Eventually, all of your technology will die. According to manufacturer specifications, every product has a useful service life. It’s the IT Circle of Life, aka IT Asset Management, and should be part of your strategic plan and budget.
I once led technology operations for a company with a small data center and an APC Symmetra power backup unit consisting of 30+ batteries. A simple audit revealed that 24 of the batteries had surpassed their expected life by at least a year. At $500 per replacement battery, the potential risk to the budget was $12,000. Thankfully, only six batteries failed that year.
Fortunately, small and medium sized businesses can take a few simple steps to track IT assets and plan accurately for the future.
- Develop a system. Consider implementing a system to track all IT assets. Include details like purchase dates, locations, serial numbers, and warranty information. Free software packages like SpiceWorks make it easy.
- Set lifecycle policies for your IT assets. Use the manufacturer’s End of Service Life or consider the following averages as a guide to get you started.
- Average life of a desktop PC is 4.6 years.
- Average life of a server is 3 years.
- Average life of a business phone system is 5 to 7 years.
- Ensure that resource and budget allocations are accurate. How many IT assets are going to die next year? Include reasonable replacement cost estimates in your budget.
Keep it simple and begin tracking today.
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