It’s hard to believe we are facing the end of 2016. As typical at this time of year, most are diligently working through the needs and priorities for the year ahead and determining the best IT strategy to support the business needs.
Early planning, when done correctly, will save you time and help align your agenda to the overall function of the company so that minimal impact occurs during maintenance, upgrades, and routine testing. Done poorly, time and resources can be misallocated, resulting in lost productivity and possibly increased downtime.
Before you begin your planning, one thing you will want to do is to obtain a list of dates when major milestones are expected to occur inside your company. If your co-workers are planning a major software release in July, then you want to avoid any potential hardware changes or downtime during that hectic period. The inverse is true as well; if there are going to be large gaps between product releases or expected heavy traffic, those periods are ideal for infrastructure maintenance.
The two biggest items that are part of planning are budget and deadlines. It’s important to determine where and how you plan to invest in either expanding capabilities or shoring up older hardware to prevent outages. Often, it is possible to do both in larger organizations, but in smaller companies, this can be an ‘or’ situation where you have limited funds for investment.
As you can see in the chart below, Veeam polled IT pros from around the world and found the top five priorities for the year ahead. To little surprise, cybersecurity is high on the list, as attacks are becoming increasingly complex, and with ransomware, significantly more expensive, too.
The other items on the list include business intelligence, managing data growth, data integration, and backup and recovery. If you are starting the planning process from scratch, you can use these items to help you get started with the process.
Proper planning is critical to the long-term stability of your operation. By having a mapped-out plan of attack for expansion, testing, backup, disaster recovery drills, and everything else, it helps your employees know when to plan for such events.
A simple calendar outlining these dates is an effective tool to make sure that the less-glamorous parts of being an IT pro are not overlooked; if you are looking for samples or documentation to help you get started, Gartner has excellent documentation available. If you have any other tips that are you would like to share with other professionals, make sure to let us know in the comments below.