In a busy IT department it can be difficult to think about long-term planning. But there are (rare!) times when you've successfully fought all the fires you need to that day and you’ve freed some time to strategically plan; to really think about how to make your organisation’s technology run more smoothly. Here are some activities for all the time you free up, all of which could make your job much easier in the long run.
Assess your IT
If it's been a while since you reviewed your technology, your business may have already outgrown its software and hardware. Have a look at where you can make changes. Questions you could ask include:
- How long are your employees spending on basic tasks?
- How many people are using your network?
- Are your newer applications running properly?
- Is your hardware and software keeping pace?
- Do your systems comply with security and compliance regulations?
Find ways of saving money
Although the economy is improving, budgets are tight. That's why you may have to think about cloud computing, which moves resources outside of the business. This means you can reduce the burden on your IT, spread your costs, and instantly upgrade. Think about software such as Office 365, which provides business-class work tools for a monthly subscription.
Virtualisation could be an option, which allows you to use less system hardware and extend its lifetime. You can also reduce management and maintenance costs, while more efficient servers make it easier to deploy software so your business becomes more agile. Windows Server 2012 may be a good choice if you're heading down this road – it has built-in virtualisation technology.
Get the right expertise in
Sometimes it pays to get in the experts. If you suspect your business will find it difficult to perform a full-scale upgrade by itself, then it could make sense to bring in a reseller which does. Reputable resellers will help you pick the hardware and software suitable for your business, with little downtime. They can:
- Reduce additional costs
- Realise business benefits
- Ensure business continuity
- Provide technical knowledge and experience
Look into the future
Is it time to upgrade your systems? Sometimes it’s a necessity. IT departments running Windows XP are going to have major problems from next April as support is ending, leaving them without required security patches from that date forwards. IT managers need to seriously consider its replacement, such as Windows 8, and be ready for a touchscreen and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) future.
Any purchases or upgrades you make need to fit into your long-term IT strategy. You should understand the big picture. IT is such an important part of any business that any decisions you make will cause ripples from top to bottom. Of course, doing nothing is always an option, but do you want to take that risk?