We live in an age where technology has become ubiquitous, and it’s impossible to get through an entire workday without interacting with technology in some way. In every sector, from farming to science and research, technology helps the world be faster, more efficient, and ultimately drive development, sales, and productivity.
This reliance on technology comes with a caveat: Technology continues to advance at a break-neck pace, and with this comes a cost. Old technology will eventually become slow and unsuitable for work, and this needs to be planned for from the outset. Recognizing and documenting planned end-of-life cycles for all technology assets – hardware and software – is a key component to properly integrating IT in any business.
Fortunately, technology, particularly when it comes to computers, have reached a place in hardware advancement where yearly upgrades are only required in a few select sectors. Most businesses can run effectively with much longer hardware life-cycles, and continued software support aims to mirror this trend. With the introduction of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms, companies can rest easy knowing massive sweeping software upgrades will be needed at a much more leisurely pace than was possible in previous decades. This ongoing SaaS support even extends to infrastructure software, like the service desk management software provided by SysAid.
It’s never been a better time to consider upgrading – especially if it’s been a while since you’ve upgraded. Here are a few key areas to assess before diving in.
Likely the most expensive technology assets to consider upgrading, infrastructure includes everything from server hardware to software assets that keep the business running. If your business already has a large amount of expensive on-site hardware, you likely already have a plan in place for upgrades, replacements, and redundancy. Powerful server hardware doesn’t come cheap and is often the key resource that keeps the rest of the company running.
One thing to consider if your technology infrastructure needs to be updated is migrating to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) systems. With many technology giants already providing IaaS implementations – Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, to name a few – there’s already a wealth of data on how effective these systems can be at cutting costs and ensuring smooth operation.
These platforms provide a number of advantages when it comes to running mission-critical systems. Hardware and software upgrades are no longer a major concern, as those costs are largely fronted by the cloud provider themselves. Assessing data requirements and leaving room for your business room to grow become the main questions that need to be answered, and looking to current trends within your business will give you an idea as to which service, provider, or platform is right for your business.
If it’s been a while since your company has looked at software upgrades, it’s a great time to start evaluating whether moving to the new subscription-based software models provided by many large developers is the right move for your business. Many developers have gone from a release every year or two to subscription models that give your business access to the latest software at a single yearly price. Simply choose the number of licenses required (just like the old days) and pay the yearly fee and you’ll always be up-to-date.
Office and the Adobe Creative Suite are prime of examples of this powerful technology at work. By subscribing to these services, businesses are able to simplify yearly costs and reduce end-of-life software support planning from the books. The ongoing enterprise support often included in these SaaS packages helps to ensure businesses are always able to work when they need to, and the flexibility of a cloud-based deployment means easy access to critical software from nearly anywhere.
The only downside here is limited (or in some cases, no) access to SaaS deployments when a connection to the internet isn’t available. Generally speaking, this isn’t a concern, as offline access to the software is usually still available, except in cases where it’s necessary for the software to function.
Often the first assets to be upgraded, local hardware now encompasses far more devices than it has in the past. For many organizations, this will not only include traditional hardware like workstations and laptops, but also mobile devices, tablets, and potentially even smart devices. Ensuring everyone has the right tools for the job will go a long ways towards enhanced productivity.
It’s important to strike a smart balance between technology and cost. While it may be attractive to pay a large amount of money upfront for some longevity in your systems, sometimes it makes more sense to pick more practical hardware with a shorter life cycle that will have a much more enticing upfront cost. This is especially relevant for processors, where a shiny new set of workstations with i7 chips may be overkill for everyday workloads that an i5 or even a less expensive AMD option are perfectly suited for.
This balance extends to more mobile devices like tablets and cell phones as well. In many cases, the last generation of technology will have the same longevity and similar performance, at a much lower price point, than a fleet of brand new devices with the latest and greatest specs.
Identifying which departments or branches need the latest and greatest tech and which departments can get by with something less expensive is a critical part of not only saving money but also increasing efficiency throughout the organization.
Don’t wait too long to upgrade
When it finally becomes apparent that it’s time for an upgrade, it may already be too late. Keeping strict life cycles on your devices and planning for future technologies is an integral part of good asset management and a solid IT strategy. Always be prepared to reassess your current plan, and be sure the next relevant upgrade is already in the pipeline before it’s too late!