So your old PC is doing very well without any ‘help’ from the IT department. It may be 7 years old but it keeps on going so you are happy to stick with it.

Problem is, if you apply the adage ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ to your IT systems then you may be sailing into stormy seas. In truth you may already be in the middle of a Force 9 gale but surviving thanks to blissful ignorance – for now at least.

Old PCs can keep plodding on without a visible hitch. But what about the lost productivity, bigger support costs, increased power consumption and I won’t even go into all the added security risks.

This isn’t just a load of sales baloney. The simple truth is that as PCs grow old — and by old we are talking more than 3 years — they slow down compared to the latest models. They can’t cope quite so well with new software or even updated software slows down as it is loaded down with new or updated software.

I used to work in an office where the PCs were so ancient it took them several minutes to reboot, an operation that was required several times a day because they were a tad flaky. To compensate we used to work around this hold up, but there is only so much tea you can drink or fags you can smoke in a day!

The Think 4 team often carry out office Health Checks (it’s a free service).* One common issue we find is that many old PCs are running much the same software that they were initially configured with. It’s amazing when you think that Windows XP has been around since the turn of the century. But it is not unusual to find that some offices are still relying on the very ancient Windows 2000 or even variants of Windows 98 or NT.

Why is this an issue — well speed, or rather slowness, security holes and a lack of support should anything major go amiss are all threats to the business.

Old PCs have another impact. They can lead to frustration among employees. Yes a bad workman is known for blaming his tools — but a bad tool can slow down the most efficient employee. What’s the most expensive part of your office? If the answer is your people then what’s the point of paying them for waiting for nursing an old PC back to life? Job satisfaction is another factor. It s crucial to keep good people happy and that means equipping them to do the job.

The point is that it is worth looking at investment in new technology as more than just the cost of the kit.

*Shameless plug apology