The Crucial Role of Hardware Refresh Cycles

In today’s technology-centric workplace, hardware plays a vital role. For the modern accounting firm, they’re a means of creative expression, powerful analytical tools, essential communication devices, and much more. 

In this blog, we are going to talk about refreshing your IT hardware at regular intervals to maximize profitability, decrease employee downtime, bolster security, and minimize unplanned expenses. 

The Cost of Downtime 🖥️

Let’s look at some key things to take into consideration when an employee’s computer fails unexpectedly. 

  • Employee Wage: The hourly wage of the affected employee is a primary factor. If the employee is unable to work, their wage during the downtime is a direct cost. 
  • Lost Productivity: This includes the work not performed by the employee during the downtime. The cost is higher for employees in critical roles or those working on time-sensitive projects. 
  • Impact on Other Employees: Other team members may also be affected if their work depends on the employee with the failed computer. 
  • IT Support Costs: The cost of IT staff time and resources to diagnose and fix the issue, including any replacement hardware or software. 
  • Potential Revenue Loss: If the employee’s work directly impacts revenue generation (e.g., sales or customer service roles), downtime can lead to lost sales or dissatisfied customers. 
  • Intangible Costs: This includes decreased employee morale and potential damage to the company’s reputation, especially if the downtime affects external services. 

To quantify this, a simple equation to estimate downtime costs: 

Downtime Cost = (Hourly Wage of Employee × Hours of Downtime) + Additional Costs 

Additional Costs include IT support, lost opportunities, and more. 

Consider it takes 3-5 business days to get a new computer shipped to an employee, plus another day just to make sure they are setup and running on the new computer effectively.  That is a whopping 32-48 hours of downtime your employee could be experiencing! 

The Ripple Effect of Downtime 🔄

The scenario above is only for failing to plan appropriately when replacing the computers your staff use. Just imagine the impact and damages that are caused by shared resources like servers or network equipment that may be used by your whole company. 

Downtime Cost = (# of Staff x Cumulative Hourly Wage of Staff × Hours of Downtime) + Additional Costs 

👉What Should I Be Doing? 

One of several roles of your IT department is to make sure you are replacing hardware on a scheduled cadence.  Some common guidelines are listed below but it isn’t perfect and isn’t the same for every single system in your firm.  Sometimes, you can absolutely get away with stretching the life of some systems by extending their service contracts, installing upgrades, or simply upcycling devices to part-time employees or conference rooms.  The goal is to make sure all key systems for your staff are taken care of and you can reduce the impact to your firm. 

Replace computers in your environment right away that are over 4 years old, and then create an annual plan with your IT department to replace a standard number of systems and build it into a routine. 

Total # of Computers / Refresh Interval = # of Computers Replaced Each Year 

16 Computers / 4 Year Refresh = 4 Computers Each Year 

Replace network hardware and Peripherals like firewalls, switches, wireless devices, and monitors in your office every 5-7 years.  This goes a long way to not only ensure you have a healthy network that doesn’t go down at the worst possible time, but ensures your security is top notch, and compatibility with new devices that your staff brings in. 

The Bottom Line 🚀

If your firm needs help budgeting your IT spend or figuring out the highest priority items in your office that need to be replaced, make sure to reach out to your Client Advocate with Tech Guru to see how we can help.  Over the last 20+ years that Tech Guru has been around, we have helped many clients lead their ideal lives in harmony with their technology. 

If you are not a client of Tech Guru but would like to find out more about how we can help build a technology plan, schedule a workshop to find out more.