Managing technology is becoming more complicated for enterprises. Monitoring and maintaining equipment, as well as keeping it up-to-date for patches or software updates can be daunting. Technology lifecycle management can be a source of dread in a large organization.
Add to that reality the complexity of an increasingly cloud-dependent IT landscape. Enterprises are shifting workloads to the cloud and outsourcing much of their services related to software, infrastructure, and data storage. They are procuring large fleets of devices to fulfill Internet of Things (IoT) plans to increase productivity and improve customer experiences.
With all of these cloud-based systems impacting enterprise IT, it adds a layer of complexity to monitoring and management. There are service level agreements (SLAs) from multiple providers, mobile devices that seem to practically multiply overnight, and a security plane that has been expanded dramatically with cloud access points and increasing devices.
In addition, employees and line-of-business managers are often sidestepping IT when introducing new technology into their toolboxes. It’s easy to download and begin using a new, cloud-based application without the assistance of an IT professional, and employees often incorporate new technology without it occurring to them how it might impact security or other aspects under IT’s management responsibilities.
What Is Technology Lifecycle Management?
To combat these trends in the complexity of enterprise IT, it’s becoming common to adopt a strategy for technology lifecycle management. Here are the basic elements involved in a lifecycle management plan:
- A detailed register of every technology asset, which includes operating systems, applications, hardware, middleware, and dependencies between elements in the environment.
- The assignment of an asset owner and business process for each item.
- A detailed schedule that accommodates updates and reviews.
- A record of expiration dates that includes lead times and provider roadmaps with details about when a resource may no longer be supported.
The Risks of Not Having Lifecycle Management in Place
The process of developing a technology lifecycle management strategy may seem daunting, but there are a number of risks associated with a failure to develop this type of strategy:
Loss of potential opportunities: When you have items that haven’t been updated, security gaps in your middleware or applications that are missing the latest features, you may lose your flexibility and adaptability. You’ll watch the rest of your market move forward with new technologies, targeting your customers. When you’re locked in with certain systems and dependencies you may lose opportunities.
Failure of business processes: When your technology isn’t functioning or you suffer a security breach, it affects both your reputation and your revenue. It also takes your company hostage as it distracts everyone and forces them to focus on recovery.
While it may be impossible to completely prevent failure, lifecycle management helps ensure you can predict this type of event and have an action plan ready.
Unanticipated costs: When a failure occurs, addressing the situation can be costly and time-consuming. When you are operating in a crisis mode, you’ll incur costs that wouldn’t impact you if they were planned for or if you had avoided the crisis with a lifecycle management strategy.
For instance, if you have an application that receives automatic updates, but your team missed a notice from the provider that it would not support the solution after a certain date, the application may stop working without warning. Now you are in the position of needing to quickly choose a replacement application, determine a path for handling data, and address security issues.
Loss of customers and revenue: If you experience a system failure, or if a valuable feature is no longer available to your customers because the provider no longer supports it, what level of inconvenience will your customers tolerate? If your system is down for a few hours, or a full day, what’s the impact on your revenue?
Missed cost savings opportunities: From negotiating with providers through long-term business relationships to securing special pricing by buying devices in a bundle, there are cost savings that come with outsourcing lifecycle management to a services agent. They can negotiate better pricing and help you anticipate upcoming costs that will impact your IT budget.
Complexity in the environment: Investing in lifecycle management comes with some distinct perks that ease the complexity of enterprise IT. From receiving one simple invoice each month to only having a single contact and phone call to make when there’s a problem, lifecycle management can ease the stress of a system issue.
This can also provide much-needed services to small businesses, which may not have the resources to focus on lifecycle management. While at a larger enterprise, a service like this can ease the pressure on IT teams managing new levels of cyber security planning and compliance.
For more information about technology lifecycle management and how the benefits of a strategy like this could provide advantages to your enterprise, contact us at PAG. We are committed to helping our clients save money, get more control over IT spending and their monthly invoices and gain a clear understanding of their telecom services.