by Jennifer Benator
What is a product life cycle?
Everything has a usable lifespan, including and especially IT technology. Knowing when a product no longer can serve its intended purpose is extremely valuable for any business. Hardware and software are similar to cars – their value depreciates immediately after driving them off the lot (or, deploying them). Just like with cars, a product’s life cycle can be extended through ongoing maintenance and upgrades, but this requires a dedicated employee responsible for its management.
What is lifecycle management?
Technology is a tool meant to provide your business with a competitive advantage. When software or hardware assets reach the end of their lifecycle, they stop supporting an organization and begin to hinder it. Lifecycle management is more than just product refreshes. It’s about getting ahead of the end of a product’s usefulness.
This can involve a multitude of functions depending on a business’s current technology and future goals. Much of lifecycle management is regular monitoring to stay on top of assets. It’s important to keep tabs on all IT assets to reduce the chance of taking on unplanned costs or risks, and to make sure that your IT is strategically aligned with the business.
Why does lifecycle management matter?
Paying attention to IT assets is important for remaining secure and productive as a company. For example, one subset of lifecycle management is maintenance renewals. Renewals are critical to ensuring that an organization is not at risk of systems downtime or a security threat because their IT is too old. If you have an asset past the last date of support, nobody at the manufacturer will be able to provide assistance. This could mean that an IT asset vital to your company’s day-to-day operations could go down and because it is old and unsupported, you will not be able to repair it.
If you have an asset that can’t be repaired, you will have to replace it with something new – and there’s a chance that the new asset won’t integrate with the remaining older parts of your system. This is why manufacturers roll out end-of-life dates years in advance for each asset, allowing time for a company to prepare both their infrastructure and their finances. Completing a product refresh or upgrade requires careful budgeting and years of planning, especially for organizations with many employees or complex infrastructure.
Is a managed services provider the right option for me?
Keeping track of IT assets is important work because you reduce the chance of taking on unplanned costs and risk. However, it’s a cumbersome task and it’s not strategic. Outsourcing your lifecycle management to a managed services provider can allow your internal IT staff to focus on initiatives that drive the business. An MSP can track hardware, software and associated components, and stay on top of manufacturer contracts. Even if an asset hasn’t reached its last date of support, an MSP knows the latest technology coming to market and will be aware of new and better fits for a client. A respected provider knows what works – and what doesn’t – when navigating technology changes.
Another benefit is that reputable MSPs have great relationships with manufacturers. This is critical because a manufacturer’s obligation is to send notification of the last date of support. If an organization has turnover in their IT department or multiple people handling contract data, these important notifications can get lost in an email shuffle. An MSP will have someone in-house to manage those support contracts and maintain relationships with manufacturers so that there is never an issue with miscommunication.
Partner with a top Managed Services Provider
At iVision, a global top managed services provider, we have a dedicated team to account for everything throughout the entire product life cycle. We ensure that your company is aware not only of end-of-life dates, but also that you are compliant with the product licensing agreements. Our clients also benefit from iTrax, which is a free tool that offers a single portal with access to a comprehensive, searchable maintenance and renewal catalog. iTrax helps our clients take control of their IT environment because it combines data from different sources (i.e. reseller and distributor data, vendor registrations, purchase orders, SKUs and more) all in one place.
Our engineers have a deep knowledge of current and future technology offerings on the marketplace, as well as IT contract cycles and requirements. We align strategies with our clients’ business needs to ensure a maximum return on investment. A surprise last-minute product refresh or renewal is costly, both in terms of money and systems downtime. Our clients can trust that we are on top of their assets – so they never need to worry about losing revenue or employee productivity.