Many Northern Ireland businesses face a daily challenge of remaining competitive in tough, crowded and evolving market places. IT continues to be one of the main outlets to which businesses look to streamline workloads and draw efficiency savings from. However as IT evolves and software begins to feel the strain of the increasingly digital world of work, it is crucial that Northern Ireland businesses realise the importance of maintaining a healthy IT system through utilising software upgrades on systems which have become so crucial to success.

Recent media stories have highlighted the negative impact IT failure can have and business should mitigate against any form of IT failure within its corporate planning. It’s key that IT teams plan both the upgrade and the education of users in all the new aspects of products.

Recent statistics suggest that businesses are ignoring the need to maintain and improve systems with a survey showing that 58% of UK businesses are running a 2003 or below version of Microsoft Exchange server.

Each product that Microsoft releases has a lifecycle that determines how long it will maintain and support the product. Microsoft will end support for its most common email server, Exchange 2003, in less than 2 years meaning that businesses experiencing problems will be left in a situation where it may be difficult to resolve issues causing disruption to systems.

For businesses that encounter these kinds of issues, upgrading to the latest version of software is not to be seen as a 5 minute job. The best implementations are those that management give adequate time and resources to. From planning to implementation stage to testing and sign off, businesses need to plan ahead and be patient.

Of course some businesses will continue to run with the systems that they know and trust but it is worth considering that if a systems review is ignored, the eventual disruption and overall cost to business will be substantial and never welcome. Not only will it have a negative effect upon staff productivity and moral but with so much choice available to customers across all sectors, competitors may reap the rewards of a company’s ill thought out IT maintenance plan.

(As featured in Business First – Volume 8, Issue 4, September 2012)

Posted by: