Why it’s time for your annual IT review and why you shouldn’t skip it

Steve is the manager at his company. It’s approaching the end of the year, and his thoughts are focused on the holiday party and making sure he’s got the year-end bonuses figured out. What’s he not thinking about? An annual IT review and budget cycle.

But because he’s not thinking about that, he’s going to be spending next year continuing to waste money, energy, and time. Because he’s not thinking about it, his company’s computers could end up getting virus since it was outdated. Because he’s not thinking about it, the energy bill at his company will continue to be higher than it needs to. Because he’s not thinking about it, he’ll be paying employees to maintain outdated hardware when their time could be better spent elsewhere.

So while Steve sips punch at the company holiday party, he’s setting himself up for another year of throwing away money and letting his software and hardware become another year closer to obsolete and impossible to maintain and protect.

***

At the end of the year, as you consider your plan for the upcoming year, factor in IT. The best place to start is to step back and ask big questions. What do you want to try and accomplish this year? Are you bringing in new people? Do you want to update your systems to work better and faster?

Do a common sense test. Go into the backroom and make someone tell you what everything is. If no one knows what it is, why do you have it? Look for things to kill, make sure you know what everything is. Running a server costs hundreds in terms of electricity. You may be paying for maintenance on hardware and software that you may not be actively using or needing.

Legacy systems can be a maintenance nightmare in terms of trying to find parts and trying to keep them running, and it’s not worth it.

Start budgeting to replace old equipment. It’s three to four years for workstations and four to five years for servers.

If you figure out what you’ll be buying and what you’ll be needing in the year, you can plan it into your budget, so you don’t have too many (hopefully any!) nasty surprises in terms of big-time unexpected costs.

If you’ve never done an IT budget and review, it’ll take some time. But if you get in the habit of doing it every year, it’ll take less time, and you’ll be able to have up-to-date systems that work the way that you want them to. You won’t be wasting time, money, and man hours on things you don’t need.

Start your new year off right. Be better than Steve and plan for an IT budget and review.

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