Replacing outdated computers can be a tricky task for small-business owners. Many fear that taking a new computer out of the box and pressing the power button for the first time can feel like driving a new car home—it depreciates more quickly than you’d like. Even so, upgrading your computers is essential for business survival, and it can save you money in the long run.
As a technology consultant for small businesses, I often hear from clients who are looking for ways that technology can increase revenues, reduce expenses, and increase profit margins, while maximizing customer and employee satisfaction. Sometimes, purchasing new computers for your business can help you meet these goals.
Although the upfront cost of new computer systems can seem overwhelming, the price of not upgrading your system can be just as high. Although a complete PC-inventory overhaul is not right for everyone, consider this: We estimate that annual hardware-failure rates double beginning in the fourth year of the equipment’s life. That can amount to thousands of dollars in recovery and upgrade fees for just one business—maybe yours.
Before upgrading your entire computer system, you should sit down with your consultant to evaluate your current business requirements, employee technology usage, and improvements you might like to make.
The Top Five Reasons to Upgrade Your Computers
- Meltdowns increase as your computers age. Computers older than three years have annual failure rates of 48 to 60 percent. If the computer is supporting technology such as printers, scanners, faxes, and disk drives, the risk of a crash increases.
- Lost productivity poses a significant problem for small businesses. Increased hardware failures result in lost work time. We estimate small businesses lose 1 to 4 hours of time with every computer crash, depending on the type of failure. Multiply that by the number of users, and it can become a substantial hidden cost of maintaining older computer systems.
- Decreased technical support often comes when warranties expire. Although most major manufacturers will continue to support their products for several years after expiration, you should be aware that support may not include upgrades or equipment repair.
- Maintenance expenses can equal the price of replacing the equipment. On average, you can expect to pay between $100 and $300 per year for non-warranty service for desktop systems, including for a standard monitor.
- Repair delay is common. Prepare yourself for increased costs for post-warranty problems. As your computers get older, newer models employ new technology, software, and networking infrastructure. Parts for your older machines can become increasingly more difficult to find, and they are often more expensive.
Starting a small business involves incredible risks and costs, and so does making choices with your computer systems. You may be risking the viability of your business by not replacing your outdated computer systems. A qualified solution provider can assist you with technology systems analysis that will help you make the right choice, to increase the productivity and bottom line of your business.
John Strauss is the vice president of services at SARCOM, which designs and implements technology processes and solutions for small businesses. He’s also an ITSPA advisory board member. Contact SARCOM at (614) 854-1000 or visit www.sarcom.com for more information.
SARCOM is a member solution provider company of ITSPA (the Information Technology Solution Providers Alliance), which provides an objective resource dedicated to helping small and medium-size businesses grow by adopting technology to solve business challenges.