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Systems upgrades – do they need to be so complex?

Businesses are investing in new digital tools at an unprecedented pace right now. Future IT spending by businesses is expected to be substantial, so smart decisions should be made about where and when to spend their technology budgets. Although one upgrade may be crucial to company success, another may simply be a bad investment. 

Businesses must regularly assess the performance of their systems, and replace them where necessary with more robust models, to ensure user experience and efficiency remain optimum. Systems upgrades are a necessary and routine aspect of any business relying on technology, but can be seen to be a complex and time-consuming undertaking. Upgrading your system can be as simple and painless as possible if the right steps are taken. 

Should I consider a system upgrade?

There will always be upgrades required for technology. Businesses will need to upgrade because of consumer demand for new features, government compliance changes, and the desire for more seamless productivity and processes. Sometimes, adding new components to an existing IT environment can extend the life of the infrastructure, whether hardware or software updates. 

Upgrading systems can also create cost efficiencies over time. Older systems have more issues, and as a result, higher costs. The cost of disruption caused by unstable systems and software can, in a matter of moments, become more than the cost of upgrading them. Digital transformation leads to more efficiency, more secure systems, more functionality, and agility.

Reducing the complexity of systems upgrade

Upgrading systems doesn’t have to be the complex, arduous task it is perceived to be. There are ways to reduce the complexity of systems upgrades:

Understand the reason for the system upgrade

An upgrade should deliver a clearly measurable benefit. When deciding whether or not to upgrade a system, consider the costs associated with design work, personnel hours for implementation, support team training, and potential lost productivity. A significant intangible cost may impact the financial scope of an upgrade project. 

A quick check of the upgrade path can help determine the value of upgrading a system. For example, when compared to an evolutionary upgrade path, a new system may seem to cost more, but the cost to maintain the old system may be much greater.

Know the details

Although system upgrades are rarely singular in nature, they encompass several, if not all, operational aspects of the agency. Third-party apps, physical drivers, security standard operating procedures, customer service connections, and any other technology that requires interoperability with other systems all need to be ready for the system upgrade before it can be implemented. All associated components must be prepared to move forward before the system upgrade can be successfully executed. 

Have a strategy

A well-defined strategy keeps things focused and less susceptible to well-meaning changes which may derail an otherwise straightforward systems upgrade. Whether it is hardware or software upgrades, a strategy ensures the project moves forward as it should.

There is a danger of losing momentum when there is no short-term demonstrative output from the project, proving whether or not the project is on track. To avoid this, it’s crucial to split the upgrade project into smaller, more achievable projects and tasks. 

Having too many solutions layered on and taking on multiple ‘best of breed’ systems may lead to problems in the backend and result in an overburdened IT environment. It may result in systems being unable to communicate with one another and may have long-term consequences. 

IT departments can ensure security by carrying out regular checks and balances and identifying vulnerabilities in new systems, as well as preventing cyber-attacks or broader integration issues that may prevent certain solutions from working as expected. 

Business IT support from the experts

A dedicated team should be established to ensure that any upgrade project is completed and safeguarded. The process and governance of an upgrade project should be well handled to ensure it is done properly, securely, and efficiently. Assuming that the best people will ‘just deliver’ is underestimating the potential difficulty of the upgrade and will subsequently increase the cost of completing it. A long-term perspective on upgrading is critical for organisations to thrive.

Technology is crucial to gaining a competitive advantage, but it’s not enough on its own. The consultants at Linktech Australia focus on your people and processes so you can use the best technology solutions that are tailored to your business. Our consultants can ensure your systems upgrades are well planned and managed from start to finish. Talk to them today.