It’s common knowledge that technical equipment doesn’t last forever but, less commonly known is how long its lifespan actually is. Your equipment still seems to function well but, with technology constantly evolving, manufacturers boasting the benefits of their latest kit and significant investments at stake, it can become confusing and difficult to know the truth about your equipment lifecycle and where your budgets should be spent. Here we highlight nine common IT lifecycle beliefs and the truth behind them.
1. Networking equipment should be replaced every 3-5 years – SCARE
Equipment manufacturers encourage us to believe that networking equipment is best replaced after 3-5 years. But, in reality, its useful life is much longer. The introduction of EOL mandates by OEMs can make it seem like your equipment is reaching its use-by date. However, these mandates often just signify that a manufacturer has introduced new equipment into the market. And as a result, no longer wishes to invest in the older models.
This doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to invest in the newer models if your current equipment still provides the performance you need. Whilst new functionality, speed and capacity is nice to have, it may not be worth the additional investment if it’s capability you don’t need and are unlikely to use. Most networking equipment has a useable lifespan of up to 10 years so it’s worth weighing up your technological demands, current resources and business objectives to see if your IT budgets could be better spent elsewhere.
Upgrading may turn out to be the best option, but the decision to upgrade should be based on genuine business needs, not a fear of your equipment deteriorating.
2. Buying refurbished equipment is risky – SCARE
There is a common misconception that buying refurbished equipment is akin to buying a second-hand car – you may get lucky and find it works and services you for years, but you may also be riddled with costly problems, break-downs and unreliability. This misconception makes buying refurbished seem like a risk many businesses aren’t prepared to take.
The truth is far removed from this scenario. A reputable trader will ensure refurbished equipment is tested to manufacturer standards, ensuring it’s as good as new, every time. Any equipment that cannot be restored to this condition will simple not be refurbished, so the risk really becomes minimal.
That’s not to say there aren’t traders around who sell sub-standard equipment. But the tell-tale signs of quality accreditations, manufacturer-grade testing equipment, inclusion of equipment accessories and decent warranties should enable you to tell the good from the bad when it comes to suppliers.
Buying refurbished can offer up to 90% cost savings, and with the reassurance of OEM-quality standards, it’s an option well worth considering.
3. There is an optimum time to replace your equipment – TRUTH
If your evolving requirements make an upgrade the best solution for your company, there are still ways to ensure you gain maximum value for your existing kit. If it cannot be of use to you elsewhere in your network, trade-in options can be the best way to return maximum value. Thereby reducing the cost of your new equipment.
In this case, it makes sense to be aware of the value depreciation curve for your equipment. Value depreciation over time is inevitable and retaining assets for too long can be costly. This means there does become an optimum time to replace. Balancing the value achieved through the use of the equipment with the return value than can be achieved upon resale. Timing an upgrade to secure maximum value on trade-in will optimise your investments and help your business’s bottom line.
4. EOS items can no longer be supported – SCARE
Once an OEM announces they will no longer be supporting a product, it’s tempting to think upgrading is the only option. This is simply not true. Manufacturer support contracts are not the only option and third-party support provides comprehensive options for EOL, EOS, post-warranty and refurbished items at a significantly reduced cost.
The provisioning of third party support takes away the threat of arbitrary OEM policies. And allows you to keep your EOS equipment until such time as your business demands an upgrade.
5. OEM support contracts are the safest support option – SCARE
Support contracts with your OEM offer a degree of reassurance in terms of guaranteed quality and expertise. It makes them feel like the safest option. They also tend to be the most expensive option. They come with a number of caveats including increased cost for any end-of-life equipment and arbitrary end-of-support mandates. And long before your equipment actually needs to be replaced.
Third-party support contracts not only overcome these restrictions, offering support for post-warranty, EOL, EOS and refurbished equipment, they also provide an equal level of quality and expertise, at a cheaper cost, and often with additional added benefits.
Look out for vendor accreditations and marks of quality such as ISO certifications. These can provide the same level of reassurance in terms of expertise and quality that you’d get from a manufacturer. An awareness of how the supplier manages their spares and logistics can also provide additional reassurance in terms of response times. With these factors firmly in place, there’s no reason to assume a third-party contract will deliver anything less than the manufacturer can offer you.
A third party supplier will often also hold expertise across multiple different manufacturers. This means they can provide support for all your equipment under one contract. This allows for easier management, removing the need for disparate contracts with different companies for each brand of equipment.
Sometimes, a third party supplier will allow equipment in different locations and required SLAs to sit under the same contract. And they will pro-rate any new additions to ensure you’re able to maintain one single renewal date.
By helping you to extend the life of your existing equipment, third-party contracts provide a viable and safe alternative to both expensive OEM support and system upgrades. Furthermore, they provide much greater levels of flexibility.
Read part two here.
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