Technology Pro Tip: Don’t Neglect Your Upgrade Process

Tougher hardware requirements for the latest versions of Windows and MacOS are great reminders that upgrades should be planned for on a regular basis.

With tight budgets and different priorities in mind, it’s possible that your association hasn’t put “upgrade the company laptops” near the top of the list.

And if you’re running on some slightly outdated tech, this could prove a headache for your organization in the coming years, as the drumbeat of technology is a little faster than usual these days.

What’s the Problem?

The most recent version of Windows, Windows 11, requires computers to have specific security equipment installed in the machine to run.

The hardware, called a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), was not required for Windows 10 to function—but is a requirement for Windows 11. On top of this, Microsoft increased the minimum processor requirements for Windows 11, which now generally require processors released after 2016 to properly run. (On the plus side, there is a little breathing room—Windows 10 is still being supported until 2025.)

And for Mac users, a hardware-obsoleting upgrade process is forthcoming there, too. The next version of Apple’s desktop operating system, MacOS Ventura, will drop support for all Macs sold before 2017, leaving out a number of generations of the MacBook Pro and the iMac, among other systems that were previously supported. If you’re running a Mac shop, the Ventura update will probably create challenges—especially if you have your fingers in things like app development, which often requires the current version of the operating system to have the latest tools.

What’s the Solution?

Simply put, regular upgrade processes, while costing money at the outset, can actually save money in the long run, as they allow for lower maintenance costs—while helping your organization avoid the trap of running hardware that isn’t supported by mainstream operating systems.

In an interview from last year, Kaitlin Shinkle, senior vice president of marketing for the enterprise device management firm Jamf, noted that the maintenance costs of older technology can be significant over time.

“It’s important to look at the bigger picture or the total cost of ownership when investing in technology,” she said. “Some technology brands have a higher upfront cost, but when you factor in things like lifecycle, trade-in value, and repair cost and time, they actually have a lower total cost.”

And on top of all that, keeping relatively up-to-date devices helps your organization upgrade its software and infrastructure on its terms—not those of a manufacturer whose business interests differ from yours.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

This is actually touching on a broader discussion for associations—one not just limited to the laptops that employees use.

Technical debt is a real problem for associations, and it can emerge in a lot of ways, including with individual hardware and especially with back-end infrastructure.

As an organization, you need to have a plan for both issues.

(Arijuhani/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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