What Is IT Lifecycle Management and Why Is It Important
Your business IT environment is constantly evolving, with operating systems being upgraded, new applications launched, and new hardware added. This ecosystem of connected resources that make up your IT infrastructure must be well-managed to ensure everything runs smoothly and is kept up-to-date. Unfortunately, this can be a daunting task, but it can be made easier with an IT lifecycle management program.
As far as cybersecurity is concerned, unpatched technology can create vulnerabilities in your business systems, creating a risk for cyberattacks. Besides, old and outdated technology can also put your business at risk. With a technology lifecycle management plan, you will better understand the risk areas and monitor the vulnerabilities for a more secure business.
What is IT Lifecycle Management?
All the technology assets or equipment you purchase come to the end of their life at some point. To keep up with your business needs and demands, they need to be updated regularly. Unfortunately, the timing for the upgrades is hard to predict. All IT assets can have varying longevity depending on the purposes they were designed to meet. While your business can survive without considering the lifecycle of these systems too deeply, neglecting them altogether will lead to a system crash or failure in the long run.
That is where IT lifecycle management comes in to help you know when you need to upgrade or replace your IT assets. The process is multi-faceted and entails planning, designing, acquiring, installing, and maintaining all the elements that comprise your business IT infrastructure. It calls for the convergence of astute business processes, in-depth technical knowledge, expert engineering, and financial services to proactively address the budgeting and management of IT infrastructure.
Importance of IT Lifecycle Management
When you have an accurate picture of how each element of your IT infrastructure is likely to evolve over the next few years, you can blend your technology acquisition strategy with a financial model that works. This will help you realize the full benefit of your technology assets without leaving room for vulnerabilities in the system.
An IT lifecycle management plan allows you to plan for all the stages of your IT assets, from deployment to utilization, expiration, and disposal. It enables you to have:
- An inventory for every technology resource within your environment, including the middleware, hardware, applications, operating systems, and the dependencies between various resources
- A business process with a specific owner assigned for each resource
- A schedule that looks into the reviews and updates based on the criticality
- A calendar or record of the expiration dates on technologies, mapped with lead times when your business technology resources will no longer be supported.
A lifecycle management approach helps you to schedule, predict, and plan for your IT assets. Your company stands to gain immense value from each component of IT lifecycle management. For example, having a provider who guides you through the assessment process, monitors updates and security patches, or disposes of outdated technology saves you from many technical issues.
Components of an IT Lifecycle Management Plan
For your business to derive the most value from its IT lifecycle management plan, it must first assess the current business needs and identify IT solutions or assets. This is the first critical step that helps you gauge your technology position against future growth plans. It tells you how ready you are to accommodate the various phases of the technology lifecycle.
The assessment process is proactive and entails looking at the expansion plans for how technology acquisition can support business goals. It brings together technical and business stakeholders who come up with a comprehensive report for the following crucial elements in IT lifecycle management:
- Acquisition and financing plans: this entails executing the goals and objectives outlined during the assessment phase. It is the stage at which your business procures the technology assets it identifies as necessary, puts together the logistics for each purchase, and finalizes the acquisition.
- Implementation plan: after acquiring the technology identified during the assessment process, the next step is to deploy it and integrate the assets into the IT environment. The stage also entails tracking the technology elements and identifying the purpose and ownership of each. Unfortunately, this step is becoming increasingly challenging for most businesses because of the complexities of cloud solutions and remote workers.
- Support plan: IT lifecycle management requires comprehensive support for optimal performance of the IT environment. It calls for proactive monitoring of incidents, configuration management, and phone support. A support plan also entails conducting periodic reviews of the metrics of system performance and evaluating the warranties. It’s a practical step in the management of IT infrastructure.
- Refresh: during this phase, your business starts to set aside funds for the future technology requirements of the company. The objectives in this phase are driven by the business strategies and run in cycles of two to five years. The stage is critical in helping you optimize the system components and devices that support your organizational goals.
- Asset retirement plan: a complete IT lifecycle management plan provides for asset disposal, outlined in the report development during the assessment phase. Unfortunately, most companies lack a plan for asset disposal yet don’t benefit from the resale of outdated devices. Having a retirement plan for your IT assets relieves your company of the concerns about environmental impact when disposing of expired IT assets. Your lifecycle management provider should provide e-recycling capabilities that support your company’s technology values.
Without a proper IT lifecycle management plan, your business could find itself ill-equipped to deal with business challenges in the future. It may also be unable to take on new business opportunities as they arise. Overall the value of IT lifecycle management lies in oversight of the whole IT environment.
Managing a technology lifecycle can be simple when broken down into the above steps. However, most small businesses may find it challenging to handle the many technical details involved in each process. Outsourcing the management of IT lifecycles is usually the easy and reliable way out that delivers the best results.
If you would like help in IT lifecycle management, experts from Initial IT are here to help. We are your trusted IT support and proven technology solutions provider. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for the management of your IT lifecycle.