A technology refresh can be a great opportunity to increase efficiency, reduce security risks and give your business a competitive boost.

So what’s the best strategy to maximize your current resources while deciding if the time is right for new IT investments? Here are eight things to consider before moving forward:

  1.  Age: How old are each of your current IT assets (computers, printers, networking equipment, etc.)? Identifying a resource that is useful as-is (or with minimal upgrades) is the first step to determining and prioritizing replacement needs.
  2.  Capacity: Does your business have assets that are at or near maximum capacity? Determine the risks and business limitations of using resources that will soon be maxed out.
  3.  Complexity: Is your current IT environment unnecessarily complex? How might investments in new resources simplify it and increase productivity?
  4.  Cost: Is your technology too costly to maintain? Is this cost pulling resources from other business priorities? Consider how new investments might reduce costs in the long term.
  5.  Risk: Do you have technology that presents a continued risk to use? How would a failure impact your business? Beyond simple capacity limits, reliability and security are important factors to consider.
  6.  Resources: Do you have the necessary time and personnel to support a new asset or larger infrastructure upgrade? Besides the initial monetary investment, consider training, support and ramp-up time.
  7.  Availability: Do you have an IT asset that’s inconsistent or unreliable? How much is downtime costing you?
  8.  Functionality: If you’re planning on upgrading an application, will your current infrastructure support it? Will you lose functionality of existing systems with an upgrade?

Once you’ve asked and answered the right questions, you can decide if it’s best to sit tight, phase in a targeted refresh or plan for more sweeping infrastructure upgrades. For companies that decide to move forward with a tech refresh, it’s important to understand these potential benefits:

  • Risk reduction: As technology ages, the law of diminishing returns begins to apply. Though it may seem more cost-effective to keep a current asset, the trade-off might be increased liability through inefficiencies or potential security risks. A tech refresh can offer the chance to save money, boost your business’ competitive advantage, meet new compliance mandates, reassure your clients and better prepare your business for growth opportunities.
  • Increased productivity: No technology works in isolation. An upgrade may mean the chance to re-engage with your workforce and leverage office-bound employees in the field through mobile tools.
  • Scalability: The new advancements in cloud computing might surprise you. Leverage virtual servers for your computing and storage needs. Scale up or scale back to respond to changing customer demand without huge expenditures for onsite hardware.

The best tech refresh strategy starts with taking a step back — understanding what your current IT needs are, anticipating future needs, researching the host of solutions available and then determining how to move forward in the most cost-effective way.

Whether you choose to put off your tech refresh for the time-being, invest in a simpler upgrade like purchasing new monitors, or dive in and explore the full range of asset upgrade options, the decision is a highly individual one. No single solution fits every business.