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When running a business, you want to get the most out of the equipment you buy. Unfortunately, that equipment will eventually fail or become obsolete to the point of being unusable. Anyone who has experienced being without their computer for a couple days will tell you to not wait until a total failure to order a new laptop. This avoidable inconvenience creates a loss of productivity and money. Replacing hardware needs to be planned and budgeted to minimize downtime. So, the question is: When do you replace your IT equipment?

The average lifecycle of office technology can be broken down like this:

Cell Phone 2 years
Laptop 3-4 years
Desktop 4-5 years
Server 5 years
Network hardware 5 years
Audio video hardware 6-7 years

Cell phones and laptops take a lot of mishandling so their lifecycle is sooner than say a desktop, which would be less likely to take a fall. If you’re using desktops, you get more time to utilize the hardware. But, as hardware advances, software does too. Newer software can take up more computer resources, and if the computer is older, you can feel it slowing down.

Most companies have the heart of their business on their server. It’s a big investment and makes a big effect on employee’s workflow. Whether it’s used to host shared files, run industry applications, or host email services, work can’t get done if the server can’t keep up. For servers it’s usually a sign to replace them when the vendor no longer supports the hardware. If Dell no longer makes the parts to replace some component that fails, would you be confidence to run on used hardware?

Keep in mind these are averages, and it really depends on the business and the budget. One thing to make clear though, computers will fail or get old. Make sure you have a plan in place before your copier from 2006 kicks the bucket.

Anthony Pratts