Tech or Treat: How Tech Budgets Will Turn Your Business Around

It only takes one outage to showcase how vulnerable a company could be. Unfortunately for most businesses, this single incident can shake business owners to their core. In just a matter of moments, your business’ reputation, and public standing is called into question. The greatest example of this would be Equifax’s security breach, where they lost control of business grade data due to outdated security practices, and aging infrastructure provided the perfect storm for hackers to come in and destroy the reputation, of their business. By creating a technology budget, your business can get the leg up on hackers, and your competition.

Last year we posted a blog article about keeping technology updated, using budgeting tactics to focus on such things as infrastructure, aging equipment, and Section 179 Tax Breaks. (Article found here: http://www.clarecomputer.com/resources/blog/budget-tips-for-better-success/) With Section 179 still active for most Bay Area business owners, it’s no wonder so many have begun projects for next year.

Sometimes, companies find themselves with challenges they know could be met, if they replaced or upgraded aging IT systems. The challenge for most is knowing where to begin. Often, the expense keeps many in a pattern of “band-aid” fixes and crisis management.

Clare Computer Solutions has helped hundreds of companies get over this hurdle. Utilizing assessment tools and highly-skilled staff, to locate any issues and determining the remedy to your most critical pain-points first. Part of this process is strategic in nature. Making recommendations for technology, it’s imperative to know what the goals of the business are. Devising a plan to ensure the IT infrastructure will support reaching those goals.

After identifying our plans, we outline a budget proposal, to spread expenses across several mini-projects a year. With this approach, we concentrate on addressing your most immediate business needs. We can then present a clear picture of what needs to be done, spelled out in a phased approach, enabling your company to make necessary operational improvements at a moment’s notice.

When adopting the practice of a strategic budget every year, it makes technology an integral part of business planning. Making IT issues less common, and keeping costs under control.

This is the perfect time of year for you to be thinking about your company’s goals and plans for next year. The perfect time to devise an information technology budget to ensure your company with the technology it will need to achieve those goals.

Contact Clare Computer Solutions now to begin planning your information technology budget.

Stop Avoiding the IT Infrastructure Migration That Transforms Businesses

Most businesses can’t afford to be shut down while a major migration takes place, and this can present some challenges. This is no reason to avoid doing it, though. Sometimes, there are valid business reasons to move IT functions from one place to another, whether it’s one machine to another, one environment to another or one network to another. The drivers for these migrations may include large-scale replacement or upgrades of aging IT Infrastructure Migration, relocation, mergers  – any of a number of things.

To avoid business disruption during a migration, the project has to be planned properly, well-researched, and executed by experts.

The skill sets required for a successful migration within a live working environment are often not part of a company’s in-house IT staff, and as a consequence, companies often avoid projects of this nature and make do with a less-than-optimal IT Infrastructure Migration.

Here’s what an experienced IT consulting firm can do to keep a migration from becoming a disruption to your business:

IT Project Planning

An IT Infrastructure Migration could possibly make your company much more efficient and agile, integrating industry-best technological tools into your business processes.  An IT consultant can listen to your growth plans, evaluate your current infrastructure and determine what exactly needs to be done to achieve your goals.

Research & Experience

An IT Infrastructure Migration is likely to consist of hardware and software from a number of vendors, as well as ongoing services from still more vendors, (such as internet access, telephony, mobile access, etc.) Additionally, your IT Infrastructure Migration may become a hybrid environment for on-premises and cloud-based assets. All these things have to work together, seamlessly, and it takes to research and experience to know how to create (and maintain) a reliable network with these disparate elements.

Timing is Everything

Once the plan is in place and the necessary pieces are identified and sourced, then the migration itself needs to be scheduled and the work done in phases, with minimal disruption in mind. Different vendors have different lead times for products and services, and that enters into the mix. An IT consultant can also determine which parts of the migration can occur while your business is running and which (if any) would have to place after normal working hours.

The project has to be meticulously spelled out, with a detailed scope of work, with incremental milestones along the way. Define ways of dealing with the unexpected. Costs need to be tracked and kept in control. And most importantly, the job needs to be finished – completely.

Clare Computer Solutions has years of managing complex IT projects, including major migrations. Don’t put off a migration that could benefit your company for years to come – contact us today to get started!

Spooked by the Number of Zombie IT Projects at Your Business?

Have you ever started IT projects at your company that burst out of the gate with great verve and energy, only to get bogged down in problems and questions, stalling out at 90% completion forever? This is referred to as a “Zombie IT Project,” and they can be annoying, or at worst, they can be a devastating drain on time, money, and company assets.

 

“Why is our organization having such a hard time crossing-off these zombie projects?”

 

 

Unrealistic Goals from the Outset

Sometimes, a project can be doomed from day one, because the final goal is not realistic. Hindsight will usually pinpoint what went wrong for most companies, but by then, it’s too late. You’re months into the project, your money has been spent, and you’re left with an undead, Zombie IT Project on your hands!

 

Resource Issues

Your project goals might be realistic and on target, but you may have bigger problems ahead, with resource issues. The personnel needed to bring the project to fruition isn’t available, or, more often, gets reassigned mid-project. What was once a well-planned project gets derailed and never seems to get finished.

 

Poor Project Management

You’ve set a realistic goal, and created a decent plan, and you have the people to get it done – so you’re all set, right? Wrong – someone must be in charge. A project of any complexity will have a number of moving parts, all on their own schedule.  If no one’s responsible for making sure everything is done, then everything won’t get done.  Minor issues and questions will bring the project to a Zombie halt.

 

Scope Creep

We have all had “that boss,” the one who comes in mid-project, and adds more to your list of tasks.  “As long as you’re doing ‘that,’ you might as well do ‘this,’ right?'” Nothing causes a project to enter the netherworld like allowing extra tasks to be tacked onto to the original plan. It’s not always possible to anticipate every twist and turn in a project, but anything that comes up that lies outside the original scope needs to be identified as such and managed separately.

Most companies don’t tackle IT projects often enough to gain the experience and insight needed to ensure a project is designed correctly, has the appropriate resources dedicated to it, managed properly and held within scope.

 

Resurrecting IT Projects

An IT Project should result in a positive transformation for your business, and pay for itself over a reasonable length of time.  A project that never gets done has the opposite effect – therefore, it’s wise to hire the expert services of a firm experienced in IT Project Management. It’ll save you time, and money in the long run!

 

Clare Computer Solutions has designed, launched, managed and completed hundreds of IT projects. We know how to bring even the most complex projects to a successful conclusion. We can help your company, too. It all starts with a conversation. Contact us to get started.