09/27/2012 01:54 EDT | Updated 11/25/2012 05:12 EST

The Hidden Costs of Aging Technology

Far too often, I will walk into a business or residence, and find an old computer or piece of hardware that has clearly had better days. Here are some reasons why you should retire that hardware!

Thanks to the state of the economy, it's tempting to try and push the limits of your hardware to delay inevitable upgrades. This may seem like a money-saving measure on the surface, but the truth is that there is a significant cost to NOT replacing out-of-date hardware -- one that can very easily trump the cost to purchase its replacement.

Maintenance - Needless to say, old hardware is much more prone to failure than new hardware. In many instances, it only takes a few surprise maintenance bills to equal the cost of completely replacing the piece of equipment in question. Instead of budgeting for a single, planned upgrade, your company could be burdened with several unplanned bills and still be left with an unreliable resource.

Energy Consumption - Technology is constantly being forced to meet new energy compliance requirements. Over a given period of time, newer, more energy-efficient hardware could recoup a major portion of its cost through savings on your energy bills.

Decreased Performance - Sluggish servers and workstations can affect your employees and customers in significantly negative ways. Employees can lose hours and hours of productive time each month simply by spending time waiting for computers to load their work. By delaying employee responsiveness, opportunities can be lost and the customer experience can be irreparably diminished.

Downtime - This is the worst of them all. All too often, people say that they want to continue pushing their hardware "until it stops working". Not only will these companies have to pay for the hardware to be replaced anyway, but they'll also have to suffer the consequences of an unforeseeable and potentially devastating period of downtime sooner or later (especially if there are no proper backups). What's worse is that critical systems tend to fail when they're being used the most - an occurrence that naturally coincides with their most profitable months.

The next time you have to consider a hardware upgrade, make sure you think about the reasons why that equipment needs replacing when you're weighing the costs and benefit of the potential purchase.

A study conducted by Wipro Product Strategy and Services shows that businesses stand to save a whopping 52% in PC support costs with new PCs compared to supporting and maintaining a 4-year old system. In year 4, support costs are higher than the cost of a new Mobile or Desktop PC.

A study by J. Gold and Associates found that keeping notebooks an additional 2 years (into years 4 and 5) actually costs $960 per machine, which is equivalent to a typical replacement cost. Further, outdated equipment will cost the organization $9600 in lost productivity over the same time period (year 4 and 5).

If you need help in replacing old equipment or hardware, consult an I.T. professional with your best interests in mind. Remember, we are here to help.