A network consisting of components purchased over the course of several years? With strategic IT planning, your company is able to maximize the value it gets from its technology.
Strategic IT Planning
The downside of the speed at which technology changes is how rapidly it becomes obsolete.
In a business IT infrastructure, this rapid obsolescence can be damaging. A company does not want to find out their servers are not compatible with the latest version of their line-of-business application, for example, or discover that an office is full of PCs with an operating system no longer supported by the manufacturer.
Document IT Assets
Networks tend to grow in increments over the years, depending on need, and many companies simply don’t know what they have. The first order of business is to inventory the network –hardware and software. There are tools you can use to do this, but everything should be documented in detail. This process may also uncover any unlicensed software in use – something you want to stay ahead of.
Assign End-of-Life Dates
Sometimes, the network “discovery” tool can also find out when each device was put into service and from there, it’s relatively simple to make some determinations on when to consider assets are at their “end of life”. Servers will tend to have a longer life than PCs – 6 or 7 years in some cases. Operating systems and productivity suites usually have well-publicized scheduled for the end of their support. PCs are considered “old” when they get past 4 years – at that point, repairs on them might cost more than the machine is worth.
Make an IT Budget
With a good list of network assets and their expected lifespans, it’s possible to build orderly company-wide technology refreshes into the company’s IT budget. This will provide several important benefits:
- Cash flow is predictable
- Downtime is reduced
- Network technology is always up-to-date
Sometimes, it can be hard to make the time or allocate the expertise to do these three steps. Businesses know they should do it, but find it hard to make this part of their normal business process. This is where a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help, and the cost of the service is more than offset by the benefits listed above.