By Francois van Wijk, HP PSG Business Unit Manager – Drive Control Corporation
Technology is one of the fastest growing and dynamic sectors in the market today. Cutting edge developments and products with the latest specifications become outdated in as few as three to six months, and as technology evolves, so both home and business users demand the latest and greatest. This creates an endless cycle of supply and demand, with vendors striving to deliver ever more advanced products. This cycle presents something of a challenge for the end user, be that business or consumer. Investing in new technology is vital for keeping pace in today’s world, but if this investment is not done with thorough planning, it can quickly become out-dated as new features and enhancements are developed. However, keeping up with technology does not necessarily mean conducting a forklift upgrade every six months – there are ways to stretch investments and optimise the lifecycle of products to get the right balance of investment and return.
In the past, one could wait for a year or even two for a significant technology upgrade to be announced, and even then it was still feasible to stretch the lifecycle of a product such as a PC or laptop even further. Financially, this made sense as technology was expensive and updated products were not necessarily budgeted for or even necessary. Today however, upgrades and updates to PC’s, notebooks, tablets, workstations and even storage are announced at least once a year, if not more frequently, which, due to the divergent fields of our industry, means that it is virtually impossible to remain up to date with technology.
While there is also the issue of planned obsolescence, where products are designed to be obsolete within a matter of years, the fact is that user needs and requirements are also evolving at a rapid pace. Alongside technology changes and upgrades, users increasingly have to work faster and smarter, so naturally they want better, faster products. In the business environment, this attitude is financial folly, but remaining competitive is vital. To this end, businesses require a product that suits their needs, and that will continue to do so for a minimum lifecycle of two to three years, to make their technology investment cost-effective.
Future-proofing investments to ensure technology and spend are in balance, requires foresight, an understanding of what your business needs are, what you hope to achieve and what might be expected from technology over the next two to three years. It is important to do some research before purchasing the first or cheapest deal on offer. A slightly larger initial capital outlay may be necessary to ensure your chosen product will still be up to the job at hand for as long as possible. Buying on price rather than on specs may mean that business users end up with a consumer-oriented product that will be out of date in a few months
Ultimately a more expensive device could save money as a product designed specifically for enterprise use would not become obsolete as quickly. The fastest changing technology will always impact the consumer market as this is where the demand for the latest, most up-to-date products originates. Home users and gamers are always looking for newer; better, faster, smaller devices, whilst enterprise ranges are more focussed on extending the lifecycle of their devices with better build quality.
The constant and rapid evolution of technology is a trend which is only set to continue, but ever-changing technology, upgrades and advances need not be the downfall of business users. The best way to optimise a technology investment is to ensure that it meets the needs of users not only for today, but for at least a year into the future. This may require a higher initial capital outlay, but in the end the ability to stretch the investment will justify this additional upfront cost. Do your research, buy the best product you can afford and get the correct specs to meet business needs, and you will be able to keep pace with evolving technology without breaking the bank.