IT lifecycle management is a holistic approach to managing the entire useful life of IT assets from acquisition, installation, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning and replacement. It allows for planning, examining your business needs, budget, and timing to acquire, use and phase out various technologies strategically.
Some assets to consider in your IT lifecycle management plan:
- Desktop PCs
- Mobile devices
- Routers, switches, and other network hardware
- Operating systems
- Business-critical applications
Effective IT lifecycle management can help your business plan for the future. Some of the benefits of employing IT lifecycle management services include:
Forecast Your IT Needs for Better Budgeting
Planning for future expenditures is a crucial part of running a successful business. Understanding the cost of IT resources throughout their lifecycle is part of making informed purchasing decisions for your business
Reduce Unexpected Downtime
When IT infrastructure fails, it can quickly grind your business to a halt. Slowed productivity caused by outdated systems can affect job quality and morale for your employees and cost your company time and money.
Businesses face constant threats from cyberattacks, and failing IT infrastructure leaves you vulnerable to bad actors and malware. Security breaches can mean lost data, lost revenue, damaged customer relations, and even legal consequences if the business is shown to have failed compliance regulations.
IT lifecycle management can be broken down into four phases:
- Procurement: The initial step in any IT lifecycle is the purchase of the technology itself. Before moving forward with any purchases, it’s best to have a plan in place. It includes a complete evaluation of your existing IT infrastructure, identifying and addressing any deficiencies or opportunities to extend the infrastructure, and creating short and long-term plans to maximize the budget and leverage existing IT infrastructure. It also involves planning for asset disposal at the end of the lifecycle, negotiating with vendors to find the best possible solutions for your company within budget, procuring new IT assets, reviewing purchase logistics, and finalizing any financing options.
- Deployment: After the assets are procured, they will need to be installed and integrated with existing systems. The deployment phase of IT lifecycle management includes scheduling, testing, set up, and inventory management. This phase is vital because a poorly optimized deployment can severely impact both performance and lifecycle.
- Management: This is perhaps the most critical step in hardware lifecycle management. A good management strategy is vital in extending the lifespan of your IT and keeping it performing as optimally as possible. This ranges from monitoring, compliance, maintenance, backup, and financial management. Management lasts throughout the tenure of the equipment, as it requires monitoring and tech support throughout its lifecycle.
- Decommissioning: The final stage of the management cycle involves the responsible removal of technological assets once your company replaces them. It includes sanitization, asset removal, and disposal/lease management returns.
If you don’t currently have an IT lifecycle management plan, look at when your technology was purchased and its life expectancy so you can plan around that end date, your business needs and examine replacement options. It’s crucial to have a plan for a replacement before your current asset reaches its end of life, thereby staggering and overlapping lifecycles.