In the world of high tech, there is a constant flow of newer, better, faster and sexier products. Software or hardware, change is the only constant. In order to ensure a good return on investment (ROI), CIOs and service desk staff must evaluate the impact of any new technology investment based on a number of categories. The bottom line is what impact will this new technology have on their existing business?
How does the new tech fit into or integrate with the existing infrastructure? Costs required to bolt on a new technology need to be considered, in addition to the new investment itself. In comparing options, a product that is higher priced but plays well in your sandbox may be a better choice than a less expensive product that has higher deployment costs.
Security must be considered as a top priority in all tech decisions these days. With cyber crime at an all-time high and continuing to rise, and with every market segment and size of business being targeted by cyber criminals, no business is immune from this consideration.
Data retention requirements have changed over the years. While it is important to retain the appropriate data for the appropriate amount of time in the appropriate encrypted state, it is also important to destroy data according to a plan. Keeping a customer’s Personally Identifiable Information longer than necessary represents greater risk, but not keeping it long enough to meet legal requirements is another set of problems. New technology purchases need to consider the cost of data retention and data destruction since both are required.
All technology investments require support. Hardware requires maintenance, software requires updates. Looking at the initial purchase cost without considering the ongoing support costs for a technology investment it is shortsighted at best, and could be a critical failure. Future costs must be considered for the life of the technology.
Particularly important for new software Investments, how well does this integrate with your existing stable of applications, and specifically does it add new functionality without duplicating? You already have an established set of applications and interfaces both internal and external. Your new tech needs to fit into that environment and enhance it, not create hindrances to getting work done.
The amount of up front training and retooling your staff will require in order to be proficient and productive with the new technology can have a significant negative impact on ROI. One example is the hesitation many businesses experience converting to Linux based operating systems, as contrasted with the licensing costs associated with Windows. While Linux is definitely less expensive on a per desktop license basis, the learning curve for the new operating system itself, and different applications that run on that platform, are seen as major usability concerns. Linux therefore is often restricted to the more technical staff members while general office support work continues to be performed on Windows-based systems.
The net of this is that the CIO and service desk team have much more to consider well beyond the basic purchase price of new technology components. After evaluating both the initial and future costs, balanced against the projected gains from deploying the new product, it’s critical to make certain that the new technology investment will have a net positive impact on your business.
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