Technology is embedded in every layer of modern businesses. Aligning the implementation of technology assets with the organization’s objectives and end-user requirements is essential for differentiation in highly competitive markets.
Technology grows at an exponential rate, and hardware can easily become outdated. Lack of insight into how an organization’s IT infrastructure could evolve and the inability to plan for the long-term or devise contingency strategies can be costly for any business.
This is where IT lifecycle management becomes critical. Paying close attention to your IT lifecycle ensures your assets function as they should, your network is secure, and your employees stay productive.
What is IT Lifecycle Management?
Managing your IT lifecycle entails planning for each stage to promote the most efficient use and maintenance of your assets, cost-effective methods of replacing them, and responsible and regulated disposal of them.
An IT lifecycle management approach requires you to have the following:
- An inventory of every asset in your IT environment: hardware, operating systems, applications, and how each relates to other assets
- What the asset is for, where it’s located, and who is assigned to it
- A consistently reviewed and updated schedule
- A checklist of things to do, including the vendors to contact, when technologies expire
Common IT Lifecycle Management Challenges
Organizations face a whole host of IT lifecycle management challenges, from planning to procurement, from implementation to disposal, and every other stage in between. The following are a few of the most common:
Hardware and Software Issues
One mistake businesses make is to assume that a PC’s shelf life is anywhere between five to six years, or that a laptop from two years ago, while not broken, will have to be junked if you need better, more reliable software. Some PCs can last longer than six years, but at some point, they will have to be repaired. Newer laptops may come with faster processors or better operating systems, but they cost money.
To ensure you don’t run into downtime problems because of older computers crashing or an unplanned IT expense because you think you’re losing out on the benefits of newer software, standardize when to retire your equipment or upgrade your applications.
Understocking or Overstocking of Equipment
A common lifecycle disconnect organizations face is the expiration of critical pieces of equipment without validated replacements. Another is companies overstocking on equipment that may soon go obsolete.
With IT lifecycle management, the right IT vendor will use purchase history data to accurately predict last-time buys and ensure much-needed equipment is available until new products are ready for deployment. They can also arrange to dropship devices to customers so you’re not carrying excess inventory.
Network Security Breaches
As the number of connected devices increases, so does the risk of a network security breach. Many organizations today still fail to implement a security strategy. To keep your data safe, here are some things your IT team can do:
- Run software updates whenever they become available.
- Keep a calendar of software expiration dates.
- Educate your employees on ways they can fall prey to social engineering.
- Install security applications on all your equipment.
- Have data wipeout strategies in place in case any of your employees lose their company-issued phones, tablets, or laptops.
Insufficient Data Backup and Recovery Solutions
Data can be lost in a number of ways: hardware failure, natural disasters, malware or ransomware, and human error. It’s important, therefore, that you have a backup plan.
No piece of technology will last forever, and because data is mission-critical for business continuity, the fact that data loss is “not a matter of if but when” cannot be overemphasized. Data backup and recovery solutions need not be expensive, and an effective IT lifecycle management approach includes a strategy to protect data from various threats, regardless of the environment where the data is hosted: the cloud, or in physical, software-defined, and virtual hosts.
Time-Consuming IT Maintenance
Without a structured approach to lifecycle management, IT maintenance becomes a time-consuming, painstaking, and expensive process. For example, fixing older computers instead of buying new systems may sound cost-effective now, but over time, the cost of repairs will add up. Plus, the downtime equals no work done and missed business opportunities.
Another example is a set of devices running different operating systems, or worse, using different applications for the same business purposes. Processes become redundant, data reconciliation takes time, and workflows get delayed.
Take Control of Your IT Lifecycle Processes
Some things you simply cannot control. IT lifecycle management is not one of them. Technology can malfunction at the most inopportune time, and often without warning. Rather than implementing a reactive approach to lifecycle management, every contingency must be considered and an appropriate solution mapped out. To maintain your competitive advantage through technology, your business must make it a point to proactively monitor and maximize the lifecycle of your IT assets.
Dynamic Computer Corporation has been helping businesses with end-to-end IT lifecycle management for decades. Our commitment to unparalleled customer satisfaction has resulted in 98% repeat business. Contact us today so we can discuss how we can work together to grow your business.
Farida Ali is CEO and President of Dynamic Computer Corporation. She is an experienced executive with over 25 years of experience building and transforming Dynamic to be uniquely positioned as an expert technology solutions provider in highly regulated industries. Farida holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan, as well as a Juris Doctor degree and membership in the State Bar of Michigan. As a certified woman-owned business and a certified minority business enterprise, Dynamic has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, with Farida spearheading this initiative.