How old are the machines in your office?
If you aren’t planning a retirement party for each of them, you may be in for a rude awakening.
Most business machines have five years of the good life in them, and businesses that aren’t actively monitoring their lifecycle are apt to run into problems. This is where a replacement lifecycle plan can come in handy.
Why Is a Replacement Lifecycle Plan Important?
Putting together a plan to replace your company’s machines every five years is important for one simple reason: stability.
As machines age, they get susceptible to problems that will put you in a break/fix situation, and the likelihood usually increases after their fifth birthday. If you aren’t on a managed services plan, you will waste time and money trying to find a qualified technician to fix the issue and bring the hardware back to you. Many small businesses don’t have extra workstations to pick up the slack, so when something breaks it often means someone can’t do their job. That’s not good.
Computers are not like cars. You can’t run them into the ground. Manufacturing support and security updates fade away long before your machine dies, which will leave your business exposed to multiple risks. A replacement plan also ensures your technology can support the latest cloud-based technology, allowing you to maximize productivity and security.
How Can You Create a Replacement Plan?
As you might expect, a replacement plan involves more than just deciding to replace your gear every few years.
Your machines probably aren’t all the same age, for one thing, which means you’ll have to research each piece of hardware, and where it is at in the lifecycle.
The best way to start is by getting an IT assessment from a managed services provider (MSP). This will provide a snapshot of where you are today, and where you need to be tomorrow. A consultant will look at your machines, document the model and warranty info, and then grade them.
This process will help you formulate a strategy and prioritize machines that need replacing, then you can start putting dates on the calendar and allocating funds for new laptops and desktops.
Should You Use Leased Hardware Instead?
Setting up a replacement plan makes it easier to avoid downtime and plan for expenses, but it begs the question: Does it make more sense to lease the equipment?
Industry-grade computers are not cheap, and a growing company will find the cost of replacements adds up fast. HaaS (Hardware as a Service) is becoming an alternative means for SMBs to replace their desktops and notebooks. Instead of buying new computers, businesses can lease their machines from an MSP. This option offers several advantages.
Operating Costs vs. Capital
Instead of getting approval to spend thousands of dollars for replacing machines all at once, businesses pay a regular monthly operating expense which includes ongoing support.
When machines die unexpectedly, their replacement costs are unplanned. With HaaS, everything—from the lease to ongoing customer support—is included in a monthly fee.
Keeping Pace with Technology
Since the machines are leased to you by an MSP, you always have top-of-the-line equipment to accomplish your tasks. You never have to worry about your tech falling out of date.
Clients often ask if they have to lease every machine from us if they switch to a HaaS plan. The answer is definitely no. You might have 50 machines in your workplace, but maybe only five of them are high-use, critical computers (like POS terminals). If you want a little extra insurance on those machines, you can lease them and purchase the rest, whatever makes the most sense for your business.
Planning for the Future
Creating a replacement plan is about planning for the future and averting unnecessary downtime. For some businesses, a smart plan will involve allocating funds for new purchases. Other companies will find it makes more sense to lease their equipment and forget about replacement planning.
Some businesses may even benefit from switching to thin clients, or computers with no hard drives, operating systems, memory, or applications. These setups include a keyboard and monitor that connect to the cloud, where all the apps and processes run on a remote server.
Technology rarely breaks at a convenient time. We all know this. But you can improve the odds immensely by investing in new tech at the right time. This approach can actually save you money in the long term, and reduce outbursts of profanity when a server goes up in smoke an hour before the deadline.