How often should you upgrade your smartphone? According to Chetan Sharma Consulting, the average upgrade cycle in Q3 2017 was three years — an eternity in the fast-moving world of mobile technology.

However, the release of the Apple iPhone X was expected to accelerate the overall pace. Financing options such as the Apple Upgrade Program — a de facto leasing solution — and similar carrier incentives may also encourage more frequent updates.

The iPhone X’s effect on the broader smartphone upgrade cycle resembles a persistent issue in business tech: How do perceived technological “game-changers,” as well as cost considerations, influence tough decisions about aging IT systems? The recent growth of cloud computing has provided ample opportunity to rethink common approaches to lifecycle asset management, with an eye toward improved security, savings and performance.

How to determine if it’s time to upgrade your IT systems

Cloud-based solutions in specific domains such as collaboration and storage can, in theory, transform capital expenditures into more manageable operating expenses. Information management is also easier in the cloud, thanks to the ability to efficiently gather and index information at scale via platforms such as LAMP from LaSalle Solutions.

However, even with the allure of cloud it can be difficult to let go of older IT infrastructures, whether because of the disruptions such a move would cause or the costs it might incur. Sometimes it’s best to upgrade, while in other cases your current hardware and software might be sufficient. Here’s what to ask when making a decision:

1. What application is the asset supporting?

Many organizations used to conduct server upgrades every three to five years. This approach has become less common as year-over-year growth in traditional IT budgets has slowed and been replaced by cloud subscriptions. The Spiceworks 2018 State of IT survey found that more respondents reported budget increases in cloud services than in hardware or software, though only about half reported a jump in any of the three categories.

The remaining IT assets that prop up legacy applications might not need regular upgrades. Meanwhile, ones supporting performance-sensitive big data applications could require more frequent spec bumps. For proper risk mitigation along the way, leasing services are often preferable to outright purchases. When managed by a trusted partner such as LaSalle, these IT refresh programs don’t saddle you with hidden fees, while also offering maximum flexibility for your overall IT strategy.

2. What are the real costs of staying put?

On the surface, signing a new leasing agreement might seem riskier and more expensive than simply soldiering on with an older asset. But any calculus about upgrades has to account for subtle costs of sticking with outdated equipment, including:

  • Maintenance contracts: What repairs and replacements will it require, and how often?
  • Security: When will support for patches, service packs and OS updates expire?
  • Energy: Is it more power-hungry than a newer alternative, as is generally the case?

These activities add up. Even if you don’t upgrade, it’s a good idea to gain better insight into the associated contracts and maintenance best practices with a platform like LAMP.

3. How long will the transition take?

Buying or leasing a new system usually means leaving an old one behind. Accordingly, migration is necessary — and it’s not always easy. Storage appliances in particular can create problems with their rates of data transfer and the loss of information. The newer infrastructure will also need proper cybersecurity measures to ensure it’s not opening a security hole where one didn’t exist before (this can happen if the legacy asset was not internet-connected).

LaSalle can help you navigate issues with leasing, IT security solutions and overall lifecycle asset management. Learn more by visiting our main leasing and maintenance/asset management pages today.