You know that old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Unfortunately, too many businesses are using that motto when it comes to technology. They wait until their computer has a blue screen, their phone system loses voicemails, or their operating software is so old they have trouble opening e-mail attachments, before considering replacement.
Refreshing technology can be very expensive and time consuming. Why spend money to replace something that still works, sort of? Maybe you don’t need to buy brand new computers every year, but if you stop doing incremental upgrades and refreshes, eventually you will be so far behind the curve that catching up becomes even more expensive. Don’t paint yourself into a corner with the technology in your office.
To keep your technology current, develop a plan. Sit down and ask yourself these questions every year:
• What upgrades and replacements do we anticipate on our line of business software this year?
• Does our underlying operating software and equipment meet the minimum requirements for any anticipated upgrades?
• What resources need to be budgeted for training?
• What staff resources will be needed to complete any upgrade?
• How current and compatible is our operating system and other basic software like word processing and spreadsheet software?
• How current and compatible are our desktop computers, laptops, and servers?
• What ramifications are there to our staff time, productivity, and overall efficiency by upgrading?
• What is the impact on downtime, the cost of repair, and staff resources to maintain older equipment and software?
• What is our schedule for planned equipment replacement?
Answering these questions and developing a fiscal plan is the first step in getting IT expenses under control.
There are additional methods to better manage, budget, and control these expenses. For example:
• You may be able to convert unplanned capital expenses into a fixed monthly operational fee that becomes predictable, manageable, and controllable.
• If you do not have the time, knowledge, or resources for IT planning, you may want to consider looking into managed services from an outside vendor. The outside vendor can apply their knowledge and experience to your business, usually for a fee far less than the cost of IT staff.
It might not be “broke” but sometimes older technology can be a drag on your efficiency and productivity. Don’t wait until it breaks. Put a plan together to stay up to date and current. Incremental upgrades more than pay for themselves over the long run. And, if you just want to take IT off of your plate, seek outside help.