Shiny New "Toys" Are Overrated - Extend Network Hardware Lifecycles

It might not be a popular thing to say, but it must be said. Many IT professionals, like a lot of other people, have “shiny new toy” syndrome. You see the release of a new line of products come out. You see all of the cool features and capabilities and you think to yourself, "I gotta have it." The only problem is that you probably don't NEED it. You just WANT it. It may be somewhat simplistic, but isn't this how it should go?

Business objectives ----> Technology Needs ----> Implement technology to improve company financially

Are business objectives driving your technology requirements? People forget sometimes that technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Business objectives require IT departments to make use of technology in order to increase efficiency, better manage information, reduce costs or help drive key processes.

People see the latest cool hardware released and want to buy it. They rationalize the purchase of this technology long before they truly need it (according to the model above). That is a waste of company money. Not only are you not getting full use of your current technology, you are spending new dollars on something not yet truly required. So here is the question people seldom ask: How else could this money be allocated?

Next time you are tempted to purchase fancy new hardware, remember that all of this technology is just a tool in the toolbox. Do you require this tool to do a job and/or meet business objectives in the most effective way to improve the financial standing of your business? Or are you getting it just to stay “latest and greatest” even though you don’t necessarily need that level of technology to accomplish business goals?

But The Manufacturer Says...

People will talk about how the manufacturer is telling them that support of their product will go away because the technology is deemed end-of-life. So, this genuinely scares some people into buying new network hardware before they need it. For others, it is just one of those excuses to buy a shiny new toy.

Pack an Umbrella. It's Going to Rain.

As an alternative, when you extend the lifecycle of your network hardware, and other resources, you are exercising a bit of humility and frugality. Nobody can know for sure what the economic future holds. There is always a level of economic uncertainty. When you refrain from buying shiny new toys, and extend product life cycles instead, you are managing risk and protecting your company's money from unforeseen economic uncertainty.

For instance, when the economy collapsed in 2008, few people saw it coming. Many companies who were then investing in long-term projects found themselves in big trouble with tough decisions to make. Imagine if these projects were the implementation of shiny new toys. They found themselves stuck in a bad situation where they had no choice but to implement brand new expensive technologies, despite the fact that their business needs dictated that reducing spending would have been much more prudent.

When you extend product life cycles you are recognizing there are rainy days. You are foregoing the purchase of a shiny new toy, and instead putting some money aside to buy an umbrella for those rainy days. That’s smart business.


The takeaway




  • Your company has business objectives that your current technology is not supporting

  • The  new technology is just the tool you need to do the job and improve your company's financial position

  • Your company genuinely has the budget to invest in the technology and its implementation


By all means, go ahead and invest in new technology.

However, if this isn't the case, maybe you should consider extending the life cycles of your network hardware and other IT equipment.