‘End of life’ is the term used by technology developers and manufacturers to describe a product that has reached the end of its product life cycle. When this is the case, it’s in your best interest to upgrade, as hardware that has reached its end of life is more vulnerable to security threats, downtime, and crashing beyond repair.
Although your end-of-life hardware may appear to still be working as it always has, you will inevitably run into issues somewhere down the track that will create inconvenience for your veterinary practice. Technology is at the heart of veterinary innovation and hardware is a big part of that. If it’s been more than three years since your practice reviewed its hardware then it’s likely some systems will need attention.
How do you know if your hardware is reaching the end of its life? Learn more about the common signs below:
You’re stuck on an old operating system
If your hardware has reached its end of life, you will find that you are no longer able to update or upgrade your software. This is because software development companies design their software to work with the latest hardware. Continuing to run older software on end of life hardware works okay in the short term. However, eventually, software applications will need updating too and this will likely cause compatibility issues. It’s best practice to plan for these upgrades regularly so that you’re implementing new hardware and software versions incrementally as opposed to all at once. This reduces the financial stress of making the change and the stress of the overall changes on staff.
It’s common for technical support to be more expensive, and possibly unavailable, for hardware that has reached its end of life. This could be because of long-outdated warranties, or that IT support no longer has access to provider resources required to resolve some issues. These incremental costs can add up year after year and the cost of repair can quickly exceed that of upgrading or replacing your equipment. Research from IDC has found the cumulative cost of warranties, IT support and downtime can often exceed the cost of replacing and upgrading when you have an outdated system.
Performance is crippling
If your staff are experiencing slow boot-up times and increased downtime as a result of hardware issues, then it’s likely time for your practice to upgrade. The hardware may be ‘working’ and it’s understandable you might be hesitant to replace it. However, if the constant interruption is causing lost productivity and frustration for your staff, then the money ‘saved’ by deferring an upgrade is actually an expense and liability for your practice.
If a computer crashes and you lose the ability to operate, or lose patient data for a day or more, you’ll soon see why upgrades are encouraged.