Lifecycle management, if this isn’t something you’ve considered, it’s time you have. Many businesses put little thought into their IT budgets, especially the pieces that they don’t see and touch frequently. It’s human nature to ignore the mundane, after all, out of sight, out of mind. It’s this very reason why many people don’t check their tire tread depth, air pressure, oil level, etc. between servicing. There’s a simple assumption that it worked yesterday, it’s working today, therefore, it should work tomorrow. Lifecycle management has three key drivers: uptime, efficiency and staying current. We’ll address each of them in this article.
Uptime is something that most people simply take for granted. We never jump up and high-five our co-workers when the computer boots up, it’s assumed that it will because it always has. There’s nothing incredible or unusual about it working. But what happens when it doesn’t? Each role in your business has its own list of contingencies, the ways and manners in which they can perform parts of their responsibilities, but it’s usually far slower and less efficient. In some cases, entire departments or portions of the business come to a halt if you experience equipment failure. Uptime is critical for businesses to maintain the status quo and keep humming along at peak efficiency. You don’t wait until your car has broken down on the side of the road to decide that it’s time for a new vehicle, why would you do that for your computers, network equipment or servers?
As we established in the uptime discussion, efficiency for your business is key to profitability, service delivery and happy employees. Your business is only as efficient as its least efficient person, department, or process. Sometimes, that inefficiency is due to processes, other times it’s due to technology not keeping up with your staff and processes. Around 2016, Solid State Drives (SSDs) became so affordable that they were commercially viable for standard workstations/laptops. This was an incredible efficiency improvement as they were 15-40x faster than the older Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) at accessing, copying, moving, and writing data. This simple and affordable improvement meant that computers went from 5–10-minute boot up cycles to booting up in seconds, applications open, close and operate much faster as well. Creating and following an equipment replacement plan means that you’re able to capitalize on efficiency gains vs keeping the old slow computers around.
Lastly, but equally as important is keeping current. Sometimes the improvements are performance oriented, such as the SSD example in the last section, however, other times, it’s a security improvement such as getting devices with Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) that allow you to encrypt the computer and protect it from data exfiltration if it’s lost or stolen. Other times it could be a compatibility issue, we’re just two short years from Windows 10 going End of Life (EoL) and as it is now, there are many devices are performant enough to use and be happy with but are ineligible for Windows 11 upgrade due to Processor model/generation, lack of TPM, or other compatibility issues. Unfortunately, compatibility issues can lead to downtime as easily as hardware failure can if your line of business software won’t run on your device after the latest upgrade due to compatibility issues.
While the three issues discussed are separate, like a Ven diagram, there’s a lot of overlap between the three and sometimes one can cause the other to become true. If you want to avoid all three, begin thinking about lifecycle management and begin budgeting for equipment replacement before it’s an urgent or emergent situation.