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Computer Upgrade Strategy

By danielm ·
We are working on putting together a plan to handle upgrades throughout our organization in a more formal way than we currently handle things. Upgrades are perhaps internal political decisions, or reactive if a system dies. We do replace a portion every year, but not in the best way possible.

We are considering a rating system made of up the types of applications and frequency of use, last upgrade date, along with perhaps the persons position within the organization. Combined we'd land on a score to help us determine where to deploy the new systems too, and use a step-down approach to moving computers around.

We are a non-profit and do not have a budget to sustain replacing 1/3 or 1/4 or probably even 1/5 of the computers a year. We have some incredible power users, and a number of data entry types.

I am seeking any input on strategies/methodologies that you may have in use when you upgrade systems within your workplace.


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We use the warranty as a clue

by Michael Jay In reply to Computer Upgrade Strategy

Warranty up, replace unit.

Most desktops will run very well for 5 or 6 years but you are living on borrowed time, should the hard drive die all data could be lost.

Laptops 4 years max, they undergo a lot of abuse and again it is the hard drive that is their downfall.

Depending on the age of your equipment you will need to make an evaluation as to what to replace and when, upgrades such as memory and hard drives in older units should be avoided as you will be replacing this PC soon anyway and this could be waste.

If you have high level persons that must go out in public and give presentations from their laptop, by all means give them the new stuff, the best you can get, you must put a good foot forward in public.

In house a backup plan should be in place for all who process critical data, and what data is not?

Replace the oldest first, you say your budged is tight, get up to speed by removing the older slower PC's and also give your power users new hardware and if what they had used is still viable pass it on to the data entry folks. Swapping PC's between users is time consuming and therefore expensive, so do the swaps sparingly.

Also purchase new equipment and set it up and have it ready for the units that fail unexpectedly.

Seems kinda clear to me but I do not know your situation.

Hope I have helped.

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Similiar to What I was thinking

by danielm In reply to We use the warranty as a ...

Thanks, this is similiar to what I was thinking, but not necessarily the aspect of not swapping PCs. That may be something we need to do at first until we can get underway.

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One potential problem

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Computer Upgrade Strategy

"...we'd land on a score to help us determine where to deploy the new systems too, and use a step-down approach to moving computers around."

That approach often results in the same users getting new machines every year. You can also wind up rearranging used computers frequently. Whatever rating system you come up with, be sure to discount or even ignore those users who received new systems within the last 18-24 months.

Keep in mind your power users and data entry types don't both have to get the same class of system. The number you can replace each year is obviously determined by your budget, but it's also determined by the type of machine you buy. Being selective about the model may allow you to replace twice as many data entry machine this year as you did power users last year.

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Once place I worked

by JamesRL In reply to One potential problem

We had a waterfall model....

All requests came to the IT group for evaluation, and the IT group assessed whether the need could be filled from the used inventory (with or without upgrades) or required a new PC. The PCs recovered from new installs were placed into used inventory.

When the average capability of the used inventory is higher than that of the average user, you can plan a sweep where you replace older PC with your better used inventory. Those older PCs then become parts machines.

Data entry people can typically be happy with a 2/3 year old power users PC for years.


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Two suggestions

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Computer Upgrade Strategy

First, when dealing with the vendor, make sure they are giving you non-profit pricing, and not list pricing. Depending on what you get, there can be a SUBSTANTIAL difference (read: savings). My last employer was not-profit, and the price was sometimes up to 20% different (base discounts + volume purchasing).

Second, keep your options open for what the users get. For instance, would a virtualized environment be sufficient for the data entry types (thin clients + load balanced servers on backend)? Depending on the scale, this could be significantly less expensive over time than replacing old systems.

Best of luck!

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