Blog / Four Tips for Hardware Investment Planning
Computer hardware is expensive, with a single device often costing upwards of a thousand dollars. With that kind of price tag it’s no wonder that many organizations are hesitant to invest in new hardware. What many business owners don’t take into consideration is the lost productivity involved with using old machines. In fact, according to a 2018 J. Gold and Associates research report, an old PC can cost up to $17,000 in lost productivity and maintenance/repairs.
These stats alone should encourage you to plan hardware upgrades sooner than later, but now is an especially good time to plan what your IT future will look like. Are you anticipating a full return to the office or are you moving almost entirely to remote work? What about restructuring offices into shared workstations, allowing workers to rotate between working from home and coming in to the office?
Regardless of whether you’re looking to capture lost productivity or to bring your office infrastructure into alignment with future work plans, there are four main considerations you should think about while planning your hardware upgrades:
Investing in new hardware will do you no good if that hardware doesn’t meet your needs, so features that will keep your business growing should trump all other considerations. For example, laptops are best for team members who travel frequently and need to make presentations, but easily upgradable personal computers might be more relevant to your office environment. On the other hand, remote work has become a necessity thanks to the pandemic, so mobility may be an important feature for all your computers.
It’s also important to remember that hardware doesn’t just refer to computers; you should also be thinking about what tablets you’ll need or if 2-in-1s would work better, if your printer will need to connect to mobile devices, what your modem/router needs will be, and so on. Make sure you have a good understanding of what you need to do and all the hardware features involved in getting it done.
Pretty much everyone wants the best performance they can get out of every machine, and they usually want it as cheaply as possible. However, it’s important to keep perspective about team needs to keep your hardware budget in line. Do you have a video editing or engineering department? They likely need top-end equipment with powerful graphics cards and processing power. That doesn’t mean you should be spending top-dollar, even if there’s a bulk a deal, on a computer that will likely only be used for basic office or administration tasks.
On the other hand, another critical consideration about performance is whether the hardware will still perform well in the future, when data processing requirements are much higher. From this perspective it often doesn’t pay to purchase the cheapest unit. Plan and budget for machines that will provide four to five years of productive use from your hardware.
A topic closely related to performance is reliability. Does the new hardware come with sufficient warranty to ensure repairs are done quickly and without cost for the life of the unit? There are very good reasons for purchasing commercial-grade extended warranties for critical computing hardware.
No matter how zippy the performance, your hardware will do no good if there’s no way to store the considerable amount of data your likely generating. Storage considerations shouldn’t be for each device individually (although that can certainly inform your decision), but should focus on your business as an entity. Are there available cloud-solutions, or should you invest in a physical hard drive? Don’t forget to include backups and business-continuity requirements when figuring out your storage needs as well.
Although IT security problems are typically linked to malware, hackers, and other online threats, it’s still important to take security into consideration for hardware upgrades. These days there are many different ways for users to authenticate, including thumbprint scanners, facial recognition, voice recognition, and traditional passwords/codes. Your decision here may affect how easily your computers’ security is defeated in the event of theft.
These are the four main issues you should take into account when planning your next hardware upgrade, but as always, every business will have its own requirements. If you have any unique hardware requirements, or would like to consult with one of our technology experts, contact your TRINUS account manager today.
The TRINUS team