Your browser is out of date.

You are currently using Internet Explorer 7/8/9, which is not supported by our site. For the best experience, please use one of the latest browsers.

Request a Consultation

Equipment Lifecycle Management

Replacing and updating computer systems is critical to maintaining a healthy IT network, whether at the server level, switches, routers, firewalls, or most commonly, end-user PCs. Every piece works together to form the network needed to serve you, your team, and your business, regardless of the industry in which you work. Without each and every component updated and in working order, your network can be at risk, your team doesn't have the resources to function, productivity plummets, and customer service suffers.

What are the challenges associated with (end-user) asset management?

The three biggest hurdles to effective end-user asset management are Cost, Time, and Training – all of which compound each other like interest on a credit card. The cost of the equipment seems never to be welcome and is, in most cases, unplanned. A lot of the time, the user’s hardware has failed and cannot be repaired (for several possible reasons); ordering and receiving new computers can take days or even weeks. So now, you have a situation where the frustration of unanticipated costs is compounded by lost productivity, as you wait for replacement equipment to arrive. Then, when the hardware is received, IT has to sit down with the user and try to piece together everything they need to be able to work again, then train them on any new features of this machine. Since they are under a time crunch and experiencing anxiety over the work that has piled up in the interim, end-users can have a hard time being patient and learning these new features. Now you have a user who feels they are letting their organization down, frustrated coworkers who are waiting for their work, and a user who is struggling to move forward. It really can be a disaster, causing interpersonal problems on your team that never should have existed.

Why don't people get ahead of the problem and simply manage their assets on a schedule?

Most businesses are working hard to serve their clients and actually do their jobs. The main challenge is the idea of proactively planning to replace machines and make that investment when you could perhaps squeeze out just a bit more life from the system. Especially in an economy that has been so hard hit by the pandemic in recent years, businesses have a bootstrap mentality. Investing in the future is often not a welcome thought when you’re trying to mitigate struggles in the present. That said, it’s a mistake to not do so that can really hurt future productivity and even profits.

What are the risks of poor asset management practices?

Security Risks

When one or more components of your network is not updated and in good working order, you lack the protections available in newer versions. This is key, because technology manufacturers incorporate recent cyber attack types and methodology into their new designs, baking in mitigating controls and new configurations that will help keep you secure. So often, our incident response engineers talk to people who have had their entire networks shutdown by an attack that, as it turns out, can be traced to outdated assets.

Financial Impact

As mentioned, productivity means profit. When your people can’t function in their daily jobs due to lack of reliable tools, you are looking at the cost of downtime. Best case scenario, you are looking at a lapse of time while a user or team is waiting for ordered equipment. Worst case scenario, you are looking at downtime due to failure, which can be very costly for your whole organization. Further, there can be significant costs associated with being less secure, including ransomware. Widespread attacks like ransomware can essentially halt all operations and, in some cases, necessitate a complete network rebuild. Even in smaller attacks, however, there are costs associated with hiring Incident Response teams – and you still have the cost of updating the equipment, which you were trying to avoid or postpone in the beginning. Assuming you are able to avoid a significant cyber incident, though, you will still need additional training for end-users, which could have been accomplished in less expensive ways if done proactively (e.g. self-training videos with minimal assistance). End-users who are under the gun often need hands-on training asap, which is less expensive than downtime, but more expensive than proactive management practices.

What are some shortcuts to help save time?

I don't know that I would say there are many shortcuts. Still, I will say that spending a little bit of time listing out all of your hardware by age and warranty status (inventory), and a bit of know-how surrounding the typical lifespan of the devices, will help you prioritize an effective lifecycle management plan. Typically, I find that most clients, when subscribed to an LCM plan, replace hardware quarterly and revise the plan as needed. This is the most time and cost effective methodology.

If you are using outsourced IT, who should own asset management?

Your outsourced IT group can do a significant amount of the work, but it's a partnership. The client needs to be committed to following the plan once it's created, work with the IT teams for purchasing needs, and help make the necessary time for installation windows for the new equipment.

At TRUE, we're always willing to sit down with our clients and review their needs and develop an LCM plan. It definitely helps our partnerships when things are planned out in advance, and we avoid the unexpected issues and stresses of emergencies. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to us and Request a Consultation.

Ask A Question