Fifty per cent of employees in companies that replace laptops every three years say that their satisfaction with IT is improving, according to our research.
By contrast, 64 per cent of organisations that replace laptops every six years or more (or when the device fails) see IT satisfaction either declining, or at a standstill.
It is not surprising to find a correlation between ageing technology and user satisfaction. Ageing devices are less reliable, fail more often, need restarting, may not support the latest software and may not connect to the latest hardware. The list goes on. This introduces stress and frustration to everyday tasks, with knock-on effects on employee productivity.
With that said, there is a relatively simple solution to combat the problem of ageing IT – refresh it. Doing so can perhaps create improvements in a surprising amount of areas for businesses.
5 reasons why you need to upgrade IT devices now
#1 – Processing speed
Given the speed at which technology evolves, by the time a device has seen three years’ service, it has already been through numerous updates which are designed for newer, more advanced and efficient devices. The software is too advanced and devices don’t have the level of processing power required to run at a fast enough pace.
That’s not to say that a device has reached the end of its life, but newer software relies on more up-to-date hardware to run it – and after three years, devices often can’t keep up. As a result, employees endure slower boot up times, longer waiting periods between pages, and more down time.
#2 – Higher productivity
Though it’s often not the highest priority for businesses, decreasing productivity caused by ageing devices deserves greater attention. According to the University of California, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on track once derailed from a task.
Separate research also suggests that 53 per cent of workers feel they would be more productive if their company gave them better technology to use. In addition, unproductive staff currently cost UK businesses £22bn each year – an average of £4,467 per employee every year. Suddenly, it seems productivity should become a higher priority for businesses.
A few unscheduled restarts and a slower boot time quickly add up. However, if you upgrade IT, boot times, updates and page jumping is much faster, lowering the risk of distraction, and in turn, the cost of unproductive employees.
#3 – Employee satisfaction
The effects of outdated devices are broader than the direct productivity hit. Satisfaction falls, frustration rises and employees feel less valued – all corrosive to a business.
Outdated IT devices are by no means the sole reason for employee disgruntlement but the problem is a contributing factor. On top of the cost of disengaged employees – who are responsible for a £340 billion hit on the economy every year – organisations also suffer further knock on effects. Before they actually leave, disgruntled employees generally take extra sick days and show a lack of creativity and innovation. As staff turnover rises, part of the £340bn cost goes towards money spent on training and recruitment – something which is avoided if employees remain happy.
It need not be like this. Besides working well, giving staff a new device to work with has an obvious effect: it makes it clear that employers are investing in their staff. Upgrade IT and it demonstrates clearly how they are valued and it shows that the organisation trusts its employees and helps them work at their best.
For employees who need to work flexibly, on the move, in client offices or from home, it makes sense to upgrade IT every two years. For others, with a fixed workplace, a four-year refresh plan may be more appropriate. The refresh plan should match the role, so that phones, mobiles, laptops and tablets perform as required, employees remain engaged, and IT support costs are kept under control.
‘It is a false economy to keep obsolescent technology in use for too long’
#4 – Write-off costs
A popular strategy that many companies undertake in acquiring IT devices through one single purchase or a handful of transactions. It gives outright ownership to the buying company and is seen as simplifying the way that departments manage their budgets.
There is an unintended consequence however: organisations often feel obliged to wring every ounce of value out of their purchase. As devices age, this imposes costs on IT support and inconvenience for users when a device does not work as planned. It is a false economy to keep obsolescent technology in use for too long.
The alternative is a flexible refresh plan where businesses only pay for the use of devices, before bringing in brand-new ones when necessary. In the long term, with no repair costs and less down time, this brings the cost of IT devices down quite considerably.
#4 – Improve security
Ageing IT devices may also be less resilient and pose security risks. Older hardware and software don’t only put a single system at risk, but also puts everyone else on the same network at risk too.
Older devices create vulnerabilities within networks, easily accessible for any “threat actor” to exploit. Simply using outdated software or equipment can create weak spots and windows of opportunity for hackers. The longer this software or hardware has been available, the longer hackers have had to find its weakness.
Newer devices integrate advanced security: businesses have one less thing to worry about when keeping their organisations secure.
#4 – Refresh for a longer life
Refreshing ageing IT regularly isn’t something that businesses typically spend much time thinking about. However, there is a business case to make for a more regular technology refresh. Alongside the improved user satisfaction seen in companies replacing IT every three years, newer devices save money and improve both security and employee productivity as well.
A regular refresh also means the used device has potential for a second life after refurbishing. Re-use displaces the manufacture of a new device, so this is a more sustainable approach if you want to upgrade IT as well.
Planning for end-user devices to have a regular refresh can reduce costs, improve the service, and make IT more sustainable too. One small change can make a big difference.
Carmen Ene is CEO of 3stepIT