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Part
01
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Part
01

PC Refresh Perception

IT managers view PC refresh cycles as strategic, citing cost-effectiveness and system optimization as primary decision factors. However, some IT decision makers say they are considering PC-as-a-Service (PCaaS) solutions in favor of traditional PC management, including refresh cycles.

Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.

CRUCIAL SURVEY

Crucial's 2016 survey is the most helpful resource I've found to answer your question. In March 2016, Crucial interviewed 353 IT managers across the US, the UK, Germany and France (respondents split evenly per region). They reported the following relevant findings:

50% said they typically chose to upgrade an existing system instead of implementing a PC refresh.
28% said they chose to reimage and redeploy desktops instead of replacing them.
19% said they chose to purchase a new system when a workstation is slowing down.

Crucial noted that IT managers' decision to upgrade or replace computers is influenced by time or budget, or both.

• Majority said their typical refresh cycle for PCs was every 3 to 4 years.
• Smaller organizations tend to use PCs longer, with 18% saying they refresh every 4-5 years.
• Larger organizations tend to refresh PCs on a shorter schedule, with 19% saying they refresh every 1-2 years.

Crucial commented, "The smaller the business, the longer they tend to use each system, and many opt to run them until they crash. In order to do this, IT managers often upgrade existing systems every few years to enable them to last as long as possible."

IT managers said their primary reason for refreshing/replacing PCs were:

• Cost-effectiveness: 26%
• System optimization: 24%
• Value - maximum span: 19%
• Minimal downtime / lost productivity: 17%
• Less work for IT: 10%

Crucial reported that a PC refresh cycle achieves cost-effectiveness by saving time, which is synonymous with money: "Replacing an aging computer saves you the time to install new hardware and your business from being dragged down by slow performance when you'll need to buy a new one at some point anyway."

Those who opted for an upgrade instead of a replacement/refresh cited the following top reasons:

• Cost-effectiveness: 28%
• System optimization: 21%
• Value - maximum span: 21%
• Minimal downtime / lost productivity: 15%
• Less work for IT: 8%

Crucial reports that cost effectiveness can be achieved when we upgrade instead of replacing. It cost 75% less for upgrading from 4GB to 8GB and adding 275GB SSD than to replace the whole system.

PC REFRESH OUTLOOK

In a 2017 article, Computer Weekly reported Gartner's prediction that the PC market will rebound from declining sales thanks to a replacement cycle at the end of 2017.

However, the article considered the diminished relevance of PCs in the corporate workplace: "The challenge for CIOs is that while the features are all nice to have, they do not truly make the PC something that can deliver measurable business value. Business leaders may well question why the PC estate is being updated when many people either bring their own devices to work, or prefer to use iOS or Android tablet devices."

In a 2017 article, NetCommunications reported that PCaaS is being actively considered by a quarter of IT decision-makers. Another 20% of these decision-makers plan to consider it within the next 12 months.

The article goes on to explain that PC-as-a-Service (PCaaS) replaces traditional PC management with a per-device monthly fee bound in a single contract. These contracts generally last three years and are based on a fixed hardware refresh cycle. PCaaS provides support and keeps the software updated to optimize cybersecurity.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Below is additional material for further reading:

Intel's 2016 report "IT@Intel | Refresh Cycle Still Relevant as the IT Landscape Evolves" makes a case for PC Refresh Cycles, this time from the supplier side. Part of the report's conclusion was that "A steady refresh cycle combined with higher-specification devices improves security, manageability, and TCO."

CONCLUSION

To wrap it up, Crucial's survey reports that IT managers view PC refresh cycles as strategic. Participants cited cost-effectiveness and system optimization as primary decision factors whether they chose to upgrade or replace hardware. Also, PC sales may further decline in view of the PC's diminishing relevance in the workplace. Lastly, some IT decision makers indicate interest in PC-as-a-Service (PCaaS) solutions as an alternative to traditional PC management, including refresh cycles.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

PC Refresh Costs

The cost of a PC refresh varies depending on the method the PCs are deployed by an organization or enterprise. Deployment methods include basic deployment, standardized level deployment, rationalized group deployment, and dynamic group deployment. The costs also vary depending on the hours of manual labor spent refreshing each PC, as well as the size of each individual enterprise. The price to refresh PC hardware decreases as the quality of the PC deployed increases. This may be due to the increase in more advanced technology being utilized within each PC in correspondence to the increase in quality of PC deployment. In combination with the different levels of deployment methods being utilized by organizations, the hours of manual labor per PC refresh, as well as the cost per hour of manual labor per PC refresh must be taken into account.

Basic deployment

Basic deployment can be easily described by its own name. It is, simply, the most basic deployment method out of the four methods and is considered the lowest quality. On average, it costs $967 to refresh hardware per PC deployed through the basic deployment method. The time used to perform a PC refresh on a PC deployed through the basic deployment method is approximately 2.5 hours per PC.

standardized level

Standardized level deployment would be considered a step up from basic deployment. On average, it costs $809 to refresh hardware per PC deployed through the standardized level deployment method. The amount of time spent refreshing PCs through the standardized level deployment method falls somewhere in between 45 minutes and 2.5 hours.

rationalized group deployment

Following standardized level deployment, is the rationalized group deployment method. On average, it costs $698 to refresh hardware per PC through the rationalized group deployment method. The amount of time spent refreshing PCs through the rationalized group deployment method is between 1 to 2 hours.

dynamic group deployment

The dynamic group would be considered the highest quality of the four deployment methods. On average, it costs $576 to refresh hardware per PC through dynamic group deployment methods. The average time needed to perform a PC refresh on a PC deployed through the dynamic group deployment method is 45 minutes per PC.

Enterprise Costs

Small enterprises pay approximately $125 per hour of manual labor and medium enterprises pay approximately $175 per hour of manual labor to perform a PC refresh. Therefore, a small-sized enterprise pays roughly $312.50 for the manual labor on a basic deployment method PC refresh and $93.75 for the manual labor on a dynamic group deployment method PC refresh. A medium-sized enterprise pays roughly $437.50 for the manual labor on a basic deployment method PC refresh and $131.25 for the manual labor on a dynamic group deployment method PC refresh. Assuming there are other fees for performing PC refreshes other than the manual labor fee, these calculations can be used to understand where the costs per PC refresh in the above sections originate.

conclusion

Regardless of whether an enterprise is small, medium, or large, the average pay per manual hour of labor, combined with other fees necessary to perform a PC refresh lead to the conclusion that the lower the quality of a PC (basic and standardized), the higher the cost of a PC refresh and the higher the quality of a PC (rationalized and dynamic), the lower the cost of a PC refresh.
Sources
Sources