TV reboots are hot right now—the past year alone has brought us reboots of Full(er) House, Ghostbusters, and The X-Files. Regardless of how you feel about these recent revivals and whether you think yesterday’s beloved shows are worth resurrecting for a new generation, there could be important lessons for IT. Some reboots are totally worth it, and some suck shamelessly, wasting valuable time and critical DVR space. The same goes for technology upgrades: some are worth your time could keep your business running faster, stronger, and longer, but those that aren’t worth the effort could waste time and money.
For many companies, their ability to choose between an upgrade or total replacement is bound by factors like strategy and budget. As Entrepreneur writes, this situation is often caused when it’s apparent that “business will outgrow the equipment, the equipment will become too slow, or the technology will become outdated.” Understanding when it’s time to take a queue from Scully and Mulder 2.0 and when the time to replace your equipment is critical.
The big (motion) picture
When evaluating whether it’s time to breathe new life into aging equipment, it’s critical to understand the needs of your end users. According to BPlans, this will typically involve an up-to-date index of your internal and external customer’s needs, as well as an understanding of the technology they’re using. Ideally, understanding the way technologies fit into the workflow of each department and user can be crucial for IT to grasp the larger user stories behind technology needs.
While an existing set of PCs may not have the processing power to support the needs of your business intelligence group, they could be the right fit for your customer service team. Make sure you have an understanding of the bigger picture, so you can put the right tech into the hands of the right users.
Invest in reboot-ready tech
The savviest IT organizations often invest with reboots in mind. In other words, they shop by equipment’s potential to sustain necessary upgrades and repairs that will extend its lifespan and slow its depreciation. Factors that can be helpful in determining whether it’s wise to invest can include vendor warranties and upgrades support, in-house maintenance expertise, and estimated cost of upgrades.
Develop a fit index
Evaluating the fit of your technology on a product-wide basis can be challenging. Instead, CIO advises that organizations focus on the “showstopper requirements,” or 10 to 20 percent of features that encompass most of the product’s value as a business tool. When evaluating whether it’s smart to do a reboot or replacement, you may choose to rank its features according to a scale that resembles the following:
- Doesn’t meet requirements
- Partly meets requirements
- Mostly meets requirements
- Fully meets requirements
Understanding how a product reboot, or shuffling equipment to a different user, can change it’s ranking on your fit index can be a simple way to maximize your decisions.
Know your long-term strategy
Despite widespread fanfare and critical appeal, the X-Files reboot has fans wondering where it’s going and what point (if any) there was in producing a reboot—beyond making money. Does your organization hope to double over the next three-to-five years? Do you have plans to significantly increase your analytical capability, which will demand a sudden jump in data storage and processing power? The most effective decisions to reboot your technology aren’t just an attempt to put off replacement until a user’s need for new equipment becomes dire—they’re a way to map your existing equipment to your long-term strategy goals.
Technology reboots don’t need to be awkward revivals of things best left retired. In the best case scenarios, rebooting your IT equipment allows you to bridge the gap between your user’s needs and your resources, while conserving your resources for where they’re needed.