All computer hardware reaches end-of-life eventually, making a hardware upgrade inevitable for your practice. Many veterinarians believe that hardware should last five to seven years. However, in a busy practice with constant use and coupled with excessive pet hair and dander, your hardware may only last three to five years.
An upgrade provides significant benefits to the practice, but getting to the point where everything is up and running smoothly doesn’t happen overnight – planning ahead is essential.
Understanding the world of computer hardware can be daunting for veterinary professionals. Upgrading your hardware requires conscious thought and planning, so we’re here to help with the process.
Your practice can start enjoying the tremendous benefits that new hardware offers, starting with our upgrade plan below.
Understand your practice needs
Audit your current hardware and evaluate what needs upgrading. This is important from a business continuity and budget perspective. Include key staff from each affected area of your practice and review the latest hardware specifications from your software provider.
Clarify the responsibilities of the upgrade process and how it will take place. Set out the timing of your upgrade and assign responsibility to managers for keeping things on track.
In addition to technical planning, consider training for staff moving to new hardware, where applicable. It can take a while for staff to adjust to new systems and processes, which means your practice could still be operating at a lower efficiency until staff have fully adjusted.
Ensure your data is backed up before upgrading to remove the risk of any information being lost or misplaced during the upgrade process. Data loss is expensive and causes disruptions during the upgrade process.
Budgeting for hardware upgrades is crucial, as computer workstations and servers are often significant investments for a practice. Remember to include upgrade funding into your practice’s annual budget plan. In addition, confirm if you can take advantage of Section 179 tax deductions for any new hardware purchased.
Advancements in computer software and hardware are closely linked; ensure the hardware you’re moving to supports both your current software and any future updates. Consider consolidating your hardware and software providers.
Once your systems are fully upgraded, identify what went well and what didn’t to help shape planning for future upgrades. This can include feedback from staff on how they’ve adjusted to the new hardware.