May 29, 2015 – As a CIO, you may live by the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But in the world of Information Technology, doing so can put your organization, and your career, at risk. Unless you’re walking the halls and meeting with your end users regularly, you could be exposing your organization to inefficiencies that need to be addressed, simply by assuming everything’s fine when it’s actually not.
A critical aspect of your job is to create a successful and secure technological environment for your end users that allows business to run smoothly, especially if your C-suite wants to stay competitive (and they do) in today’s ever-shrinking, fast-paced world.
Think upgrades. They’re a vital element of end-user experience optimization and maintaining business continuity. CERT/Coordination Center even estimates that 95 percent of all network intrusions could be avoided by keeping systems up to date with appropriate patches.
To help make the most of your upgrading opportunity, here are our top 7 tips to proactively triumph over IT upgrades.
- Maintain an accurate and comprehensive inventory of all computing assets including hardware, peripherals (make, model and age), operating systems and software (by version).
- Establish an aggressive policy for upgrades and patches/fixes. Ensure there are clearly defined responsibilities, proper training, documented processes that include guidelines/best-practices, prioritization, change control, project management (for upgrades), exception handling and verification.
- Review and consider federal regulations affecting your organization, and the impact they may have on your technology requirements and priorities.
- Stay abreast of what your executive leadership team is looking to accomplish in the near future, and research new or currently underutilized technologies that can help bring their business vision to life.
- Evaluate your options. Weigh the risk and reward of both internal and externally-hosted technology applications – i.e. cloud based solutions, virtualization, Hyper-converged datacenters, and more. There could be some gold mine efficiency propellers in there worth exploring.
- Proactively plan and budget for anticipated upgrade, replacement and related support/maintenance costs of current and planned hardware/software assets. Compare the costs, capabilities, interoperability, limitations and expected life of aging systems against known or anticipated technology advancements and manufacturer’s end-of-life support announcements that might drive a decision to upgrade, transition to a cloud-provider or a rip-and-replace decision.
- Decide whether to insource or outsource upgrades and fix/patch management work to experts. Experienced technology consulting and managed services providers can help analyze, define, and implement the most cost effective upgrade methods and strategy to meet your long-term business objectives, minimize downtime, and satisfy end user essentials.
Making a business case for IT upgrades is vital to achieving the highest functioning IT system to meet your company’s strategic vision. Cost will certainly be a factor. Admittedly, it’s costly to keep up with these upgrades and patches/fixes, but such costs are typically dwarfed by inefficiencies and security holes that if left unaddressed, can have a disastrous impact. Maintaining security, adhering to federal regulations, and making sure all IT infrastructure works in tandem are also impactful elements for making your case for upgrades.
Following this list of 7 tips will arm you with the tools you need to make the most informed upgrade decisions possible. Your end users will notice the difference, as their IT interruptions will be replaced by stronger IT efficiency. Roaming the halls will become a welcome reprieve. And your executives will thank you for your valuable input towards achieving the company’s primary business goals.