All endpoint devices eventually break down or become obsolete. That is why IT professionals plan with the certainty that at some point, computers and PCs will have to be replaced. But the key question is – when?
The decisions governing how an organization will manage its PCs and laptops need to be made when the equipment is first purchased. That’s because lifecycle planning revolves around warranties, and there are choices to be made regarding initial length and extensions. Here are some of the options to consider when mapping out a strategy for replacing your endpoint devices.
Fixed Term Rotation
With this option, all computers are replaced when the initial warranty expires. Typically, the warranty will last for three years after which the equipment is replaced.
By replacing devices every three years, a company doesn’t need to purchase out-of-warranty support or rely on in-house resources to keep them running. However, over time it may prove to be a more expensive option with a regular outlay to replace equipment that may still be functioning well. Recycling can generate a modest return on used equipment but will only provide a fraction of the cost of a full replacement.
The lifecycle of PCs and laptops can be extended by a few years with the purchase of additional support after the expiration of the warranty. That means extending the warranty with the original supplier or paying another support specialist to fix the machines if they develop problems.
This option provides for a five or six-year lifecycle, but the cost of external support can be expensive. The wholesale replacement of all devices is pushed back, but there will still be inherent costs in maintaining the older machines.
If an organization has a proficient IT team, the lifecycle of endpoint devices can be indefinite, essentially servicing the machines until they can no longer be fixed. Once the warranty expires, there’s a complete reliance on self-maintenance to keep the equipment up and running.
Computers tend to break down in the first couple of years, and if they are out of warranty, they are less likely to be problematic. That makes the self-service option attractive but still relies on specialists who can minimize downtime and quickly restore the machine to its user. The self-maintenance option also opens more possibilities for repurposing older equipment. For instance, the life of laptops and PCs can be extended even further by turning them into thin clients, pared down to work exclusively on a virtual desktop with no processing happening any longer on the device itself.
Choosing the Right Option
Deciding how to manage the lifecycle of a device fleet comes down to how much IT support is available in-house. The more professional resources an organization can provide, the less it needs to spend on manufacturer warranties and out-of-warranty support.
Replacing equipment after the expiration of the warranty gives complete peace of mind and is a viable option for those with minimal self-support capabilities. The middle ground of purchasing external support for a fixed period extends the lifecycle but may prove costlier depending on how the equipment is used and maintained.
Ultimately, it’s all about establishing a lifecycle that’s cost-effective over the long term, and the plan needs to be crafted with a realistic appreciation of just how well (or poorly) an organization can look after its own IT headaches.