No matter what type of industry your business operates in, you will almost certainly be using technology to help get the job done. Making sure that all of the devices used by your business are working properly can be quite a challenge.
Whether you have 2 employees or 2000 (or even many more) you will want to have a strategy in place that ensures you are getting the best return on investment for all of your technical devices.
Planning out how to ensure you are getting a great return on your devices is done through a process known as device lifecycle management (DLM). This will help you to decide how to acquire the various types of devices you need, how long you can expect them to last, and when they should be replaced.
When done properly, the DLM process can help keep everyone working efficiently and save you money in the process.
How to Acquire Your Technology Devices
The first step to consider with any device lifecycle management strategy is how you will acquire the various devices. This is generally not going to be just one solution since you will want to get different items in different ways.
For example, it might make sense to purchase all of your PCs, monitors, and other computer equipment from Newegg so you get it all from one place. If you are providing employees with phones, however, you may want to turn to a local Apple store to get the phones and support you need.
Most companies are going to be using multiple different devices for each employee. Part of creating a comprehensive device lifecycle management strategy is having a specific plan for each device type.
Another thing to consider when deciding how to acquire devices is whether you want to buy them or lease them. Both of these options will have advantages and disadvantages to be aware of.
For example, if you purchase your devices, you can typically take advantage of some tax breaks based on the depreciation of the assets. On the other hand, if you lease the equipment you may get a more predictable bill and not have to deal with the day to day maintenance of the devices.
Weigh all of your options to decide which one is going to give you the best solutions to your needs.
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Keeping Your Devices Working Properly
While most IT devices are going to work without any significant issues throughout their lifecycle, there will always be some that experience issues.
Knowing how to ensure every device is working correctly from the time it arrives until it has reached its end of life is an important part of your lifecycle management strategy. The following are some key things to keep in mind when identifying how you will maintain your devices:
- Replacing Defective Parts – If something goes wrong with your equipment during its standard lifecycle, it will often make sense to replace just the bad part. Purchasing replacement items like hard drives, memory, or screens it is very economical to do this rather than purchasing an entirely new device.
- Upgrading Components – In some cases it may make sense to upgrade specific components to extend the life of a device. For example, for PCs used by employees, it is often possible to upgrade RAM at a very affordable price. Adding RAM to a PC can greatly improve its overall performance, which could extend its useful life by quite some time.
- Keeping Systems Modernized – While directly working on the devices themselves often makes sense, keeping your back-end systems modernized is also going to help. If you have centralized apps, internet connections, or other systems, make sure that they are always kept up to date.
- Utilizing Standard Software – Using standardized software on all devices in your company can help to avoid problems and reduce costs throughout the lifecycle of your equipment.
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Scheduling End of Life and Replacement
While many people think it makes sense to keep using the same equipment as long as possible, that is typically not the case. Whenever you purchase a new device for your company, you should plan out when it will reach its scheduled end of life.
For PCs, this is normally between three and five years. Phones typically have a lifecycle of one to three years. Scheduling the end of life of your equipment provides many important benefits that will far outweigh the savings you could get from keeping old equipment in use. Some of these benefits include:
- Predicable Expenses – A good device lifecycle management system will make it so you can predict when you will need to buy new equipment rather than waiting for unplanned for problems.
- Devices Running Smoothly – As technology gets older, it starts running more slowly, experiencing errors, and having other issues. Keeping your devices up to date will ensure they run more smoothly throughout their lifecycle.
- Reduced Security Risks – Older technology is not updated as often and is much more vulnerable to hacks and other security problems.
- Always Using Modern Devices – Your employees will appreciate always having modern devices that work properly. This can help them to be more productive.
- Less Risk of Unplanned Downtime – When working with older devices, it seems that things always break at the least convenient times. Keeping your technology up to date can dramatically reduce the risk of unplanned downtime.
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Creating Your Device Lifecycle Management Policy
The most challenging part of a device lifecycle management system is getting it started. Whether you are a new company that wants to have this type of policy from the beginning, or an established company that wants to add this policy in, it is hard to know where to start.
One option is to do a rolling start of this type of policy. This is done by determining the desired lifecycle of each type of item, and then implementing it with each device that you replace. This allows your older equipment to remain in place, which can make it easier to budget the change at first.
The other option is to implement the changes looking backwards to the date when each existing device was purchased. While this is ideal, it may mean making a large investment into new technology if your existing devices are all older.
No matter how you decide to implement your device lifecycle management policy, you will quickly begin enjoying the benefits it provides. Take a look at your existing situation and make a plan on how it can be improved today.
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