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As you’ll know if you follow our blog or receive our email newsletters, you’ll have noticed that we’ve talked a lot recently about why it’s important to update your IT infrastructure in certain circumstances. These include factors like software or hardware reaching ‘end of life’, coming out of warranty or experiencing technical failures.

However, whilst it’s all well and good to review and upgrade / replace when certain triggers come into play, it’s far more beneficial to have a longer-term IT investment strategy in place. These days, most businesses rely heavily on technology to operate and promote themselves. This is something that’s only likely to increase in the future, so it makes sense to plan your IT investments ahead. That way, you can make sure your infrastructure remains fit for purpose as your business expands and develops in the coming years.

What is an IT investment strategy?

Your IT investment strategy is a document that forms part of your overall business plan. It sets out a timeline and budget for upgrading and replacing the various elements of your IT infrastructure, so it can keep supporting your business effectively and enable you to achieve the goals set out in your wider business plan.

Why is it so important?

Without a defined strategy in place, there’s a danger that your IT investments will be ad hoc, with systems and software only replaced when absolutely necessary. This approach could incur unplanned and potentially significant costs.

Worse still, you could end up with a cobbled-together IT infrastructure running different versions of operating systems and applications that just don’t gel – hampering efficiency and hurting your bottom line.

By investing in your IT infrastructure proactively rather than reactively, you can avoid unnecessary spend on repairs and replacements as well as the costs associated with productivity loss due to unexpected downtime.

How else can planning ahead reduce my costs?

Your main cost saving is likely to be on maintenance and repairs, as an effective IT strategy means your systems will be kept up to date, so they’ll be less likely to develop problems. New equipment will be covered by manufacturers’ warranties or guarantees, too, so many common issues won’t cost you anything to resolve.

It’s also a fact that technology costs in general are coming down. For example, if you lease a copier/printer, you might find that you’re offered a cheaper contract for a better machine when the agreement comes up for renewal. On the other hand, if you own an older device outright, you’ll be saddled with a large bill for repairing it if it breaks down – and spare parts may no longer be available in any case.

For this reason, identifying where equipment could be leased instead of purchased should form a key part of developing your IT investment strategy. Yes, you’ll have to pay monthly rental and usage costs, but these are predictable and can easily be factored into your budget. Not something that can be said for having to buy a new machine when you least expect it!

Will an investment strategy give me a competitive edge?

Yes, of course. Planning your IT investments in advance means you can keep pace with the ever-increasing speed of technological change. If you know a new product or service that will benefit your business is set to come on the market in, say, 12 months’ time, you can budget for purchasing and installing it when the time comes.

Being an early adopter of new technologies could give you a big advantage over your competitors. It’s something to talk about with your customers and prospects too, raising your profile and boosting your reputation within your industry sector.

Are there any other benefits?

Another great reason to implement an IT investment plan is that it gives you the chance to review your current set-up and identify areas that need attention straightaway. For example, you might find you’re paying for equipment or software licences that aren’t needed or are no longer used. Or that you’re using multiple applications to carry out the same task. Even if these are free, it’s still an inefficiency that can easily be ironed out.

You’ll also be able to spot any danger signs that your current infrastructure is struggling to cope with your business demands. Typical problems might include low server storage space, slow-running applications and the availability of devices such as printers and copiers. By identifying and prioritising issues like these, you can factor immediate actions and investments into your new IT strategy – getting you off to a flying start!

Jalapeno can help with your IT investment strategy

It can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you have a complex infrastructure. Jalapeno can help. Our experienced engineers can carry out a FREE audit of your current systems to identify any pressing issues and ascertain whether your set-up is adequate for your current and future needs.

We’ll then put a plan together setting short, medium and long-term priorities for upgrading and replacing your hardware and software, complete with costs. This can then be slotted into your business plan and used as a working document to control your IT investments going forward.

Contact us today and let’s get started.