What’s the Best Way to Conduct a Year-End Technology Upgrade?
The last quarter of the year is when many UK businesses look at making technology upgrades.
Some are trying to use budgets before year-end, and others are just using the time around the holidays (which can be slower for some businesses) to make updates before they get busy again.
When you’re looking at technology solutions for updating your IT infrastructure, you want to have a strategic plan, so you’re not just adopting new technologies for the sake of change, but are actually making choices that will pay you back in productivity, risk mitigation, etc.
According to a survey by ComTIA of global trends, spending on technology this year is within four key areas:
- Software development (57%)
- Cybersecurity (51%)
- Data (47%)
- Infrastructure (45%)
While main technology requirements will be similar for many organisations, the details (such as what software to buy, IT security to put in place) will differ according to each company’s unique needs.
So, how do you know exactly where your needs fall and which upgrades will help you the most?
That’s what a technology assessment is for.
Steps for Conducting an Assessment for a Year-End Technology Upgrade
It’s important to investigate, ask questions, and review stuck points in your workflows, so you can make the smartest choices when doing a technology upgrade.
Here are the steps you can take to assess your needs so you can choose the best IT upgrades for your business.
Survey Your Employees at All Levels
Before you get your managers or executives into a room together to decide your technology needs, it’s important to know what your employees on the front lines have to say.
It’s often the people working with your clients and software all day that can give you the most insightful information on what’s working and what’s not.
Send out a technology survey to your employees to gather their feedback on all areas of your IT infrastructure. Include questions such as:
- What are your 3 most favorite and least favorite applications?
- Which technology tools can’t you do without?
- Which technology do you wish our company had, and why?
- Do you do any manual, repetitive processes?
- What are your biggest frustrations with technology?
- Have you experienced a cybersecurity threat this year?
Have a Security Vulnerability Assessment Performed
Cybersecurity is one of the most important parts of any technology infrastructure. Just one breach or malware infection can cause hours or days of costly downtime. Credential theft is also on the rise and a big threat to cloud infrastructure.
Have an IT professional conduct an IT security vulnerability assessment, which will help you identify areas where you may need to improve your cybersecurity safeguards.
Review Feedback & Organise Your Upgrade Categories
Next, you’ll want to review the feedback from employees and your cybersecurity assessment. Identify technology that employees like, don’t like, and say they are in need of.
Look for mentions of manual, repetitive tasks that could be eliminated with automated technology processes.
When you are reviewing technology in so many areas, it’s smart to categorise them, which will help when you’re prioritising purchases.
Some standard upgrade categories you can use include:
- Replacement software (software replacing problematic applications)
- New software
- Hardware (computers, servers, etc.)
- Management and maintenance (managed IT services)
- Productivity boosts (replacing manual processes, etc.)
Trial New Software In Advance
For any software tools that you’re upgrading or adding, it’s important to trial these first before you commit. This gives you and your team the opportunity to find any shortcomings and compare two different tools for the same process.
Most software will offer a free trial that allows you and your team to demo a tool before it becomes part of your new workflow.
Prioritise Purchases & Rollouts
It’s a good idea to consult with your IT professional on prioritising your rollouts of technology upgrades.
For example, you don’t want your team to have to learn to use new computers at the same time they’re learning a new software tool.
Prioritise, so you can implement the most urgent upgrades first and then continue down the list through to the least urgent. Having a plan allows you to let your team know what to expect in advance, which will help any upgrades go more smoothly.
Follow Up After the Upgrades
Did a new software give you the productivity boost you wanted? Is your security better now that you’ve implemented endpoint management?
It’s important to first give users a few months to get used to the new workflows and tools and then survey them to see if the upgrades are the improvement you were looking for.
Doing an after-upgrade survey can help you hone processes that may have confused users, and that just need to have a little more training.
Get Help With Your Year-End Technology Assessment
Don’t upgrade without an experienced guide! Enable Technology can conduct a year-end technology assessment that helps you make the best choices when it comes to your technology upgrades.