Lifecycling – What It Is, Why It Is Important, and Who Should Be Doing It

lifecycling for small businessOne of the best ways to maximize the value of the equipment that you purchase for the operation of your small business is to keep it maintained to ensure proper function and longevity. This holds true for computer hardware, which includes desktop workstations, company laptops, and peripherals, such as printers, copy machines, and other essential equipment. The more you can do to maintain it, the longer it will last. For small-to-medium sized businesses, lowering costs can be crucial, especially as you are building up sales or service clients toward your company’s success. However, there is no computer that will last forever, even with proper maintenance and all the latest updates and data cleaning. Hardware lifecycle replacement or LCR and lifecycling, as it is known in the industry, is something that we all have to deal with sooner or later.

What is Lifecycle Replacement?

The best way to describe the process of hardware lifecycle replacement is to say that it is designed to maintain secure functionality and productivity with a pre-set plan to obtain, track, support, and eventually replace out-of-date hardware and other tech-based equipment that you use within your business. Other terms used to describe the same process include hardware refreshment, IT asset management, and lifecycle management for business. Your in-house IT department, Chief Information Officer, or outsource technology support team should work with you to ensure that you have a proper plan for lifecycling hardware in place.

What Happens Without Lifecycle Management for Business?

If you do not have a plan in place to track, support, and replace your company’s existing hardware, you could run the risk of critical failure caused by a crashed or broken device. Even if the workstation or laptop does not completely stop functioning, repeated errors, crashes, loading issues, and other problems could result in decreased productivity for you and your staff. A good IT team should be able to stay on top of hardware lifecycle replacement tracking and scheduling to ensure that you don’t run into these problems. If they occur earlier than anticipated, a backup plan should be in place to allow budgeting and services for refreshing laptops and workstations, as needed.

Top issues caused by not lifecycling hardware include:

  1. Emergency replacements of broken or crashed devices can be more costly than planned replacements.
  2. Work stoppage – or slowdown – due to broken or slowed devices can cost you sales and customers.
  3. Potential data loss could be experienced due to a computer or network crash without regular replacements.
  4. Employee morale could also be impacted by having outdated hardware, due to frustrating work experiences.
  5. You might miss out on business opportunities caused by inferior hardware performance.

What Type of Businesses Require Lifecycling?

While it might seem like large corporations would have a bigger need for hardware lifecycle replacement, the truth is that organizations of all sizes should be proactive in lifecycling hardware. Small businesses, medium-sized companies, and large-scale corporate offices all need to invest in quality equipment to ensure efficient, productive, and secure operations. Refreshing laptops and workstations is vital to the ongoing success of your business and should be a priority – even if you are just starting out. Businesses working across all industries, whether they are online, web-based organizations, service-oriented companies, or brick-and-mortar consumer-based operations need to get on the ball with lifecycle management for business.

How Long Should Your Equipment Last?

No one wants to replace their computer hardware and business equipment sooner than necessary, so it is important to have a basic idea of how long everything should last. When you work with an IT professional, either in-house or outsourced to a reputable company, this is one of the first things that should be identified with regard to lifecycling hardware. The more you know about when your computers were purchased, as well as any other devices, peripherals, or equipment, the easier it will be to start tracking it so you can make plans for refreshing laptops and workstations, as well as everything else.

  • Desktop/Workstation Computers – approximately 5-7 years
  • Laptop/Mobile Devices – approximately 3-5 years
  • Corporate Copy Machines/Printers – approximately 3-10 years
  • Small Business Network Printers – approximately 4-5 years
  • Network Servers – approximately 3-5 years
  • LCD Monitors – approximately 7-10 years
  • Cell Phones/Smart Phones – approximately 4-5 years

What Needs to Be Included in Lifecycling Planning?

Once you have identified all of the hardware, equipment, and devices used within your business and have setup a system to track them for hardware lifecycle replacement, it’s time to make plans for what will be done when the time comes for refreshing laptops and workstations. It is essential to have an idea what your requirements are for business operations – do you need a lot of data storage or are you more inclined to store things in the cloud? Do you need a lot of speed to ensure quick loading of reports, spreadsheets, and apps? Work directly with your IT support team to get a handle on what you will need when it comes time to upgrade and replace lifecycling hardware.

Who will you purchase your replacement equipment from for your small business? Will you work directly with a company or elect to purchase from a known vendor? You and your IT team can stay on top of costs and associated fees for purchasing the equipment you will need as part of your lifecycle management for business. Contract negotiations on leased equipment, as well as support for purchased hardware, should also be a part of the process. Payment for lifecycling hardware must also be considered, as well as any financing or special exchange options that might be available to recycle your outdated equipment.

What is the Process for Lifecycling Hardware?

When the time comes to replace your outdated equipment, your IT department will work to ensure that all the boxes are checked when it comes to exchanging hardware and devices, as needed. All hardware configuration, migration, delivery, training, and installation should be taken care of by your tech team to ensure that there are no gaps in the process. New devices often require additional training for staff, especially if new levels of enhanced security are added as part of the upgrade process. Strategic management and support should be provided to ensure a seamless and frustration-free experience for everyone involved.

Some of the services that your IT team should provide include:

  • Training for staff to ensure that the new hardware doesn’t result in productivity or efficiency issues.
  • Help Desk and end-user support, especially if new software or operating systems are required.
  • Asset management to include the new equipment into the system for future hardware lifecycle replacement.
  • Repair and maintenance as an ongoing service to ensure that all software, operating systems, drivers, and other essential updates are made as soon as they are available.
  • Security services and installations, to include things like anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall services.
  • Business continuity, including the design of a comprehensive backup and recovery program.

In addition to setting up the new equipment, proper retirement of outdated hardware should include:

  1. Retrieval of replaced hardware, equipment, and devices to a secured area for control purposes.
  2. Sanitation and decommissioning of the equipment to ensure all security risks are avoided.
  3. Reclaiming and reassigning any licensing for the hardware, software, operating systems and apps.
  4. Proper disposal or recycling of the replaced equipment.

More Benefits of Lifecycliing for Business

As you might have noticed, there are a lot of advantages associated with refreshing laptops and workstations, as well as other business equipment, in a timely manner. Lifecycle management for business is something you can do in-house or can outsource to a reliable IT support service if you don’t have the ability to do it on your own. Small businesses will often hire technology companies to provide a wide range of services, including network monitoring and management, as well as other IT duties in lieu of establishing an on-site IT department.

Some of the other benefits associated with lifecycling hardware include:

  • Having the ability to track all of your equipment and systems throughout their lifecycle.
  • Effectively and securely retire hardware at the end of its lifecycle in an orderly manner.

  • Ensuring a consistent and reliable infrastructure for your company’s technology, equipment, and system.
  • Allow for scalable replacement and upgrades of equipment before it compromises security, productivity, and efficiency within the work environment.
  • Improve performance across the board for all equipment, including workstations, mobile devices, and peripherals to maximize the return on your investments.

Ready to Get Started with Hardware Lifecycle Replacement?

Successful businesses around the globe have been integrating lifecycle management for business into their IT departments for many years. This is just as essential for small-and-medium businesses (SMBs) as it is for large corporations. There are far too many benefits associated with refreshing laptops and workstations according to a lifecycle schedule to ignore it any longer. If you are interested in learning more about hardware lifecycle replacement programs and would like to speak with one of our experienced technology team members at Synivate, give us a call at 617-517-0704 or use the contact form right here on our website to receive a call at your convenience. We can schedule a one-on-one consultation to help you choose the best approach to lifecycling and IT management, according to your unique needs and requirements.

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