Now that you understand the signs, risks and costs associated with allowing your small business to deal with outdated hardware you may be wondering, “Where do I even begin to plan a refresh?” It’s not as simple as buying new hardware. To make it a success there’s a lot of planning and research involved. After all, hardware is the most strategic (and expensive) office supply you can buy! But don’t worry: we’ll break down the steps you need to take. And if you need a partner to help you handle it, we’ve got your back.
1. Audit Outdated Hardware and Business Needs
First things first: take inventory of all the current hardware you have, peripherals and their specifications. Having all this information handy puts into perspective how your technology infrastructure grows over the years. In addition, it is the necessary first step to plan your refresh. Once you’ve established your inventory sheet, it’s time to plan a meeting with the department heads to discuss their technology needs and business goals. Having this understanding will help you determine what kind of computing capabilities your team currently needs and what those needs will look like in the future.
2. Conduct a Network Assessment
The next step would be to conduct a network assessment. Not only will a network assessment confirm your first step was done correctly by mapping out every component within your network, but it will also diagnose your overall network health. You’ll gain valuable insight and data regarding your operating systems, security, user status and any missing updates or software. We would recommend working with a technology partner, like us, for a free assessment. That way you have a trusted resource to advise on what is needed in your refresh of outdated hardware.
3. Explore All Options
Now with all of the information you’ve compiled from your audit and assessment you should have a general idea of what you’ll need to purchase for your refresh. While it may seem easy just to repurchase the same but newer hardware, that’s no way to plan for future success. When planning your refresh, the number one consideration you need to keep in mind is what the future needs of your business will look like, and number two should be finding ways to cut costs, not vice-versa. Think outside the box and evaluate all your options, like refurbished hardware, virtualization, consolidation of old servers, and choosing a cloud provider. Or even finding an IT managed service provider (MSP) to handle it all. You’d be surprised how some of these strategies will help your small business save money for the long term.
4. Define Your Budget and Understand the Costs
With your audit and assessment complete and all options explored, you can begin building your budget case. We recommend putting together a number of packages to present to your executive board. This includes an inexpensive bare-bones option to simply refresh your most critical outdated systems, a medium option that entails a more robust refresh that updates all your legacy needs and accounts for short-term growth. And the most ambitious option being your ideal refresh that addresses all your outdated systems and long-term growth needs.
5. Create a Rollout Strategy
Before presenting your budget case, it would be a prudent idea to consider the timeline for rollout and how that factors into your budget. There’s no one-size-fits-all rollout strategy for a hardware refresh. And if you know you are already up against a limited budget, this step will be key in your negotiations. A few of the different methods for a refresh rollout are switching everything at once, making individual strategic investments as budget is allocated, or even setting aside money each year to save up for a comprehensive refresh.
6. Establish a Plan for Outdated Hardware
Once you have your budget defined and a general idea of what you can address within its limitations, it’s time to begin planning. First, it’s important to consider the timing of your refresh and ask yourself some questions like:
- Are we adequately staffed to accomplish this?
- Is there certain hardware still under warranty?
- Are there any new software or updates about to hit the market?
If you don’t foresee any factors playing into your timing of execution, it’s best practice to plan your refresh in phases starting with the most critical systems you discovered in your networking assessment. Starting there will ensure minimal disruption to your business while optimizing the results of your rollout. Always remember that communication is key, so keep your entire company in the loop in case they experience any downtime.
Think About a Partnership to Remove Outdated Hardware
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into conducting a hardware refresh for your small business. If it isn’t something you have experience doing. Or don’t feel confident in accomplishing it alone, there’s plenty of specialists that can help. Here at Cortavo, we are the refresh solution for small businesses. Meaning we won’t just leave you once you’ve completed your update. We help you plan your refresh, implement and provision the hardware you need and proactively manage and support your entire environment for the duration of your contract at one low predictable monthly fee to remove all outdated hardware.