Byte Me Article 84 – Slow Computers, Outdated Software Costly for Business

– Slow Computers, Outdated Software Costly for Business

4 August, 2012

What does IT really cost?  There are two answers to this question – one which is a direct cost and another, a more difficult to calculate indirect cost.  The first is how much you are spending each year on your computers, software and maintenance.  The second is how much you are losing each year due to lost productivity and slowness.  Let’s look at this more closely at these costs by taking two extreme scenarios.

If we were to buy a new computer and then not maintain it my guess is that it would be flat to last more than a year before problems starting occurring.  After a year the virus scanner would have expired, it would not have the latest Microsoft patches, it could be full of dust/fluff if sitting on the floor, it could have an extra printer or camera or phone or two still installed but not used and even a trial software program or two still installed.  This PC would subsequently be running slow and be very prone to virus attack.  This slowness and the associated problems would have resulted in many hours of frustration from trying to fix things yourself or just forever restarting it.

2012-08-04 Byte Me Article 84 - What does IT really cost

At the other extreme you may have taken it to a different computer shop each and every time it had any small hitch – thinking that the last shop must not have done their job properly.  They would have recommended a range of upgrades and fixes (rarely the same advice) and coerced you into spending money on it each time.  You would also have been without the use of the PC for many days and you are not necessarily guaranteed a fast, reliable computer from the above actions either.

Adding to any PC use scenario, if the computer is over 3 years old and you are putting up with it running slow then you are definitely losing a LOT of money each day through lost productivity.  This cost is hard to calculate and is often overlooked but it is there and it is very real.  So what are the smart alternatives?  Well obviously they lie somewhere between the two above extremes.

We suggest the following – for business use it is best to have some sort of managed contract or at least a computer company that offers a fast response if your computers are down.  The cost of such a contract should normally be around $50 per computer and $160 per server per month.  At this level you should not have ANY other maintenance costs but should also be budgeting for upgrading all of your computers and servers around every 3 to 4 years.  This should provide a good return on investment in the form of minimal lost productivity and happy industrious employees.

In a home situation we suggest finding a computer support company that you are happy with and that you can talk to.  Find out what they can do for you and take their advice – in particular try to resist impulse purchasing from the large retail stores “simply because it appears to be on special” – this often results in costing a lot more in the long run.  Once again you need to budget for replacing your computers on average every 3 to 4 years.  Do not let someone ‘upgrade’ your 5 year old PC and think that this is saving you money.

So if you are a business spending more that the above then possibly you are paying too much for maintenance, conversely if you are paying less then lost productivity could be costing you dearly.  If you are a home user then you still need to consider IT as part of your normal budget. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is still contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

We have developed a brilliant self-help troubleshooting section on our website – so if you are having computer problems, but can still browse the web, please check it out.  Click here to go to Kerr Solutions IT Troubleshooting

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