Planning Your Next Device Refresh

Planning Your Next Device Refresh

Navigating the Complexities of Device Refresh Planning

In an era where technology evolves at breakneck speed, ensuring your team has the most efficient, up-to-date equipment isn't just a matter of staying current; it's a fundamental aspect of maintaining operational efficiency and employee satisfaction. For companies with distributed teams, particularly in the software and service sectors, managing the lifecycle of devices presents unique challenges. Device refresh planning is a critical task that, if executed well, can significantly enhance productivity and security while managing costs effectively. This article explores the intricacies of device refresh cycles, outlines how to calculate the bandwidth required to conduct device refreshes, and touches on how Firstbase can simplify these processes for your organization.

Understanding Device Refresh Cycles

A device refresh cycle is the period over which a company plans to replace old technology with new, typically averaging around 3.5 years. The cycle encompasses several key steps: retrieving the old devices, procuring and preparing new ones, recycling or securely disposing of outdated equipment, updating asset management systems, enrolling the new devices in Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions, and finally, ensuring they reach the hands of your employees efficiently.

Financial Implications of Device Refresh Strategies

Choosing the right strategy for device refreshes hinges significantly on financial considerations. Options vary widely, from monthly refreshes that spread costs and management efforts evenly across the year, to annual large-scale updates that might offer economies of scale but require significant upfront investment and coordination. Quarterly or semi-annual refreshes strike a balance, offering a manageable rhythm of updates that align with many companies’ operational cycles. Yet, without a dedicated team or a partner like Firstbase, managing the logistics and continuity of these efforts can be daunting. Consider the time that procuring new devices, sending materials to send back the old device, following up to ensure retrieval, imaging the new device, shipping the new device, updating asset management systems to reflect the devices in use, and recycling the old devices take independently or if done 20, 50, 100 at a time. Then add this to the number of new hire and turnover headcount each year to understand the level of effort from the IT team (or that Firstbase can reduce as your IT Logistics provider). 

Additional Factors Influencing Device Refresh Planning

Turnover and Growth: Employee turnover and company growth can complicate device management, requiring additional planning for device provisioning and repurposing. A 20% annual turnover rate in a 1000 employee company, for example, necessitates the management of an additional 50 devices per quarter, on top of regular refresh cycles.

Extending Device Lifecycles: The decision to extend the life of devices must be weighed against the potential for decreased productivity and increased maintenance costs. Apple cites the differences between an M1 and M2 processor at 30% more efficient, and between an M1 and M3 processor at 50%. How should I think about the impact of processor speeds for engineering? Gergely Orosz of The Pragmatic Engineer notes, “The most “idle” time engineers spend - especially in mobile development - is waiting on the build. These companies instrument machines so they know that on average, an engineer runs the build X times per day, waiting Y minutes or hours.” 

Security and Compliance: Adhering to security standards and compliance requirements like ISO27001 or GDPR requires rigorous tracking of assets and secure, efficient retrieval and disposal of end-of-life devices. Ensuring an accurate asset registry, easy reporting, and optimizing device retrieval and recycling can make audits seamless.  

International Considerations: For companies operating globally, the logistics of managing device refreshes across borders adds another layer of complexity, requiring coordination with multiple partners and vendors to ensure a seamless, unified employee experience.

Simplifying Device Refresh Planning with Firstbase

Firstbase offers a comprehensive solution to the challenges of device refresh planning for companies with distributed teams. By automating and streamlining processes from procurement to deployment and recovery, Firstbase not only enhances operational efficiency but also ensures compliance with security standards and provides a seamless experience for employees around the globe.

Global Operations, Local Impact: With its ability to manage global logistics and maintain a unified platform, Firstbase ensures that employees, whether in the US, UK, or Argentina, receive the same efficient service and quality equipment.

Automating for Efficiency: From onboarding to offboarding and everything in between, Firstbase automates the logistical hassles associated with device management. By centralizing procurement, preparation, maintenance, and recycling processes, Firstbase frees IT teams from the cumbersome tasks of manual device management, allowing them to focus on strategic initiatives that drive business growth. By centralizing asset management, when devices are returned, in for repair, recycled, or repurposed, Firstbase keeps record of devices to avoid countless hours of updating other asset management tools. 

Ensuring Compliance and Security: Security isn't just a concern; it's a mandate for many organizations. Firstbase's platform helps companies meet stringent security requirements by providing comprehensive asset tracking, secure data wiping, and compliant recycling practices. Whether you're navigating ISO27001, GDPR, or SOC II standards, Firstbase ensures your device lifecycle management aligns with global compliance demands.

Bridging the International Logistics Gap: Firstbase shines in its capacity to streamline international operations. For companies spread across different continents, managing device refreshes can feel like orchestrating a global symphony. Firstbase harmonizes this process, handling everything from procurement to shipping, ensuring devices are timely and correctly configured, no matter where your team is located.


As technology continues to evolve, staying ahead of device management challenges is crucial for maintaining a productive, satisfied, and secure workforce. For companies with distributed teams, especially in the fast-paced realms of software and service provision, these challenges are compounded. Device refresh planning is not just about upgrading to the latest hardware; it's about strategically managing assets to support your team's best work.

Firstbase offers a lifeline in this complex landscape, providing a comprehensive, streamlined solution to device lifecycle management. By partnering with Firstbase, companies can not only navigate the logistical challenges of device refreshes but can also turn what was once a logistical headache into a strategic advantage. As we look towards 2024, the question is not if your organization will need to refresh its devices, but how you will do so efficiently, securely, and in a way that supports your global team. With Firstbase, the answer becomes clear.

For companies striving to optimize their operational efficiency while ensuring the best for their teams and staying compliant with international security standards, Firstbase emerges as not just a solution, but a strategic partner in growth and innovation.