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How much does a slow PC cost your business?

When it comes to IT, many staff members have become accustomed to statements such as “it is running slow today” or “oh, it always does that”. These statements are typically in reaction to switching their PC on in the morning, applications loading or opening large spreadsheets. To be clear, there can be many reasons for this slow down; a lack of pro-active Windows maintenance, no systems optimisation, internet bottlenecks, server issues or as we find more often than not – outdated computer systems.

 The average PC user in the UK can spend 130 hours each year waiting for their computer to load!


Desktop computer hardware is increasingly more reliable, Dell and HP systems can easily operate for 5 years. The demands on a modern IT system are increasing, Windows 10, Office 2016 and key line of business applications put greater demands on your computer systems, taxing the storage, CPU and memory.

The inability for your ageing system to keep up will result in a level of noticeable slowdown to the end-users. Excel takes an age to open a large spreadsheet, export routines from Sage freeze, opening multiple tabs in Chrome causes the hard disk to grind – all symptoms of  under performance.

Digital Downtime in numbers

There have been several studies that attempt to quantify the impact of poor IT performance and slow PCs on the bottom-line.  Sandisk estimated that the average PC user in the UK can spend 130 hours each year waiting for their computer to load! Taking those figures with a pinch of salt and using a figure of 50 hours per year, that is still a significant amount of “Digital Downtime”. Ignoring the computer load times, other reports state that productivity can be impacted by up to 5 minutes per hour due to computer hangs, pauses or delays.

So what is the cost?

Slow PCs could cost your business £1700 per year, per staff memberQuantifying the commercial impact is a straight forward exercise.

Assume a user experiences slowdown for 5 minutes each hour, and they work 7.5 hours per day. This translates to a loss of productivity for 40 minutes each day, or around 3 hours per week. In a year, that is approximately 145 hours per year of lost productivity. (220 days x 40 minutes).

With a salary of £20,000 per year (~£12 per hour), that is an estimated opportunity cost of £1,740 per user (excluding employers NI). That is a conservative estimate and it does not take into account your supervisors, managers or directors. As they say – time is money!

If you imagine six workstations dating back to 2009, that could be costing you £10k per year.

What about the operating system?

Putting aside the issue of hardware for one minute, you also have to consider the operating system. Invariably older PCs still have old versions of Windows installed. This may include Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows XP (but hopefully not!). Windows 10 is the latest flagship OS and whilst this delivers many improvements, simply put – the experience will not be great on pre-2015 hardware.

What is the solution?

Could a Cloud IT model be a better fit?

There are a few options.

  1. Upgrade your existing PCs. You could add more memory or upgrade the SSD. This may provide a performance boost but you need to understand the root cause before commencing an upgrade process. You also have to factor in the added cost of someone doing the upgrade. We find SSD offer a very good upgrade when disk I/O is the root cause.
  2. ‘Service’, tune-up or reinstall the PC. Many slowdowns can be caused by a build up of old files and clutter, causing slowdown to the OS and applications. Often a complete rebuild and reinstall of the PC can speed things up. However, you simply cannot get away from the fact that an old PC is often ….. old and slow.
  3. Replace. A simple solution is to replace – invariably delivering a positive ROI. Replacing the PCs with a modern desktop or laptop from Dell/HPe should inject a new level of performance, make boot times faster and improve productivity to the end users. Modern computing is more affordable than ever, with powerful desktops available from as little as £400.00. When a tune-up makes no sense, often the best solution is to budget for replacements.
  4. Change the IT delivery model. A move to thin-clients or ‘cloud computing’ offers another upgrade path rather than simply replacing the ‘tin’. In a hosted desktop environment, it is the server that does the grunt work, meaning there is very little resource required on the end-user’s PC. MTG has seen a growing shift from traditional desktops to cloud environments, often with positive results. The pros and cons of cloud delivered IT are beyond the scope of this article, but a change in the IT delivery model is another viable path towards quicker IT.

IT as a Service

Modern PCs are a solid investment
Modern Dell PCs cost from around £400 – well worth it

IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) is an IT delivery model offered by MTG that provides end-user compute and IT services as an operational expense (opex). By charging a fixed monthly fee, our customers get a high performance IT environment, delivered using traditional desktops, modern cloud services or a combination of the two (hybrid).  ITaaS offers a predictable monthly fee and our ServiceCare service-wrap ensures the desktop, server and cloud environments are always optimised – delivering consistently high levels of performance, eliminating any trace of “Digital Downtime”

Eliminate Digital Downtime

Rid your business of Digital Downtime. Speak to MTG about auditing your existing IT environment, identifying sources of slowdown and making pragmatic recommendations for improvement.

For clients whose IT is managed by MTG, we already have a record of how old your hardware is, its warranty status, the OS age and your upgrade paths. For new customers, MTG regularly audit environments and make recommendations that suit both your needs and your budget. Speak to us today or use the contact form on our website.





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Joe Hughes is the CEO of Manx Technology Group. Joe has a background in software development, information security, networks, datacentres and enterprise IT.
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