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Investment or Insurance?

We regularly work though our customer base to see where customers would benefit from certain upgrades for aged and unsupported equipment. It’s always a fairly laborious process, and I often find myself thinking of all the questions we might receive back from our customers, essentially trying to put ourselves in that very position.

  • Why do we need to upgrade?
  • Our server is only 3 years old isn’t it?
  • Can it wait until next year?

All very valid questions, however also questions that on the face of it might be seeking proof or a justification for doing what we see as just good practice. What’s different from our side of the fence then? I think perhaps it’s that we see it from the perspective of “what will it potentially cost if you don’t invest?”

So what is the real risk associated with not upgrading what your entire business ultimately relies on? The answer is not a technical one and truth be told we couldn’t tell you!!! There are countless ways to calculate this as I’m sure you know. However, is a complicated formula really what’s needed to prove that we need to maintain our toolkit?

When the on-call plumber’s van is his only mode of transport should he really think too hard about replacing his van every 3 years? Obviously a rhetorical question and highly simplistic, but in contrast to the plumber’s van, how long can staff be sat in the office without access to data and without running out of filing to do? Any which way you answer this, your business is in all likelihood declining in efficiency within a few hours of a server going offline, what are the effects on your business? Backlog? Lost orders? Decline in staff morale?

What is the real cost of all this disruption even if only for a day? More than a server replacement I’m pretty sure. Now taking this statement as fact, would it not be better to take out an insurance policy that renews every three years and drastically minimises this risk? This is the real question – perhaps replacing old equipment should be seen as an insurance policy rather than an investment.

Needless to say, everything must be justified and costed accordingly but it’s important not to undervalue our main tool or to underestimate the real cost of staff disruption.