What Is IT Lifecycle Management and Why Should You Care?
Getting people and equipment to accomplish common business goals is not an easy task. Management makes this work easier by keeping track of everything. As the digitization of business increased so did the use of technology. Keeping track of all the IT assets became mandatory for survival. In the quest for gaining technological superiority, IT lifecycle management became an area of focus.
Defining IT Lifecycle Management
Information technology lifecycle management is the management of all the IT-related assets throughout their life. It is usually a succession of stages that begins at planning and ending at decommissioning of the asset in question.
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Steps in IT Lifecycle Management
The sequence of stages in an IT assets lifecycle is predictable and straightforward. These include:
1. Planning: Everything starts at the planning stage. If you or your business demands anything you first plan for it. Think of the ways in which the need can be fulfilled. From where, by whom and for how much it will be made available for your use. All this is cover under planning.
2. Procurement: Identifying the right vendor to purchase the asset from is covered under procurement. This is the stage of actual acquisition.
3. Deployment: Once the asset is acquired, it is time to put it to good use. This includes tagging and installation of the asset. Product setup is also a regular feature at this stage.
4. Usage: Now that everything is set as it should be, the asset can finally be put to good use. It finally enters the mainstream processes and becomes a part of the workflow. Maintenance, license renewal and compliance checking is commonly conducted throughout this time at regular intervals or as demanded by the asset manual.
5. Upgrade: With the passage of time there is wear and tear of equipment. Sometimes software becomes outdated and needs to be upgraded. At this stage, all such activities are carried out which increase the productive life of the IT asset.
6. Decommission: Once the asset has lived out its productive life, it is time to bring it out of the workflow and decommission. This can happen due to changes in technology, the equipment or software becoming faulty beyond repair or changes in the business demands.
7. Disposal & Salvage: Finally its time to dispose of the asset such that data integrity is not affected. Responsibly removing the IT asset is all about maintaining compliance, safeguarding company data and not harming the environment.
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Need for IT Lifecycle Management
Planning gives every business owner a glimpse into the future and a chance to prepare for it accordingly. Forecasting and budgeting are important aspects of planning. In the case of IT management, it is all the more important because of constantly changing technology and security requirements.
1. Informed Purchase Decisions
Making informed purchase decisions requires gathering extensive and in-depth information about vendors and their products, processing it, understanding its advantages and disadvantages in meeting your requirements, comparing the cost to your budget and ultimately choosing the one who is most suited to meet your needs. Only informed purchase decisions will help you get the best value for money offer.
2. Optimum Allocation of Resources
Knowing the status of all your assets or resources is important for allocation. When you know the life expectancy of your asset and the current stage in which it is at present, the information will help you plan for the best course of action. It will assist you in making decisions like taking on more work or cutting it down, employing or purchasing additional resources and cutting down inventory to make more space.
3. Operational Security & Compliance
As a part of IT lifecycle management, the operational security and compliance of assets are checked regularly. License counts are compared to know whether they are correct or if there are any discrepancies. If there are discrepancies action is taken by purchasing additional licenses, extending the existing ones, terminating those that are not needed etc. The software is upgraded to be in sync with the changes in technology. Maintenance, troubleshooting, patch fixing, and bug fixing is done to maintain strict security measures. Data integrity has to be maintained at all costs.
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4. Better Service Quality
Continuous tracking of assets is important for all ventures. Customer satisfaction depends on timely delivery and service quality, both of which are made possible by the IT asset management lifecycle. If you are able to keep your assets in good health you will be able to deliver your best to your clients. The quality of your service also improves drastically. The better you are at IT lifecycle management the happier the customers.
5. Increase Adaptability
Technology changes often. Processes, methodologies, and techniques also change in accordance. In order to stay abreast with the changes, it is important to know your IT assets inventory level as well as status. Once this data is available it becomes possible to adapt. In business, adaptation is the key to survival. Your ability to adapt even on short notice gives you an edge over the competition. IT lifecycle management gives you an in-depth knowledge of your business such that you can shuffle and change things without disrupting your existing workflow.
Why Should You Care?
Overseeing resources is necessary to avoid the potential dangers that may arise due to the non-existence of an asset management policy. The capability to precisely know the stage at which your IT asset exists helps in adhering to all compliance policies, maintaining a high level of security, decreasing the risk of unexpected audits by vendors and protecting intellectual property rights. A complete understanding of your IT asset is indispensable to the success of your business. It helps to avoid financial repercussions as well as hits to your business reputation.
In the long run, IT lifecycle management will help you become a better version of yourself, businesswise. This will give you cutting edge advantage in the market. Most importantly you will be considered technologically superior to others. As an IT outsourcing company or a managed services provider, it is in your interest to do robust IT lifecycle management.
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The Final Word
The main reason behind the failure of IT companies is weak IT asset management. Not knowing what they have in assets, their life expectancy and their level of account for wastage and fines, all of which cause diminished productivity. In order to overcome such occurrences IT lifecycle management comes to your rescue. It is and should be an integral part of your business workflow. Thanks to modern technology, asset management has become as easy as tagging the asset and linking it to a tracking software. Complicated work made easy: that’s what technology is all about!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November 2018. It has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.