The Cost-Saving Benefits & Predictability Of Proactive IT Maintenance
Controlling costs is imperative for all business leaders. There is nothing more frustrating than creating a budget only to have it blown out of the water by the end of the first quarter.
Technology budgets are often unpredictable. All it takes is one major outage or hardware replacement to completely decimate a well-planned cost projection. But there is something you can do to minimize unexpected IT budget hits.
As a service delivery manager at Kelser, I’ve seen how a proactive approach to maintenance has helped our customers avoid budget surprises and I’ll explain how it could help your organization, too.
The fact is that when your IT infrastructure and devices aren’t proactively maintained, it can quickly lead to costly surprises.
In this article, we’ll explore the role proactive IT maintenance plays in minimizing budget overruns and optimizing organizational performance.
What Is Proactive IT Maintenance?
Just as an annual physical exam can detect or prevent small health problems from growing more serious, proactive IT maintenance provides ongoing monitoring and management of your entire IT infrastructure (including devices and servers) to identify and mitigate problems before they have a chance to grow.
(You may have also heard the term predictive maintenance in which a combination of historical and real-time data from sensors and other monitoring systems within your technology infrastructure tracks performance and anticipates service requirements. Some of these arrangements use artificial intelligence or machine learning tools.)
Challenges Of Proactive IT Maintenance
While there are advantages to proactive IT maintenance there are challenges to keep in mind.
Proactive IT maintenance necessitates accurate planning and tracking. Not only financial and staffing planning, but equipment end of life statistics to effectively plan for critical hardware refresh cycles.
Related article: 5 Things Your IT Budget Must Include (& Why)
2. Leadership Support
To effectively plan and execute a proactive technology maintenance strategy, the IT team needs leadership support including:
ResourcesYour IT team will be stifled without appropriate financial and staffing resources. Both types of resources are critical to carry out the details of your comprehensive, proactive IT maintenance plan.
KnowledgeTo effectively plan, the technology team needs full transparency when it comes to the organization's business strategy and upcoming goals.
For example, proactive IT planning must account for business growth projections and the corresponding budget impact of added staff, physical locations, hardware, licensing fees, and more.
If the business is shrinking, the IT team can project cost reduction opportunities into the budget including modifications to licensing agreements.
In the beginning the planning process will be difficult, but once you establish the comprehensive template you will know the information you need to include. This will streamline your budgeting process while maintaining the integrity of your data.
Related article: IT Budgeting: A Planning Guide
The payoff for your hard work will be fewer disruptions for users and minimal unplanned budget hits. Everyone wins!
The Potential Impacts Of Neglecting Infrastructure & Device Maintenance
Neglecting the upkeep of your technology infrastructure can have significant impacts including:
1. Unpredictable Costs
Without proactive planning and maintenance, you never know when something will break and how much it will cost to repair. Will you need to pay a premium for a quick fix? Will the first fix solve the problem or will more work be required?
2. Time Delays
What if something goes down during your busiest time for production or billing? And what if the one part you need for the repair is on backorder?
What if something gets lost in shipping or processing? No business can afford downtime and not knowing how long the fix will take can be stressful as anticipating the budget hit.
3. Security Vulnerabilities
Developers provide patches and updates to address security vulnerabilities and productivity issues. Your infrastructure is at risk of an expensive (and reputation-damaging) cyber incident until those patches and updates are installed.
Proactive IT makes sure that everything is installed in a timely fashion to keep your network and data safe.
Benefits Of Proactive IT Maintenance
As we’ve mentioned, when you implement proactive IT maintenance strategies, you are always focused on the future.
This approach all but eliminates those quick-response emergency situations in which your IT team is forced to drop everything to respond to the latest technology crisis, not knowing the full budget impact until the issue is resolved and everything is back up and running.
Strategic IT maintenance offers several advantages for your IT budget and for your business. Here are four:
1. Better Financial Management
When you plan ahead you can maximize your buying power and can often capitalize on advanced pricing deals. In addition, it tracks the health of your devices so you'll have the information you need to predict and plan for device and hardware replacement, eliminating unexpected budget overruns.
2. Scheduling Advantages
When you schedule routine maintenance and upgrades for a slow time or after hours, you minimize the potential disruption and impact on your users and your business infrastructure.
3. Enhanced Security
Proactive maintenance includes monitoring for unauthorized access as well as automated patching and updates. Vulnerabilities are closed and updates applied without downtime to keep your infrastructure elements protected, minimizing the likelihood of a costly and disruptive cyber incident.
4. Improved Productivity & Operational Efficiency
When you minimize downtime, productivity is positively affected. Strategic IT maintenance means that you anticipate needs before they happen, so you can resolve them before they impact your users and customers.
In the same way that routine automobile maintenance keeps things running smoothly and extends the life of your vehicle, proactive IT maintenance keeps your IT infrastructure running optimally and extends the life of your equipment and devices with minimal interruption for users.
By proactively maintaining your technology infrastructure, you ensure that your equipment is safe, available, and efficient yielding significant productivity advantages.
What’s The Bottom Line?
In this article, we’ve focused on the cost-saving and budgetary predictability that proactive IT support provides.
You now understand what proactive IT maintenance entails and some of the challenges that can come with it (accuracy, leadership support, and planning). We’ve discussed the potential implications of neglecting IT infrastructure and device maintenance (unpredictable costs, time delays, and security vulnerabilities).
We also talked about the budget and operational efficiencies of proactive IT (better financial management, scheduling advantages, enhanced security, and improved productivity & operational efficiency).
While only you can decide which is right for your business, I encourage you to fully explore proactive IT support and maintenance solutions.
If you are looking for a solution to your technology budget challenges, proactive IT maintenance is one way to achieve a reliable, cost-effective solution.
For anyone who may be finding this concept daunting, external IT providers can help you plan and track your IT costs so that you will have the tools you need in place when you need them.
Kelser provides this planning support as part of our managed IT support services offering, but we know that isn’t the right solution for everyone, so we encourage you to explore your options and find the provider that is the best fit for you.
Considering exploring external IT support? Learn the 10 best questions to ask any external IT provider.
On the fence about whether you need external IT support? This article explains decide if your business needs external IT support.
Or if the whole concept of technology budgeting and external IT support has you confused and you just want to talk things through, click the button below and one of our solutions experts will schedule a 15-minute phone conversation.