Outdated PCs are costing small and midsize businesses (SMBs) more than one work week per year in lost productivity, according to the Small Business PC Refresh Study, conducted by Techaisle on behalf of Intel in April.
On average, employees lose 21 more hours by using a PC that is 4 years or older due to time needed for repairs, maintenance and security issues as compared to PCs that are less than 4 years old.
Repair and maintenance is 1.5 times more frequent on PCs that are 4 years or older, and the study revealed that an average of 42 hours is lost due to an older PC being repaired by either internal IT staff, resellers or even friends and family.
On a regional basis, of the countries surveyed, 8 percent of small businesses in the United States are running PCs that are 5 years or older, in contrast to only 5 percent of small businesses worldwide and 1 percent in India.
According to the findings, small businesses are holding onto PCs significantly beyond the recommended refresh date, with more than 36 percent owning PCs that are more than 4 years old. These machines require more maintenance, exerting a greater toll on employee productivity and higher equipment costs than the purchase of a new machine.
Just under half (47 percent) of respondents were unaware that Microsoft is ending service support for the Windows XP platform, placing a higher maintenance burden directly on small businesses.
Moreover, the report noted that since automatic updates will no longer be provided to help protect PCs, valuable business data is more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
"Upgrading to new PCs is one of the wisest choices a small business can make," Rick Echevarria, vice president of PC Client Group and general manager of Intel’s business client platform division, said in a statement. "PCs are largely considered the foundation for many of these companies, and this study makes a clear cut case for refreshing them on a regular basis."
In terms of real-world cost, small businesses are spending an average of $427 to repair a PC that is 4 years or older--1.3 times the repair cost of PCs that are less than 4 years old.
The average per-PC cost to upgrade an older PC is highest within the 1-49 employee size small businesses and is 1.6 times the cost to upgrade a PC that is less than 4 years old.
The report found that combining the average upgrade cost across all small businesses with the average repair cost the total cost of maintenance equals $561 per older PC.
On a more positive note, small business owners mentioned that newer PCs allowed them to run 60 percent more applications simultaneously without any degradation in system or application performance as compared to PCs that are 4 years or older.
"This is a significant improvement as small businesses are increasingly using several different types of applications simultaneously including business productivity applications, email and Web, online chat and video, line of business applications, social media interactions, finance and accounting as well as music and games," the report noted.
A total of 736 small businesses (consisting of 1-99 employees) based in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russia and the United States completed the 20-minute survey.