It’s true: there is no such thing as future-proof IT. As Deloitte pointed out in its “Technology Industry Outlook 2017”, technology is changing at warp speed, opening up countless opportunities in the business world. On the flip side, technological change brings new challenges as businesses struggle to keep their systems up to date. How can you get the most value from your IT investment without getting left behind? Here are our top tips.
Realise that the best IT solution is one that can be changed
Nothing is set in stone, so if a system can’t evolve to adapt to a moving landscape, then it will sooner or later become obsolete and need replacing. Hyperconvergence is increasing in popularity for this reason. The advantage of hyperconvergence is that a system consists of a single box containing all processing and storage capabilities. As requirements change, more units can be added, whether it’s storage, processing power or a combination of both. Automation within the system then takes care of expanding the necessary counters and utilising the additional resources now available.
Don’t upgrade for the sake of upgrading
The key to gaining the most value from your technology is looking at how people work and what they need to accomplish. You can upgrade individual users’ systems as needed, but that strategy is neither efficient nor cost effective.
The first part of any upgrade should be evaluating the current setup. Do your systems still meet users’ needs? If so, replacements might not be necessary (unless the current systems are aging out of support). Also bear in mind that it’s pointless upgrading to faster systems if you can’t benefit from them. For instance, upgrading a key system that is located at Site 1 is a wasted effort if most of the users are located at Site 2 with a slow network connection. In fact, two slower systems are often still faster than a single fast one, since you can spread the load across the two systems.
Only by having an upgrade strategy can you ensure that you don’t spend a lot of money to upgrade systems that aren’t used to their full potential. If you’ve determined that a system upgrade is warranted, you can then evaluate alternatives.
Keep the future in mind
Although future-proof IT doesn’t exist, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the future. Before planning any upgrade, it’s important to ask, “Where is the company heading?” and “Will the existing IT setup and software solutions work for the company long term?”
Once you know what technology to upgrade, it’s important to look at the IT arena and understand how things are evolving. Consider what technology changed last year and use that knowledge to avoid buying hardware or software the market is moving away from. As network speeds and bandwidth increase, there’s less need to keep data and applications on-site, and many workloads will move to the cloud. After all, if ransomware can be offered as a service, what can’t be?
Partnering with a good IT provider can make the process of selecting technology easier, as the vendor will understand the current market and, more importantly, have an eye on the future.
Find the right IT support
The IT support provider you select needs to keep pace with rapid technological advancements by offering the latest hardware, cloud technologies, etc. You also have to consider what sort of experience the vendor has. Does the company have an established reputation and can it provide recent customer testimonials or references? If the provider will be working on hardware, you must also verify that the provider’s engineers are qualified to repair equipment from an array of manufacturers to prevent voiding your system warranties. Finally, you need to ensure the provider can meet the service level agreements necessary for your business to fulfil its operational and compliance requirements.
As technology advances, your business will have more opportunities to improve end users’ productivity and gain more value from your IT investment. The key is knowing when and how to adopt these new technologies. If you need help with your upgrade strategy, we are here to help. Click here to get in touch.