IT upgrades are an unavoidable fact of life for businesses. To stay up-to-date, many businesses often run on hardware upgrade cycles of three to five years. It’s never easy, or without risks, but it can be accomplished effectively and to a deadline with some good planning. With this in mind, here are the top five questions IT project managers should ask ahead of any IT transformation.
1. When should you upgrade?
If your IT team is dealing with any of the following issues, it may be time to start planning an upgrade.
- Your work stations are constantly needing repairs or are crashing frequently
- Your energy bills are increasing due to inefficient hardware
- Applications run very slowly and are frustrating to work with
- People are using a variety of different hardware and software, making it hard to manage
- Your software has reached end-of-life and is no longer supported
- You have experienced security breaches
- Front-end users don’t have enough storage space
2. Have you considered maintenance agreements?
Every business has servers and IT equipment that are considered mission-critical to core business functions. These require stringent maintenance agreements and 24/7 support packages to ensure minimum downtime and disruption should anything go offline. However, many of our clients overlook the fine print in their maintenance agreements and end up paying a premium for equipment that isn’t mission critical. By analysing your maintenance contracts, we not only find these inefficiencies, but also look for instances where you could be paying less for the same level of support, which can result in a saving of 70%+.
3. How can you prevent data disruption?
To ensure there is little or no interruption to your data, you want to determine several key things. Firstly, what is the total volume of your data? Its size will determine what migration strategy you need to follow. For large-scale migrations, you may want to divide it up into subtasks that can run in parallel to each other.
You also may have to deal with the data stored in several different locations and systems. You may need to consolidate this into the new systems or preserve the separation for technical or legal purposes.
4. How much time do you need for the project?
The size of the business and the level of the upgrade are a big factor for the speed at which the project needs to move. You may also have to deal with deadlines caused by software reaching end of life. Or, there may be external factors – such as leases ending or the need to complete a project in the current financial year – that mean you need to work in a tight timeframe.
If you need to upgrade your data centre, this can be accomplished by a dedicated team over the weekend. If you need to replace all your company’s desktop units you may be looking at several weeks or months as you work in phases.
5. What are you doing with your used hardware?
What will you be doing with your retired IT equipment? You want to be sure that your equipment is disposed of securely and to the required environmental standards. Whatever IT provider you may use should be able to guarantee the destruction or removal of any sensitive data.
Some of your IT assets may be able to be repurposed and resold. In this way, you may be able to offset some of the cost of the transformation.
If the equipment has reached its end-of-life cycle, they should also be able to dispose of the materials according to national environmental guidelines.
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