For business owners, investing in IT equipment and infrastructure is sadly never a one-and-done affair. Technologies change, standards are raised and previously essential hardware and software can become unreliable.
You don’t want to make constant, minor changes to your systems and processes if it’s not necessary, though, so how do you judge when it’s the best time to upgrade? Below, we’ll examine the decisions that you may need to make about the future of your IT equipment.
Do you need to upgrade?
There are a variety of reasons why it might be time to upgrade your equipment. The first is perhaps most obvious – are you finding that it’s taking longer and longer for employees to open or use certain applications? If you’re experiencing slowdown, that’s a strong sign that something’s no longer fit for purpose.
Consider also upgrading preemptively when you know that greater pressure will soon be placed on your systems. A rollout of new, processing-intensive software is likely to demand much more of your systems, for example, so you could head off potential issues by upgrading computers at the same time. This is also true if your company is growing or about to grow rapidly – the more users joining your network, the slower it is likely to be for everyone, so investing in extra capacity before those users begin work is likely to save you stress in the long run.
Repair or replace?
If you’ve identified equipment that is struggling, faulty or even broken, you may be faced with a choice of whether to repair it or replace it outright. Make sure to do a proper examination of all the possible root causes – it’s much cheaper to replace, say, FireWire cables connecting a printer to a computer than the printer itself, if the connection itself is the source of the failure.
It’s now that you should consider your long-term plans. You should look to minimize the number of times that you need to spend on IT upgrades so, when you do replace equipment, it’s worth going for the best available – it will meet your needs for longer. If you know that a superior option is on the way but not yet on the market, you may find it better to try to repair poorly performing equipment for the short term rather than replace outright only to want to do it again once your preferred solution becomes available.
Upgrading your hardware
If you are experiencing poor performance from your computers, you don’t need to replace them entirely straight away; look into the possibility of replacing specific parts to meet your needs.
When running speed is an issue, it’s relatively straightforward to install additional RAM to bolster memory. For those working with video-editing or other demanding graphical processes, an improved graphics card may be all that you need. If data management is becoming tricky, an external hard drive could ease the burden. You could even look into replacing your computer’s processor entirely – note that it’s advisable to bring in a professional for such a task, as any mistakes could see you needing to replace the entire computer after all.