Should I upgrade IT gear now, or put it off until the economy really picks up?

If your answer is, ‘There’s no way we can get blood out of a stone to invest more in our business’, then upgrading your IT equipment is simply not an option for you right now. My recommendation is to wait until your business moves in one direction or another, then do an upgrade. Chances are you won’t need to buy new computers in the interim.

If, on the other hand, you are running a successful business that is growing and has a real need for efficient systems, here are some compelling reasons to upgrade sooner rather than later:

1. The most critical reason is that the big four banks are predicting that their average cost of funds will increase by 85 to 110 points by mid-2011. So, if you need to invest in equipment upgrades or additional systems within the next 12 months, now would be a good time to lock in a favourable interest rate.

2. We are also about to see an increase in computer costs as the global IT industry trades on the US dollar. With a 10% decline in the relative strength of the Australian dollar, we can expect the cost of equipment to go up by 10% over the next several weeks, as stock is replaced with more expensive supplies.

3. Many IT companies, mine included, have spare capacity for projects at the moment, as it has not been the busiest of quarters leading up to the end of financial year.

4. You should be financing your IT equipment and licensing, to preserve cash in your business for other things. Finance from the big vendors is still fairly cheap money, and means you won’t restrict your cashflow for other parts of the business. Make sure you do seek proper financial advice before agreeing to any finance package, as I’m an IT expert – not yet a financial expert!

For all of the reasons above, June this year is a great time to upgrade your computer equipment, and prepare your business for better times ahead.

Of course, I always argue that any time is a great time to replace old IT equipment, just because it facilitates more productive work. So, to finish, here’s a throw away tip on productivity…

It has been shown that for many information workers a second screen on a PC can improve productivity by over 5%. Given a monitor is only a hundred dollars, and will last over four years, it is now only a question of – is the desk big enough for another monitor?

So, perhaps the question you really need to ask yourself is, ‘How will my staff feel if I DON’T spend on IT soon?’

Click here to read more IT Systems expert advice.

David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.

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