The technology landscape is always shifting. With IT budgets forecast to grow by only 4.3% globally, businesses are struggling to keep their IT assets current while managing costs so that they can remain competitive.
Unfortunately, many are burdened with a legacy infrastructure that is both obsolete and expensive to maintain. The costs associated with sourcing, acquiring, and deploying new hardware can be prohibitive, not to mention the drain on resources and disruption to a business’ operations caused by such a move.
So what is the best course of action? Rather than becoming mired in an endless cycle of managing an outdated hardware environment, the key is to embrace a strategy of continual hardware refreshes that will keep your assets up to date.
What you need is an Evergreen IT strategy.
What is Evergreen IT?
At a fundamental level, Evergreen IT refers to the continuous updating and migration of technology to keep it current. Microsoft defines it this way:
Evergreen IT refers to running services comprised of components that are always up to date. Evergreen IT encompasses not only the services at the user level but all of the underlying infrastructures, whether onsite or outsourced. Many organizations believe that evergreen IT holds promise for reducing the resources and energy they need to spend on providing the up-to-date and flexible services that their users are demanding.
The rise of cloud computing, as well as the increasing usage of hybrid IT architectures, is a key driver of the Evergreen IT trend. More and more organizations are abandoning the traditional approach, which usually consisted of long procurement cycles followed by large-scale hardware upgrades, in favour of a more perpetual and dynamic approach.
Not only does this lead to overall organizational agility, but one U.S. federal government agency saw a 20% reduction in IT spending and realized more than $168 million in savings over five years.
Indeed, some of the benefits of adopting this approach include:
- Improved organizational flexibility
- Increased competitiveness
- Lowered security risk
- Reduced hardware costs
- Eliminating disruptive migration project cycles
The Essential Elements of an Evergreen IT Strategy
While the idea of Evergreen IT is becoming increasingly popular, sadly, many organizations consistently fail to implement it properly. It requires a commitment at the leadership level to embrace perpetual change, as well as a planning and budgeting framework to support it.
The keys to a successful evergreen IT strategy include:
Most executives are used to a hardware upgrade cycle that spans years. Shifting toward an Evergreen IT approach can mean a dozen or more cycles per year. Therefore, it represents not only a fundamental shift in how a company’s business strategy is laid out, but also requires an organizational-wide commitment to more efficient and fluid processes.
Therefore, proper planning is essential to a successful shift toward Evergreen IT, and should consider the following:
Budgeting. Your IT budget has to shift to one that can support an evergreen IT approach, as technology needs will change rapidly. Ultimately, you will be changing from a reactive to a proactive way of acquiring new technology, so you will need the financial flexibility to facilitate it.
Processes. Evergreen IT is all about agility, and most organizations will need to examine and adapt their processes to support it. These can include changing the approvals process, communications, IT operations methodologies, communications, and workflows.
Organizational buy-in. To prepare for rapid change, your workforce will need to be ready. Ensure that there is organizational buy-in so that employees can adapt as needed.
Mapping Out Support Timelines
It’s essential that you have clarity on your hardware’s support and warranty timelines. This will ultimately dictate their lifecycle and will help you make informed decisions on when replacements should be carried out.
When a warranty or support for a piece of hardware is visible on the horizon, an organization should already have a refresh plan in place to be ready for the refresh at the end-of-lifecycle.
Knowing When to Refresh Hardware
Using an Evergreen IT approach means that you will have overlapping refresh cycles, rather than intermittent large-scale upgrades. Hardware refreshes should be considered when:
Device warranties and/or support are expiring
Hardware warranties can be complex, and businesses often face the question of whether or not to extend the support to keep it in service for longer.
This inevitably brings up the dilemma of “throwing good money after bad”. Because at some point, your hardware will become too expensive to support and maintain.
However, planning a refresh as support ends can ensure that all of your hardware operates at peak efficiency and can maximize your ROI in the long term.
Reliability is becoming an issue
As hardware ages, it becomes less reliable. Server failure rates can typically be as high as 18% after seven years of service, which can significantly affect your operations. Replacing aging hardware rather than trying to extend its lifecycle will help ensure you remain competitive.
Limited processing power due to obsolescence
Anticipating obsolescence is an art unto itself. But the truth is, it will inevitably catch up with you. Holding on to legacy equipment with limited processing power will drastically impede your ability to maintain a dynamic computing environment.
You are lacking capacity with current hardware
Another issue with legacy hardware is that it can severely limit your computing capacity. Refreshing with up to date hardware will give you the scalability to grow your computing capacity to align with your organizational needs.
Adopting an Evergreen IT strategy will give your business the agility and flexibility you need to meet your organizational goals. It’s a matter of careful planning and executing your hardware refresh strategy with an eye towards always being up to date with the latest technology.
Does your business have the flexibility you need to meet your goals down the road? Resolute’s Managed IT Services can help ensure your company has the technology you need to keep your competitive edge. To learn how our solutions can work for you, contact us.