Businesses could be wasting money by prematurely upgrading computer technology, new research shows.
The study revealed that nearly 80 percent of companies refresh their networking infrastructure — the hardware supporting campus networks, data center networks, routing (WAN) and Wi-Fi — at least every five years, the recommended industry averages that originate from the vendors.
Following those guidelines might not be the best advice, however. The research, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Network Hardware Resale, found that vendors set the end-of-life schedules that result in the sometimes unnecessary and expensive replacement of IT equipment, which carries market value and averages more than 20 years between failures.
In addition, many businesses are forced into buying new equipment when vendors stop supporting what the businesses originally purchased. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said they would have kept their legacy networking equipment if the vendor continued to support it.
Although more than three-quarters of IT decision-makers are concerned about reducing costs, many are unaware of the options for alternative maintenance contracts, the study found. Specifically, only 21 percent of those surveyed have leveraged competitor third-party bids when negotiating service and maintenance contracts.
"Forrester found that even though IT budgets are under constant scrutiny, businesses have defaulted to vendor influence which has blinded them to the rewards of extending hardware lifecycles and third-party maintenance solutions," researchers wrote in the study.
Forrester Consulting offers businesses several tips to achieving greater value and maximizing the return-on-investment of the network infrastructure they have purchased.
- Keep what's working within an existing infrastructure to avoid premature and unnecessary upgrades.
- Don't pay for software updates if there are none, or if they are available for free. Organizations should scrutinize ongoing maintenance contracts to find valuable savings.
- Put maintenance contracts out for competitive bid, not just to different resellers, but also include third-party options.
- Put metrics in place to reward value, quality and longevity, not just resiliency.
The study was based on surveys of 304 IT decision-makers across eight countries: the U.S., Australia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom.