Every modern workplace needs technical equipment to be able to function and drive productivity. But in these days of rapid technical advancements, the latest thing can become obsolete during a lunch break. It has become a dilemma for most businesses – when to pull the plug on old hardware, and when to keep upgrading and maintaining. IT, multimedia, AV-tech and other hardware investments don’t come cheap, and you want the best possible ROI from that investment. But on the other hand, downtime, constant maintenance, and outdated hardware that causes frustration and lowered productivity isn’t exactly good for business either. Lifecycle management (LCM) means that you plan ahead and take a full lifecycle approach to managing the hardware to maximise ROI and user productivity. It’s actually a very smart tactic.
The benefits of LCM
When you look at the entire useful life of a piece of equipment from a lifecycle management perspective, it’s possible to save both time and money. With a strategy for how to get the most out of your hardware investments it’s much easier to lower the maintenance costs, improve the upgrade flexibility, extend the life of the equipment, and get the best possible value out of that investment. But it’s about more than just ROI. LCM will help improve the quality of the services the hardware delivers; it also brings better knowledge about the costs and the productivity associated with the asset. The process of when to retire the hunk of junk, and how, will also become simpler and more effective. And perhaps most important of all – the people using the hardware can get the best possible gain out of it, with a smile on their face.
The different stages of lifecycle management
There are different ways to approach LCM, because no business is the same. Size and location of the organisation matter, so do financial priorities, production strategy, what type of hardware it is etc. But the most important thing about a lifecycle management plan is to actually have one. And this plan has different stages.
· Planning. Any good investment is based on good planning. What do we need, and why? What are the problems and opportunities of our existing hardware? What are our needs and goals, today and in the future? Should we buy or lease? Should we invest in just the equipment, or get a complete solution from a consultant? With a carefully laid out plan you will maximise the budget, get the right tools for the job, and leverage the existing hardware.
· Get and install. When you have bought or leased the hardware it’s time for deployment. It can be complicated but partnering with an experienced supplier or consultant will make the whole installation process faster, simpler and easier, and the equipment will be integrated with the existing infrastructure in a hassle-free and aesthetic way.
· Maintenance. Getting the right amount of maintenance will lower the overall costs and extend the life of the hardware. It’s also important in this stage to work with an experienced partner that will deliver the best value for the maintenance and your equipment. Most of them offer maintenance programs tailored to your needs. They can include on-site maintenance service, individual service levels to increase user productivity, telephone support, advice, suggestions etc.
· Upgrades. Since technology advances so quickly these days, it can be a wise move to extend the usefulness and longevity of your hardware with upgrades. Why buy new when the old can be improved upon? Once again, a good partner will tell you when to upgrade (or when it’s time to get new stuff), and how to save your time and money in the best possible way.
· Repairs. Fix it or get a new one? Truth is, repairing hardware can save up to 80% compared to throwing it out and buying new – all depending on the situation, of course. Inspection and diagnostics will tell if repairs and upgrades is the right way to go. In a good LCM plan, this should be a part of the maintenance program. Your maintenance partner should guide you to the best and most cost-effective decisions.
· Dispose or recycle. You can’t just throw hardware in the thrash when it’s time to pull the plug. There are electronics disposal laws and regulations, and you may have sensitive data stored on your hardware. The LCM plan has to include a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and secure way of getting rid of your old equipment.
In conclusion, businesses that take a proactive approach to lifecycle management get a lot more value and satisfaction from their investments compared to those who are reactive. LCM is the strategy to get less trouble and more bang for your buck.