insure their systems are compatible with clients data.

Upgrades vs Replacement – Yes to a point you can improve your current hardware with memory or storage and improve their performance.  Here are some factors to consider, new software and operating systems may have requirements that cannot be met by your current hardware. Cost, sometimes the costs associated with upgrades to your current hardware are not cost effective.  You must consider the costs of upgrading into the life span of your hardware.

Replacement Planning – A solid business plan includes a good replacement plan for all your technology.  Many businesses replace their equipment only when the equipment fails.  While for many companies, their budget does not allow for total replacement of all their equipment at one time.  While the life span of hardware and software must be evaluated, good planning and segmented replacement can ease the costs associated with the needs of your company.  A good rule of thumb is to consider the life span of equipment at five years.  An effective plan is to replace your oldest equipment each year over a five year period, this helps your company maintain a manageable technology budget each year.  After the first five years of this you have the budget in place to keep your equipment updated.  Today’s computers have a life span of about five years, after that you run the risk of hard drive and other component failure.  This plan also keeps your equipment and software from becoming incompatible with newer hardware and software.


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