How many times have you heard the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? In most aspects of life, it makes perfect sense financially and in terms of sustainability.
However, when it comes to IT, after around five years, your seemingly unbroken IT infrastructure may appear not to need fixing, but it could actually be damaging your business. Old infrastructure will be costly in terms of inefficiencies and greater running costs, and will also be putting the security of your system at risk.
Many of our clients have been surprised by the notable difference in running costs when they replace their IT systems. We usually see a 20% drop in electricity usage, meaning the cost of a new server can be recouped on electricity cost savings alone over a five-year period.
Meantime between failures
In recent years, the reliability of IT has improved dramatically, but it continues to be the case that, as systems age, there is an increased likelihood of failure. The greater dependability of IT means we now work on a five-year lifecycle:at the start of a product life, as with any electrical or mechanical objects, there could be manufacturing defects that need to be sorted out and are usually weeded out through commissioning and soak testing and are usually covered by the warranty; after that you can expect to enjoy around four years of relative reliability before the likelihood of failure starts ramping up characterised by a ‘bath tub’ curve.Manufacturers will usually quote the ‘meantime between failures’ (MTBF), which is the average time between failures of hardware components and is a useful indicator of how reliable the hardware is. Once a system is more than five years old, the likelihood of failures increases dramatically, which is why we recommend systems are renewed every five years.
In a time where cyber security is absolutely vital, outdated systems can become vulnerable to attack. As soon as vendors stop supporting their platforms, your system is put at risk and you need to upgrade your software in order to protect yourself. If your infrastructure is up-to-date, the likelihood of encountering such problems is consequently lower.
Importantly, an up-to-date IT infrastructure can have a very positive effect on employee efficiency. The increase in computer speeds – anything up to a ten-fold improvement – means they will be spending less time twiddling their thumbs whilst waiting for the computer to ‘wake up’ or ‘pausing’ as it waits to open files.
Improving efficiency of your current infrastructure
Compatibility between systems is becoming increasingly important as more companies move to the Cloud. Technologies need to work in harmony with each other and if you don’t update programmes as they become available, it could upset the balance. One law firm found this out the hard way when, after five years of not upgrading, they were left having to completely rewrite all of their customised reports which no longer ran because of software incompatibilities.
Not upgrading systems can also be problematic in other areas of business. If your company acquires another firm which has failed to keep its systems up-to-date, you will have greater problems assimilating the two businesses.
If you employ new staff who have become used to working on updated systems, you could end up retraining them on your older platforms; a retrograde step which would not create good PR for your company.