As companies release new products or make enhancements to existing products, they often retire the old versions and the legacy product goes ‘end-of-life’ (EOL).  Just because a company releases an updated version of something you already own doesn’t mean the existing product has no utility. It does mean it’s time to start thinking about what the newer technology offers and whether it makes sense for your business to upgrade.

Getting the Most from Your Old Products

Before deciding whether to upgrade or stay with your existing version, talk to your reseller to understand the benefits the newer version provides. Don’t forget to factor in the possibility of trading in your old device, and ask about any ongoing promotions or incentives being offered if you purchase the next gen product.  Then be sure to conduct a cost justification analysis, to validate the expense of purchasing replacement product before making a final decision.

If you have a year of support services prepaid on your existing model, determine the best time to make your move. If it’s a technology product that’s more than five years old, the newer device will likely offer greater operating efficiency.  You’ll also want to compare specifications (speed, reliability and new features) which may easily outweigh any cost advantage of keeping an old device in service.

Create a Plan

You should always have a replacement and service strategy plan in place for critical devices. This can help ensure you are getting the best ROI for your device investment without introducing undue risks of downtime or service interruptions. It can also help prevent wasting money on the “next big thing” while you still have useful life in your existing devices. Here are three steps to create a good technology replacement strategy.

  1. Plan

Always have a replacement plan for technology refreshes for critical devices. Don’t wait until products go EOL to decide. Understand the typical life cycle of your devices, and balance the costs of maintaining existing devices with the replacement costs so you know the right replacement cycle for your needs. The earlier in a product’s life cycle you make this plan, the easier it will be to time the replacement for optimum ROI and utility and to ensure you have budget available when needed.  Be sure to connect all the dots in your solution in order to properly budget expenses of any equipment purchases you’ll need to make.

  1. Protect

For your most critical devices, you may want to consider a service contract. The more complex the device, the more important it is to have service coverage.  For mobile computers, a service contract helps protect your investment and your overall budget by ensuring that repair and maintenance costs are predictable. Most service contracts also include preventive maintenance, so this option can help extend the useful life of your devices while protecting your cash flow from unexpected demands.

  1. Extend

If your existing products are operating efficiently, you may want to extend any existing service contracts rather than introduce new products to your facility. Extending contracts ensures you receive all the utility you paid for when you bought your devices and can maximize return on investment (ROI). A service contract keeps the unit in good working condition, particularly contracts that include software updates, which may extend the average life of the device.

A Real Life ExampleCN75

Honeywell has announced that its CK71 handheld computer will be entering the end of life stage on December 30, 2017. The CK75 is the replacement model. Some factors to consider:

  • Honeywell has announced that it will continue to provide service for the CK71 for some time into the future. Keep these dates in mind to ensure your new plan is in place before then.
  • The CK75 is smaller, lighter and more rugged than its predecessor, so it will help your team be more efficient.
  • The CK75 also runs both Windows® Embedded and Android™, so it offers protection from OS life cycles.
  • The barcode scanner on the CK75 offers superior accuracy and speed, so your team can operate more efficiently with fewer errors or rescans.

What’s Next?

The decision to replace an end-of-life product is not easy.  It helps to consult with an experienced reseller who understands the products, your application, and the advantages a next generation product can offer.  If you’re looking for a recommendation or just looking for a market update on the technology being used to maximize productivity in your industry, contact us today.