Delaying Upgrades

Retaining desktop systems and other hardware for an additional one to three years before replacement can enable an organization to temporarily redirect investment into other areas.  An ancillary benefit to delaying desktop replacement may also be the potential alignment of a refresh with the deployment of new versions of an operating system or at a minimum, the deployment of PCs that possess the technical requirements to run a future version.

A common risk in the short term with this strategy is that the speed or capabilities of the current desktop systems may be insufficient to meet user requirements during the delay.  This however often proves to be an unrealized risk in practice and exception processes to deal with specific needs are frequently sufficient to mitigate the impact. Another, more profound risk is that organizations may be unable to direct funds back to the eventual replacement from the areas where the funds were re-directed. In many organizations, there is no such thing as temporary or a ‘band-aid’. If it works, it’s permanent.

For many organizations however, the risks are worth the ability to use funds elsewhere or to offset other cuts. To assess the savings potential of this opportunity, organizations typically look at:

  • The productivity or performance impact and expected levels of user dissatisfaction during the delay.
  • The resource requirements to perform a potentially larger upgrade of an organization’s desktop fleet in lieu of an earlier initiated phased approach.

  • Whether the current desktops can be used without upgrades for an additional period of time by forecasting performance, disk space availability, and the impact of application or other technology deployments on desktop or server and storage requirements.

  • The estimated costs of repairs and downtime from out-of-warranty support.

Many organizations use a ‘3/33’ or ‘4/25’ replacement schedule where one third or one fourth of their desktop fleet is replaced each year. This strategy provides a consistent, predictable expense stream and replacement workload.  From this perspective, projected savings are viewed as a function of forecasted replacement vs. actual replacement; with organizations leveraging their assets longer thus spending less on a per year basis.