Component Or Full Upgrade? Assessing The Costs Of Upgrading Business Systems

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Businesses are faced with the constant challenge of staying relevant, efficient, and product in an always changing Information Technology (IT) world, but how much of that change is relevant? Before pushing your IT department to invest in the latest workstation or refusing to step out of last decade’s tech, here are a few IT Asset Management considerations to help you make an informed upgrade decision.

Defining Obsolete For Your Business

There are a lot of market pressures that push consumers to buy the newest product on the market. Whether it’s a new version from your current manufacturer or a newer device from the competitor with a load of new promises, it’s hard to know when an upgraded is needed.

IT Asset Management (ITAM) professionals won’t be changing systems every year. Although there are incremental improvements made for computers and components every year, those improvements are hardly worth spending the cost of an entire system just to upgrade.

Most computers are faster than what the average user needs. Business systems, gaming computers, and other niche use systems are different because specific software packages may demand a specific level of performance, but for general business computers, this still doesn’t call for a yearly upgrade.

When a computer struggles to launch a program and sustain performance, it’s time to check for viruses, clean the cache and cookies, and then consider an upgrade. Obsolete isn’t about the year that a device or component releases, but how well it handles a particular request.

Component Upgrade Strategies 

System monitors such as the Windows Task Manager can help you keep tabs on different aspects of performance. These monitors can track the amount of memory used by programs to quickly deliver files, or the processor performance when trying to calculate different requests, which will tell you whether a specific component needs and upgrade.

By looking at the resource use, you can add up the system’s needs in multiple ways. You could see that your operating system (OS, such as Windows 7/8/10) uses around 2 gigabytes (GB), your main program uses maybe 200 megabytes (MB), and your browser may get up to around 1GB.

You could also just run everything you need, look at the total usage, and decide on whether to just order a few more gigabytes of memory or to double the amount to be well beyond your system’s needs.

Overkill isn’t necessary and can be expensive, but memory is one of those areas where having an excessive amount of resources is obtainable. Hard drives/solid state drives are another area of easy investment, as storage in the terabytes are almost the only thing on the mainstream market in a world where pictures and documents are barely taking up a few hundred gigabytes.

Processors are one area to be careful with. Although a faster processor means faster program launch and calculation of certain processes, they’re also heating liabilities. The faster the processor, the more heat generated and more cooling needed. A processor that isn’t cooled properly will slow down to stay at a safe temperature, rendering certain speeds inaccessible without more investments.

Such investments are necessary for computers that render graphics, such as graphic design computers. A faster processor and more memory are necessary when editing high detail with large canvasses so that, a designer will want a faster system with a graphics processing video card as well. This prevents waiting for several minutes just to erase or color a specific area–especially when 3D graphics are involved.

Full System Upgrade Requirements

Upgrading components are only a good idea if your system’s other components are still relevant. If you’re working with a 5 or 10-year-old system that needs upgrades on almost every part, you may as well get a new system.

There are still a few pitfalls to avoid when upgrading to a entirely new system. Aside from pairing the computer’s parts to your software’s needs, you need to consider how transferring data or creating a new business system environment will work.

IT Asset Management (ITAM) professionals may need to consider stocking backup drives and an inventory of system images when planning an upgrade. In addition to moving old information to new systems, the possibility of failure means having multiple copies of a system in order to make multiple transfer attempts or to roll back to a previous version.

ITAM policies for backup management can change depending on how often information is saved and whether those changes are done on business systems. You may want to order a large enough inventory of storage drive to handle daily backups, or limit the business to weekly backups.

Keep in mind that your business will need a server and specific employee tasks to perform the upgrades, and that investing in a drive backup device may not be financially viable for your business. If your business can get by with backing up just the company’s networked drives while making sure employees keep their own copies on hand, you can save a bit of money.

With the right combination of upgrades, repair inventory, and a plan for a full upgrade if the systems become too old, you can maintain your business’ IT asset lifecycle without spending a huge chunk of the budget whenever new computer commercials hit the market.

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