Posted by: Heather Toll on September 7, 2018 at 8:00 am
We know, we know – it’s barely September and we’re already talking about year-end. But, in the famous words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast.” Quarter 4 starts in less than a month. 2019 will be here before we know it. We find that, for most businesses, fourth quarter is a good time to implement IT projects.
Between Thanksgiving and New Years’ Day, most manufacturers and B2B service providers experience a slowdown. This gives many the opportunity to take on major and minor IT projects with a minimum of business disruption.
So, why start now? As you probably know, most of the work that goes into a successful project is done in the planning stages. In addition, if financing is required, that process takes time too. A third reason to start now is to get on our project schedule before we fill up!
Implementing IT projects in Q4 can be especially helpful for seasonal businesses, where the busy time falls in the spring. These include CPAs, real estate, and construction companies. Have everything in place and ready to go when your hectic season starts!
Here are 5 project ideas for quarter 4:
New server. Is your server over 5 years old? Is it running slowly or running out of space? Are hard drives failing? Then it’s time to replace it. You might be able to move to a cloud-based server at a much lower cost than a physical server. Either way, if you want it ready to go by the new year, then the time to start having that discussion is right now.
New PCs. The recommended life span for desktops and laptops is 3 years. After that, computers start slowing down, affecting productivity. If replacing all your computers every 3 years seems like a huge expense – and it is for many – consider replacing 1/3 of the company desktops and laptops each year. Like many offices, you may have a mix of old and new computers but no set replacement schedule. We can help you conduct a computer age survey and develop a rolling replacement plan. Once that plan is in place, it is much easier to replace old hardware when people spend less time in the office.
Upgrade to Windows 10. If replacing even 1/3 of the older computers in your office is too much of a financial burden, at the very least you should start planning your upgrade to Windows 10. Microsoft will end extended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, and Windows 8.1 is already out of mainstream support. Windows 10 is faster and more secure than either of these older operating systems. Get started with a survey of the operating systems in your office so you know what you have and what you will need.
VoIP. Are you planning to switch to a VoIP system? Give your staff the gift of a little extra breathing room in learning how best to use the new system and features.
Switch to Office 365. Many companies are moving to the cloud for its flexibility and increased productivity on the road. While this changeover is less invasive than most of the others above, adapting to a new email layout, login method, etc. can take some time. Why not give your staff the opportunity to make this change during a slower time of year?
If you’re planning to do any of these or other IT projects, now is the time to get started on the planning and budgeting process.