Older PCs And Laptops A Source Of Higher OPEX For SMEs

By PAROMIK CHAKRABORTY

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Main barriers to migrating to new devices are the inability of legacy applications to run on newer operating systems and the lack of budget. Benefits of adopting modern device strategies outweigh the concerns

A latest study released by Techaisle and commissioned by Microsoft and Intel depicts that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that use PCs or laptops more than four years of age may consume about ₹ 93,500 per device (US$ 1279) each time maintenance is required. The cost is sufficient to replace aging hardware with three or more new PCs. The survey was conducted across 2156 SMEs in India, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea, and showed that SMEs were directly affected by the costs due to loss of productivity and safety risks caused by outdated equipment.

The current condition

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India has more than 51 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with a labour force of more than 114 million, accounting for more than 30 per cent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP). The report revealed that despite the cost impact and security risks, 49 per cent of large SMEs and 31 per cent of small SMEs continue to use old PCs. The new research shows that, as of last year, up to 43 per cent SMEs experienced PC security and data theft vulnerabilities, and only 12 per cent of them reported these attacks.

On the other hand, SMEs that have adopted modern workplace strategies have experienced higher productivity, reduced costs and increased security.

The study also revealed that 66 per cent of SMEs improved efficiency by adopting newer PCs that gave them a new experience powered by cloud and mobile solutions. Whereas, 63 per cent of SMEs believe they can better protect data on new PCs. It also suggested that 58 per cent of SMEs find that adopting newer PCs can reduce overall maintenance costs, while 41 per cent SMEs believe that newer PCs can improve employee productivity.

PCs are ever-pervasive devices today, and are the main operating platforms for most SMEs in India. Priyadarshi Mohapatra, general manager, Microsoft India Consumer and Device Sales, shares that, every three in 10 SMEs in India have PCs that are older than four years, which significantly increases maintenance costs.

Underlying challenges

Respondents to the study identified their top business priorities to be business growth, productivity and profitability. They are relying on IT for a response to business problems. Most important IT priorities include investment, mobility, cloud solutions and managed services.

Anurag Agrawal, chief analyst, Techaisle, shares, “We found that the main barriers to migrating to new devices are the inability of legacy applications to run on newer operating systems and the lack of budget. However, benefits of adopting modern device strategies outweigh the concerns.

He explains that, SMEs tend to focus on short-term costs, an approach that proves to be ineffective at times in the long run. “The choice between maintaining old PCs and replacing these with newer ones is one such area,” he adds.

Agarwal believes that SMEs should re-evaluate their budget and strategies, keeping in mind the higher cost of maintaining older PCs and the greater cumulative impact on the budget in the long run.

According to the study, in India, more than 61 per cent of PCs used by SMEs are still on older versions of Windows. Upgrading to Windows 10 modern devices will provide a more familiar, secure and efficient experience.

Moving forward

Mohapatra adds that latest features in Windows 10 aim to provide a platform for these companies and their employees to ensure optimal mobility and support for business applications. While sharing Microsoft’s strategy in this context, Mohapatra informs that Microsoft aims to continue collaboration with its OEM partner ecosystem to provide more affordable price points for PCs and laptops, offering SME-related options based on their size and requirements.

SMEs account for 95 per cent of the total number of Indian companies. On a national scale, if all these SMEs decide to move on to newer systems, financial savings can be enormous.

“Computers and connections open the way for SME digitalisation and automation, increasing returns, scale and production. By deploying PCs that support complex tasks and scale, these companies must invest in upgrading their processing power,” concludes Prakash Mallya, general manager – sales and marketing, Intel India.


 

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