One of the hidden costs that many business owners aren’t aware of is related to older computer workstations. If PCs are kept in operation too long, they can end up hurting productivity, security, and more.
But knowing when to upgrade your business computer can be difficult. Do you wait until an employee starts complaining about computer problems regularly? Do you just choose a certain replacement cycle?
It’s natural to want to get as much life out of computers as you can, but it often causes companies to wait too long to replace their computers. This can be one reason they never seem to get where they want to be as far as their bottom line. Those older computers are costing them much more than they realize.
So, what is the optimum replacement cycle for a business computer? It’s about 3 years.
Why three years? We’ll get into the details next.
Why 3 Years is the “Sweet Spot” for Business PC Replacement
The three-year replacement cycle isn’t just a figure pulled out of thin air. It’s based upon studying business computer use and what happens year after year in a computer lifecycle.
Intel did a study on the best refresh cycle for a company computer workstation, and here’s what they found that make three years the “sweet spot.”
Service Call Costs Are Lower
Employees with computers older than 4 years made twice as many service calls than employees with computers that were less than 3 years old.
Not only that, but the length of the service call was shorter for younger computers.
- Computer 2-3 years old: 39-minute average service call
- Computer 4+years old: 56-minute average service call
So, from both the number of service calls and the average time per each call, a company is paying much more for a computer that is four or more years old. This includes not only the cost of the service call itself but also the downtime for the user.
Downtime Costs are Lower
Downtime is another area where the cost of keeping your business workstations too long can creep up on a business owner without them even realizing it. Downtime can be a few minutes one day and a few hours another. But it all adds up.
Downtime can cost small businesses as much as $427 per minute.
According to the Intel study, between 1-3 years there was no significant difference in downtime incidents, but once a computer is older than 3 years, incidents start going up.
By the time a computer is over 4 years old, the downtime incidents are more than twice what they are between 1-3 years. See the graph from the Intel report below.
Fewer Security Breaches
You may be surprised at just how much more of a risk older computers pose than computers that are 3 years old or less.
Computers that are 4+ years in age are 3x more prone to having a security breach than a computer that is less than 3 years.
This can mean that for every business workstation you have at 48 months or older, your business has three times more of a chance that the device will cause a data breach or malware infection on your network.
Less Risk of Data Loss
One more area where there’s a significant difference between PCs that are 1-3 years old and those that are 4+ years is the risk of data loss. Older computers are naturally more likely to have hard drive crashes and conflicts with newer versions of software or hardware, and thus are more at risk of a crash and lost data.
4+ year old computers lose data at a rate that is 3x higher than computers between 1-3 years old.
Costs of Holding Onto Business Workstations Too Long
While the cost of a new computer is a one-time outlay, the costs of keeping that computer operating at your business too long, can continue month-after-month.
Here are some of the costs associated with keeping a PC past its effective lifespan:
- Loss of User Productivity: When users have to wait on slow computers or stop what they’re doing to reboot due to an error message, it’s a big drag on productivity. Those minutes here and there can add up fast. If a user loses an hour a day due to a slow and problematic PC, that’s about 20 hours each month.
- Higher Security Costs: When you’re using older devices, you can run into higher costs to keep them secure. They may hit an OS upgrade wall because the hardware is too old or not be compatible with a newer IT security solution.
- Downtime Costs: We’ve touched on downtime costs in the statistics above. It’s something that saps away dollars each minute a PC is down, and an older computer can end up costing much more than the price of a new one due to the downtime costs.
Get Help Upgrading Your Business PCs from Pro Tech Guy
We have a number of business workstations built for productivity and speed. If it’s time to upgrade those 4+ year workstations, we can help you do it affordably.
Contact us today to discuss your business workstation needs. Call 508-364-8189 or reach us online.