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Systems upgrades: how often should you do it?

By CCIWA Editor

Technology is now moving faster than hardware fails, which makes an interesting dynamic for upgrading your systems.  How often should you upgrade, how do you know it will increase your profits and how much should you spend? 

Oscar Wetherell, managing director of Scope Logic Group, which is an information, communications and technology (ICT) consultancy says “end points” like computers and phones now have many years of operating life.   

“Basically, computers have such a low failure rate now, that you can still be working on a computer that’s 8-10 years old, but it’s slow,” he says. 

“So, if you wait for your computer to fail before you replace it, you probably are hampering your business. 

“And it’s frustrating...and in this world where everything needs to happen now, to wait for things to fail isn’t the best productivity path for a business to be on. 

My recommendation (for end point items) is to look at the warranty and your depreciation schedule within that.” 

Wetherell explains that how often you upgrade end point items really depends on your business type.  

For example, in some industries you’ll be on a computer for a total of 30 minutes a day, but on others you’ll be on the computer for eight hours and needing the computer to keep up with your speed.   

With software, he says there is no longer a need to have set times for upgrading because subscriptions now allow you to upgrade your servers and infrastructure whenever they become available.  

When to consider technology upgrades: 

  • Growing your business: But first look at your existing technology and see if it can fulfil your needs first. 
  • Changing your service/productWhen you make this type of change, your technology needs may change. 
  • Fixing pain points: There might be a bottleneck or problem in your business that wastes employee time or causes a problem for your end point user i.e. Slow online payment system. 
  • Improvements: Both to customer service and to employee workflows.  
  • Competitors: Their systems are better than yours and it’s showing in sales/profitability.  
  • Timing: You’ve been thinking about doing it for a long time but haven’t started yet.  

What you might consider upgrading:  

  • telephone systems 
  • internet connection 
  • server 
  • accounting systems 
  • payroll/HR/invoicing 
  • point-of-sale payments  
  • hardware.  

When considering an upgrade, work out if it will make a difference to your end product/service and the customer experience. If not, it may not be worth spending the money.  

Between 2013 and 2018, the average technology spend for small-to-medium businesses was 2.3 per cent to 2.5 per cent. 

But any technology spending should maximise productivity in your business and minimise risk.   

Logically, plan for any upgrade with advice from an ICT expert if needed, to minimise wastage in time and cost.  

Technology is now moving faster than hardware fails, which makes an interesting dynamic for upgrading your systems.  

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