Posted by: Heather Shy on October 27, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Is IT project planning on your Q4 to-do list?
Despite everything else on your plate, there’s no denying that the close of one year and the beginning of the next is an excellent time to plan projects. As you do your Q4 review, are you facing these three challenges in IT project planning?
- Identifying what isn’t working in your business computer network?
- Determining a reasonable budget for network upgrades?
- Scheduling a project for the least disruptive time?
Year-end is a great time to review these questions, and to get answers.
How to begin planning your next computer upgrade project
You may already have an idea of what is working and what isn’t working in your IT:
- Do you have network connection problems?
- Are your computers too slow?
- Would you like staff to work remotely?
- Are you thinking about cloud backups or a full private cloud solution?
- Do you worry if your network is really secure against cyber crime?
Your staff probably knows what some of the computer network problems are. Ask them. Slow computers and lost connections are aggravating for everyone. Worse, they cause downtime and other productivity loss that cost your business money.
If staff input doesn’t provide enough information, consider a network assessment by knowledgeable computer experts. A network assessment can reveal hidden problems, including network slowness, viruses, and malware. In addition, this knowledge can reveal areas where your network can run more efficiently.
Determining a reasonable budget for IT projects
There are several ways to determine and manage a budget for IT projects, including tax write-offs, hardware-as-a-service (HaaS), and monthly flat-fee plans.
Tax write-offs — No doubt, as a business owner, you are familiar with the Section 179 tax code. This rule allows business owners to write off purchases such as computer hardware as a business expense. It is subject to dollar limits, and the business then forfeits later depreciation deductions on that equipment. (See your tax advisor for details.) This option can vastly reduce the hardware cost of your project.
Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) — Based on the traditional lease model, HaaS allows your business to pay for computer hardware with a flat, monthly fee. HaaS adds the benefit of hardware replacement, as well as the option to upgrade equipment at renewal time.
Monthly flat-fee plans — No doubt, you’re considering an IT project to solve problems with your computer network. But what about ongoing maintenance and monitoring? A flat-fee monthly maintenance plan eliminates costly hourly repair fees. Ongoing monitoring protects the investment you made in your IT project. Furthermore, migrating your network to the cloud may mean you never have to purchase another server ever again. Instead your network costs are predictable and can be budgeted monthly.
Finding the time: scheduling your IT project
Many businesses owners find that the end of the calendar year is the best time to schedule IT projects. Here in southeast Michigan, many small businesses still get a built-in break as the auto manufacturers shut down for line changes. Holiday slowdowns give many businesses more time to work out process changes with less pressure.
Like all projects, it takes time to get all the pieces in place for IT updates. Even if you’re delaying projects into early next year, now is a good time to start your IT project planning.