Is it Time for a Technology Plan?

Is it time for a technology plan?

It’s time to re-think how we plan and budget for technology.  Mobile devices, cloud computing, and increasing bandwidth at affordable prices have fundamentally changed how technology is now used in businesses.  If you are still purchasing capital-intensive products (think servers, software, and storage) it is time to step back and see if your overall approach to technology needs a “reboot”.

The cloud is about turning capital costs into operating costs that are tied to utilization.  The old model was to purchase a server and storage making sure it would have enough capacity for at least the next three years.  This meant purchasing at least 50% more than you needed today and hoping that was enough to get you through.  What if your company experienced a doubling of size due to a merger? What about having to downsize due to economy?  Either way the sunk-costs of your server and storage purchases are not optimal and will affect your ability to make the correct technology decisions going forward.  Cloud computing is not always the answer but at Stringfellow we validate that any capital expense going to local server and storage makes sense from a flexibility, risk, and scalability standpoint.

What about the other side of the coin?  When you DO NEED to purchase new capital equipment and rather than incurring the appropriate expense you limp along until you can get everything moved to the cloud?  The issue here is one of risk/reward.  Avoiding necessary capital expense in technology just adds to what we call deferred maintenance.  Sure you MAY be able to transition to the cloud before the equipment fails, but hope is not a strategy.  It’s like never having maintenance performed on your car in hopes that you can sell it before it breaks down.  This is a great way to end up on the side of the highway!  Even if ultimately cloud computing is where you are headed there are often several transitional steps that have to occur before this can happen and purchasing new capital equipment is part of the plan.  Again, we validate that any capital expense going to capital equipment makes sense from a flexibility, risk, and scalability standpoint…that does not mean the answer is always no!

Realistic planning and budgeting, which at Stringfellow is known as a Client Technology Roadmap, ensure that our Clients are budgeting the right amount, at the right time, in the right areas based on acceptable risk profiles and the business environment.  This is a fancy way of saying we look at the big picture and then drill down to the individual areas to ensure alignment with the overall vision.  The other option is to be in a reactive mode of responding to failures which is far more costly than proactive planning in the long term.

A great (and simple) example of this is workstation life-cycle planning.  Today’s software and networks are much more reliable than in the past BUT the reliability of workstation components is about the same.  This is especially true with mobile devices (laptops, tablets, smart phones).  Rather than wait on failures that are very costly from a productivity standpoint and also leaves cash expenditures up to chance, PLANNING on replacements and turning over your inventory of workstations every three years will put you in control from both a productivity and cash flow standpoint.  The ultimate goal is to turn over only a third (3 year life-cycle) of your workstations each year.  This way you can minimize implementation costs (Stringfellow includes this as part of our services at no additional charge) and keep up with the rapidly changing hardware that is available today.

An added bonus to this is that when you are ready to make the transition to the cloud you do not have to address the fact all your workstations will need to be upgraded to work with the new whatever software…it will already be done!  If your business is still operating technology in the same way it always has or you just want a fresh look at how Stringfellow may approach technology planning for you, please give us a call.