Whilst in some cases the urgency of an arising need tends to dictate when IT or software services are purchased, a greater emphasis should be placed on a more proactive and strategic approach to procurement.
Empower usually recommends clients engage in annual reviews and technology planning sessions, so that new IT solutions are implemented in a way that minimises disruption to work and maximises financial advantage.
As a basic guideline, organisations should review their technology requirements once or twice a year, and put in place an annual plan to purchase hardware or software accordingly.
When is the best time to review, plan and schedule your IT projects?
There are two important times to examine your IT service and/or software development needs:
- three months prior to the start of every calendar year
- three months prior to the start of a new financial year
A review three months prior to the new calendar year allows companies to identify any problems early and gives them time to find a service provider and schedule IT work in or around holiday seasons, i.e. when most staff members go on annual leave.
A review three months prior to the new financial year, allows companies to determine what portion of their technology expenditure should be budgeted for in the current year, versus the next financial year. This is especially important in relation to any hardware items that may be depreciated or written off.
A review prior to the financial year also allows for effective reinvestment of profits -identifying any tax offsets or breaks that can be gained from making technology purchases prior to, or after the new financial year.
Unfortunately, in the all too common, reactive approach to purchasing or upgrading business technology, this aspect of timing and pre-planning is often neglected. Also neglected is the product sale and deployment life cycle – with potentially disastrous consequences.
Note: even the most basic of IT projects, can take 3-4 weeks to implement. This may include time to: get a professional opinion(/s), design an IT solution, get go ahead on project, scheduling and sourcing hardware from 3rd party vendors – all before your actual solution is deployed.
Similarly, with a basic software solution, you could be looking at 6-8 weeks, taking into consideration that more time is required for:
- business process audits
- requirements gathering
- software solution testing
Whether you need to complete an IT project, commission an IT company for IT managed services, or develop some custom software to simplify your business, annual technology planning is vital.
Remember, the above mentioned time frames are only rough estimates, and can change dramatically according to: the size of your company, number of decision makers, size of the project and size of your budget.
With adequate planning your organisation stands to benefit from a smoother roll out of technology, minimised downtime and disruption to staff, and the efficiencies that come with a well planned and executed roll out of your new technology.
With inadequate planning your organisation can end up in a desperate rush to fix, replace or upgrade systems, in a situation where staff are potentially left without access to computers, the internet, or data for hours on end. Ultimately this can result in a more costly project and a poor technology adoption experience.
To get the most out of your technology planning sessions, contact Empower IT Solutions