Photo via Tark Siala via Flickr CC
Bad news from a study by J. Gold Associates, which states that extending a notebook's lifespan to 5 years, instead of the average 3, may be more expensive in the long run. The findings are basically encouraging IT managers to ditch notebooks at the usual 3-year mark.
According to findings published by J. Gold Associates, the added costs of keeping a machine for 5 years instead of 3 years actually exceeded the cost of purchasing a new notebook after year 3. The market research firm found that the cost to repair a failed notebook while under warranty is $1070, while the cost is about $1525 when not under warranty. Two extra years in the lifecycle may cost an extra $1050, according to J. Gold Associates, at least if we assume that the system fails at least once every year.
There are a few factors being left out, though, that could help IT managers make a greener decision. First, carbon footprints. Companies are increasingly feeling pressure to monitor and be transparent about their carbon emissions. That should include IT equipment and the carbon footprint of purchasing and disposing of electronics.
Another factor is buying equipment with the long term in mind. Purchasing notebooks that are easily upgradeable should be a priority. But so too should proper maintenance of them during their lifespan. Keeping systems in tip-top shape will help avoid that lost productivity that is factored in with the study - something that happens whenever people are dealing with problems on old or new notebooks.
Also, a company could offset any costs of repairing old computers by ensuring that the computers they have are run efficiently, such as shutting down office PCs at night, or shortening the time frame for when a monitor and PC go into sleep mode. The savings there could easily balance out expenses on repairing a notebook no longer under warranty - if the notebook even ends up needing repair.
One interesting step is not replacing the laptop at all. From PC World:
[Jack Gold, president of the consultant] added that some forward-thinking companies have taken the strong step of replacing laptops of some users with less expensive smartphones or other handheld devices. Such devices can be far more cost-effective for users who were using laptops mostly to access e-mail. "If you only read email, you can eliminate the laptop," Gold said.
The bigger question, then, might be how often are mobile devices being replaced for employees? These typically have a lifespan of about 18 months among consumers, who will want the next new model.
We're crossing our fingers that any businesses catching wind of this study will look at it closely and think about the greater impact of going through notebooks every few years, before making any plans to buy new equipment just to save some money.
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