When is it Best to Change IT Systems?
For any small business, changing your IT system can be a big task. Read our guide and learn when to do it at the right time.
If your firm’s more than a few years old, there’s a good chance you’re already using a mixture of old and new PCs, laptops and even tablets.
You’ll also most likely have some older and newer versions of Windows, running various different versions of common Microsoft Office programmes. In short, your IT is a bit of a hotchpotch.
After a while, an IT hotchpotch turns into a bit of a mess, and is unstable, inefficient and regularly a frustration to you and your employees. Even so, it won’t be an easy decision to ditch it all and start from fresh.
A big deterrent of a major IT refresh is the cost of replacing it and starting again.
An even bigger one is the thought of the major disruption to your business. Potentially you could be looking at lost production and perhaps even the interruption of vital services to customers.
On top, there will be some employees who will be strongly attached to the current IT set up, despite all its foibles, who won’t be in the mood for making changes to some familiar routines.
All told, it’s quite easy to put off an important strategic IT review that could deliver major efficiency gains.
There are a few some options, however, that can make an IT review a lot less painful.
First, in almost every business there are moments that are naturally good for an IT review. More on these shortly.
Second, these days companies can choose to move their IT to a third-party hosted ‘cloud’. Cloud hosting runs all your software applications and hardware on an external host’s servers, and allows you to roll out any software changes to all users simultaneously rather than having to change laboriously individual local PCs.
And once a cloud solution is in place, it can take away a lot of other future aggravation such as worrying about backing up key files, or having a separate disaster data recovery service. By its very nature, the cloud takes care of these tasks.
But, cloud or no cloud, what would be the natural times for a complete review of your IT systems?
An obvious time for a change is when you are faced with a major new software release. Perhaps a new version of Windows is being released and you will need to have all your users on it anyway.
Then there’s moving offices. Like moving house, this is a great moment to clear out the old and bring in the new.
Or perhaps you are acquiring a business and will need to integrate a large number of PCs on onto your IT system, or need the acquired company to start using the same software as your current staff. This is a very good time for a thorough IT review.
One less obvious time is when changing IT directors. IT Directors can become wedded to the systems they have chosen and might be less inclined to consider alternatives.
During a growth spurt when you know that you’ll be recruiting new staff is also a good time to review.
Rather less positively, maybe you’ll be scared into action, having lost a key customer because your IT let them down.
To finish on a happier note. If you opt for a cloud solution fortunately this means you will never again face the dilemma of when to upgrade again because a cloud service provider will deliver your computing online and be responsible for rolling out all future software upgrades. Think about it!