With the ever-changing digital landscape, IT maintenance is a major challenge for many businesses. The most common issues that can affect the performance of your business IT operations include hardware, software, and data issues. These problems can have a significant negative impact on your business if they are not handled promptly. What are the Top 5 IT maintenance problems facing businesses today? In this article, we’ll look at what they are and what you can do about them.
1). Forced Obsolescence & Unnecessary Upgrades: The Problem of Why.
OEMs are in the business of selling new hardware. When they EOL/EOS a product they try to force your hand into purchasing new hardware. There is no reason for you to take a perfectly functioning piece of hardware out of your network just because the OEM will no longer support it. We have 30+ years of failure rate data that provides insights into how long a specific piece of equipment should last. One truth is recurring, it is going to last longer than the OEM wants you to believe.
2). Increased Costs: The Problem of How Much.
According to IT analysts, 80% of total IT costs occur after the initial purchase. This is mainly due to high maintenance costs foisted on businesses by the OEMs. It is not uncommon for the OEMs to increase annual hardware maintenance costs by 15% per year for the first five years of purchase. After those 5 years the percentage can be whatever they see fit – even up to a 100% increase for products that have become end-of-life. WWS delivers 50-80% savings over OEM support, increases operational efficiencies and simplifies your maintenance program.
3). Uptime/All the Time: The Problem of Now.
Downtime from network or server issues can have huge negative impacts on a company’s bottom line and reputation. Maintaining service availability percentages with 99.99% availability can be achieved following critical steps. Purchasing equipment that is the easiest to repair and replace is a key step, coupled with load balancing, failover and redundancy. WWS has a truly global approach to Managed IT Services. Our expertise in logistics and strategic stocking depots will ensure your business maintains its operational functionality around the globe.
4). Complexity to Manage: The Problem of More.
Keeping track of multiple service contracts across a multitude of vendors is not easy. When a problem or support issue is identified, there can be extreme confusion working through multiple vendors and equipment suppliers to fix the problem. Conflicting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) slow down fixes and ultimately the end users pay the price.
5). Geographically Complexity: The Problem of Where.
Our global reach extends to 100 countries around the world. We have built a comprehensive understanding of global supply chain management to include complex logistical support, transportation visibility and disaster planning. Our agile services team has the flexibility to help you rapidly scale globally.
Everything has a lifespan. Once an item has surpassed its expected lifespan, it typically outlives it’s intended use and can cause more problems than it solves. This principle especially applies to technology. When a piece of technology becomes obsolete, it can be slow, frustrating to work with and create potential risks. But every unit of tech has a window in which it operates its absolute best. Companies can take full advantage of this period through IT lifecycle management.
While business software and hardware ages quickly — even faster as new technologies come into play — it’s essential to know when it’s time to replace your old units and computers. With proper management, you can even save money and increase your employees’ productivity. This guide will introduce you to the concept of the lifecycle of IT devices, explain how these lifecycles affect IT management and show you why third-party management services may be the best option for your company.
What Is IT Life cycle?
All technology, including hardware and software, has a period within which it operates at its best before it becomes obsolete. The period begins for each piece of equipment once a company acquires and deploys it and it enters its usable stage.
The technology lifecycle of a particular piece of equipment depends on several factors besides how long a business has had it. It can be shorter or longer based on what kind of tech it is, how the company uses it, the parameters of your business’ IT system and how often you conduct maintenance. If you know how long a piece of equipment should last, you can often increase the IT lifecycle through routine maintenance and care, system updates and physical upgrades.
Why Does the IT Lifecycle Matter?
For businesses from large to small, the technologies you implement should help make your work easier. Your equipment should allow your employees more time and resources to handle non-automatable tasks, while the tech handles computational and organizational matters. These machines can also provide valuable services and give your company a distinct advantage over your competitors. With reliable and upgraded hardware, your customers may trust you more with their sensitive data.
However, in keeping your business modernized, you could be overlooking several issues. By replacing your equipment too soon, you can lose money and miss out on the advantage of an improved return on your investment. But if you wait to replace equipment until it’s outdated, it could negatively impact your business. Old tech can result in failures, downtime, lost data and other problems that can be costly for your budget and reputation.
By paying attention to the lifecycle of your technology, you can understand when the best times to make upgrades are and keep up to date with maintenance. Sticking to scheduled maintenance and replacement dates will help your company mitigate potential risks and keep uptime levels high. The benefits of remaining attentive to your IT hardware lifecycle are varied. Every business has to replace their tech at some point, and managing each unit’s duration will ensure you do so at the optimal time.
It’s also important to understand that there isn’t one single lifecycle, either. Each piece of tech has a different lifespan. You’ll have to keep track of each unit’s deployment date and where each device is in its lifespan. Once an asset reaches the end of its useful period, it’s best to have a replacement system ready.
The Disadvantages of Aging Hardware and Software
Over time, the usefulness of individual tech units wears thin. Manufacturers’ system updates are coming at a faster rate than ever before, and it’s getting progressively more challenging to keep up with the newest releases. As older models of equipment and software get on in years, they face unique sets of problems, which transfer over to your business.
Allowing your equipment and software to age past its determined lifespan without replacements can cause several disadvantages for companies, including:
In general, old equipment can impact the overall performance of your team. Working with the same or similar hardware for years means they’re likely comfortable with using it. However, it can limit their performance, whereas companies that update more frequently can expand their capabilities and continually increase productivity.
Also, struggling with the slower speeds and clunkier operations that often come with outdated equipment can eat away at your employees’ time when they could be working on other projects, reducing productivity across the board.
One of the most significant elements of your hardware and software that manufacturers update over time is security. Every piece of equipment or software has a particular type of safeguards. However, as your tech ages, those safeguards become less effective. The longer it’s been since your last upgrade, the more likely it is that hackers have found ways past your system’s safety nets.
In addition to that, your data will become more vulnerable. You can update the software frequently, but eventually, your hardware will either no longer support further upgrades, or the manufacturers will phase them out intentionally. If you want to ensure you haven’t left a hole for attackers or threats, maintain updates and know when it’s time to get rid of old hardware.
There’s no more significant inconvenience to a business than unexpected downtime and failures. Holding on to old equipment will increase your chances of experiencing major technical issues, which can take anywhere from hours to days to fix, especially if you’re unprepared.
It may force you to replace the hardware anyway, which means you still have to pay the replacement costs, but you’re also losing far more time and decreasing productivity. Failures also reflect poorly on a company’s reputation, and customers are more likely to choose businesses that continually upgrade rather than wait for a failure.
Increased Maintenance Costs
While aging units and computers may feel more familiar to your IT team, they will increasingly require more maintenance as they get older. Keeping them running without error will cost you more attention and time, which translates to losing money and increasing the potential for mistakes and failures. The same goes for software. The older it gets, the more susceptible it becomes to things like glitches and slowing performance, meaning a need for more frequent support and higher costs.
With so many downsides, there’s almost no reason to hold on to old units. They’re more likely to cause your employees headaches and avoidable stress than to save you money, and attempting to keep them running could result in far worse circumstances and expensive fixes. However, you can make the most of your equipment and know when it’s time to trade it out with IT lifecycle management.
What Are the Stages of the IT Lifecycle?
IT lifecycle management is an excellent solution to solve your updating needs. It can be a challenging task to monitor and track the lifespan of each piece of equipment your company runs, as well as the software. While it is necessary to stay on top of it for the sake of productivity, lower costs and reputation, you don’t have to do it all alone. Third-party companies can help you stay on top of your IT lifecycles, allowing your tech team more time to solve pressing matters from day to day.
When you choose to work with an IT lifecycle management team, they’ll help you take care of the full process from procurement to disposition. In IT asset management, it’s essential to have adequate procedures planned out for each stage. Here is a breakdown of the steps within the lifecycle process and what a management company can provide:
The procurement stage is the first step in successful lifecycle planning and management. It includes planning, negotiating and acquisition:
Planning: Before moving forward with any purchases, it’s best to have a plan in place. Management teams will help you create strategies for tech goals, business objectives and potential expansion, as well as weigh your options as far as outsourcing versus in-house services. You’ll also plan for asset disposal at the end of the lifecycle.
Negotiating: Once you have an idea of how you want to progress, your team negotiates to find you the best possible fit for your company in terms of hardware and software.
Acquisition: The team helps you settle on the best option and begins executing the objectives you laid out in the initial plan. You’ll also procure new tech assets, review purchase logistics and finalize any financing options.
The second stage of lifecycle management is deployment. Once you have your new hardware and software assets, you can begin installing and integrating them into your current systems. Your team will ensure the equipment fits in with the IT environment and prepare it to run alongside your existing setup. If it all looks correct, they’ll put it into production.
After your assets are successfully deployed, they’ll still require supervision and support. Your team will track the purpose of each unit, the owner of each element and the overall performance. If any unforeseen issues arise, they’ll diagnose the problem and help you handle it to avoid downtime or data loss. In addition to monitoring the elements after deployment and providing support, they’ll also make sure you remain in compliance with security standards and any other applicable regulations.
The management phase also includes insource and outsource, help desk and remote support services and data backups. Management lasts throughout the tenure of the equipment, as it requires monitoring and tech support throughout its lifecycle.
Decommission and Disposition
The final stage of the management cycle involves the responsible removal of technological assets once your company replaces them. Your team will remove them from the physical IT environment and your system as a whole. During the process, they’ll be responsible for protecting your company’s data and any information involved with the removed elements.
Once the retired units are off the premises, they’ll dispose of them responsibly or return them to the leasing company. If you own the assets, the management team can either resell the retired units or dispose of them in a manner that complies with EPA standards. Overall, it saves your company a lot of time and energy by turning the responsibility over to your management team.
Can Lifecycle Management Maximize Your IT?
Lifecycle management services are more than a convenience for your company. They can help you maximize your IT systems and utilize them to the fullest. If you work with a certified company with professional engineers, they can assist you in optimizing your network of software and hardware.
With the guidance of a management team, you can keep your tech running at peak performance. From choosing the best models to purchase, to setting them up in your IT environment, to performing regular maintenance until it’s time for replacements, they will guide you through what makes the most sense for your business. An essential part of IT management is creating a plan before integrating new assets.
Careful planning is the key to cost-efficiency. It leads to better budgeting and maintaining profitability through significant acquisitions. Through planning and scheduling your IT management, you can maximize your return on investment (ROI). Your expenses and the amount of time your equipment lasts are both significant parts of increasing ROI. Planning your capital expenses before procurement will help ensure you don’t over-invest too early, as you also need to consider maintenance costs later down the line.
The best route is to organize a multiple-year expansion with clear objectives and timelines. If you plan out your future, it’ll benefit you more than taking on short term IT projects. Lifecycle management services can help you put together a long term plan involving the procurement and replacement of technical assets, as well as the continued support and maintenance of the new units. Having skilled and experienced personnel guide you will help increase your equipment’s ROI and keep your company’s productivity high.
The Benefits of Systems and Infrastructure Lifecycle Management
Along with maximizing your IT, lifecycle management can provide your company with many advantages. Working with a professional company means you’ll have a team of experts ensuring you upgrade at the optimal time for your business. You won’t have to delegate management objectives and steps among your tech team members, allowing them more time to handle internal affairs and provide support for your other employees.
Some of the other benefits of employing IT management services include:
Continually Updated Assets
It can be challenging to know what time is right for replacing your assets. It may seem more comfortable to hold onto older models and continue to perform maintenance. Still, there’s a point where you can begin to lose money by continually investing in outdated computers and units.
When you work with a reliable partner, you can rest assured that your assets will be updated and compatible with modern systems. You’ll know precisely when the right time is to upgrade your equipment, and your team can help you stay on track with each element necessary to your business. As your hardware and software systems age, your lifecycle management team will monitor and provide support.
Many of the most significant issues that can negatively affect productivity are related to outdated tech. Old units can hold back your employess, either by posing problems with slow processing speeds, being general headaches or occasionally having a failure resulting in downtime. Slowed productivity caused by outdated systems can affect job quality and morale for your employess and cost your company time and money. With lifecycle management, you can focus on keeping productivity high.
With newer assets, your employees will face fewer support issues caused by old or incompatible elements, meaning more time for them to work. The latest equipment will also provide them with the best tools for success, such as heightened security measures and improved computational systems.
Effective Cost Management
While many businesses think they can get the most for their money by holding on to old units as long as possible, it can end up costing you more in the long run. As equipment ages, it requires more frequent support and maintenance, using your time and money. Those resources could be better spent elsewhere, advancing your company rather than fixing issues.
With a dedicated lifecycle management team, you’ll be able to save money and make the most of your resources. From procurement to disposition, your team will help you decide how long to keep your assets based on cost and ROI, as well as whether or not they serve the same purposes they did when you first purchased them. They will also assist you in making better-informed decisions in the future when it comes to buying new equipment.
Not every company has time to monitor their hardware and software consistently. The IT team typically has multiple responsibilities to handle, as do the individuals in upper management positions. Many companies only catch attacks or failures when one of their employees reports an issue or red flag, which can be too late to prevent damages entirely. This problem can be especially challenging when there is sensitive data on the line.
In between procuring new assets and disposing of old units, lifecycle management teams will monitor your systems closely. If they catch a potential issue, they’ll provide quick support and notify you as soon as possible. Early detection is the key to preventing downtime and data loss. They’ll also keep the tech backed up, so if you do experience any downtime, you can get back up and running shortly.
Not every company wants to delegate their entire IT management to a third-party service provider, but others welcome the idea. Some would prefer to outsource parts of the lifecycle management while still retaining some responsibility. Many companies that provide technology lifecycle management services offer custom tools to suit every business’s expectations and needs. You can get the support you require while still retaining control over your processes.
Access to Skilled Professionals
When you partner with a company that provides lifecycle management services, you’ll also have the benefit of working with trained IT professionals who are knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the network lifecycle. They can provide you with expert advice and speak from experience working with other companies similar to yours.
Work With an IT Expert at Worldwide Services
When it comes time to choose a company to handle your IT lifecycle management, it’s essential to find one that’s reliable and experienced. Worldwide Services offers you comprehensive management, helping you reduce your tech expenses, increase network efficiency and receive the maximum return on your investments. We also help you reduce risks and provide your customers with faster, more streamlined services.
At Worldwide Services, we understand the value of partnership. We do our best to serve your company and meet all your needs. With over $250 million worth of equipment in stock, immediate delivery services, teams of certified engineers in-house and 24/7 remote support, we can provide you with fast, reliable assistance.
New and emerging technologies have transformed healthcare in recent years. Hospitals and physician offices large and small have implemented new technologies to respond to a changing regulatory environment and to improve the overall quality of care for patients. Today’s medical facilities are high-tech operations that put cutting-edge technologies into the hands of talented professionals. Even still, significant opportunities remain for hospitals and healthcare settings to streamline their implementation and usage of new technologies.
IT services for healthcare have never been more vital. The right IT partner can help your medical facility fully realize the extraordinary benefits of information technology in healthcare. Our IT services can help your medical facility operate with fewer errors, comply with today’s regulations, and recover quickly from unexpected disasters. Our electronic health records (EHR) systems can help your staff reliably record crucial patient health data and seamlessly share that data with other healthcare providers. Most importantly, the healthcare IT support provided here at Worldwide Services will help to improve the quality of care that patients receive from your staff.
As medical facilities across the country continue to modernize, the need for robust and responsive healthcare IT support will only increase. With Worldwide Services, your facility can find the affordable and efficient IT services you need.
The Opportunities and Challenges of Healthcare IT Standards
Today’s medical facilities are built on the individual expertise of talented physicians, nurses and staff, but patients receive the best care when all these team members work together. Through legislation like the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, Congress pushed medical facilities to modernize their IT systems, particularly regarding the use of electronic health records. These shared, detailed records allow a patient’s medical providers to act as a team and make crucial healthcare decisions based on the totality of a patient’s health record.
EHRs are now used across the medical landscape, but there are significant problems that need to be addressed for EHRs to live up to their promise. Over 85% of office-based doctors use an EHR system, but most doctors are calling for change. In a 2016 poll, 63% of doctors agree that EHRs have improved patient care, but 71% think that EHRs are a cause of physician burnout. Even worse, 69% of doctors indicated that they have less time for patients because of the time they spend writing and reading EHRs. Clearly, there’s a need for change.
The specific concerns these doctors raise highlight the value of health information technology. In the same poll, doctors called for change in the user interface of EHR systems and improved interoperability between EHR systems. A healthcare IT support partner is vital for implementing both of these changes. EHR user interfaces need to be intuitive, user-centered and easy to use, and Worldwide Services can help build such systems from the ground up. Interoperability is a larger goal that will require reliable networking and carefully constructed systems, along with cooperation of regulatory bodies and other healthcare partners. The 21st Century Cures Act, passed in 2016, charged regulatory agencies with creating standards for interoperable, usable and accessible EHRs. It won’t be enough to just have electronic records — you’ll have to be able to share and receive records from other providers, even ones outside of your system.
The new era of EHRs will bring many benefits to the medical community. For one, patients will undoubtedly benefit when they can be confident that their chosen medical providers will have immediate access to their health records, no matter where they seek treatment. However, there are many challenges that healthcare providers will face as they adjust to the new healthcare information technology standards. EHRs should be usable and available to all of a patient’s healthcare providers, and they need to be highly secure, as well. Privacy and security guidelines established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 and since refined and expanded hold healthcare providers to a high standard.
It’s crucial to have an experienced healthcare IT provider capable of implementing services that follow the required standards. You need a professional partner that can help ensure that your EHRs are easy to record, access and share, while also private and secure.
The Role of Healthcare IT Support
At its core, healthcare information technology is all about communication — communication between devices, between team members, between patients and their medical providers, between separate medical facilities. These communication channels are enabled by carefully-selected and installed hardware solutions, and maintained with prompt and effective repair services. These components should be scalable and flexible so that your network can grow along with your facility.
Information technology’s role in communications also puts it on the frontlines of your facility’s security team. Healthcare IT standards, patient privacy rights and patient well-being all require a trustworthy, secure network that is transparent and easy for your staff to use but opaque and secure against unauthorized users. A healthcare IT services provider can help your facility initiate best practices for network security. Today’s patients expect their data to be secure, and we can help establish your reputation as a trustworthy steward of patient data.
Information technology also plays a crucial role in ensuring the efficient operation of your facility. Research indicates that new healthcare technologies are only effective when they are designed with ergonomics and human factors in mind, when they have a robust interface with the patient and the environment and when appropriate implementation and maintenance plans are established from the beginning. IT services contribute fundamentally to the role of technology in the healthcare industry. When health information technology is properly integrated into a facility, users aren’t slowed down by awkward interfaces or unnecessary roadblocks. The systems just work.
The Benefits of a Healthcare IT Provider
EHRs are central to today’s discussions about the integration of health information technology into healthcare because IT services connect and support almost every function of a medical facility. Worldwide Services helps healthcare providers with staff management, ensuring that they are always staffing their facilities with people trained with the necessary skills and competencies. We help providers implement cutting-edge technologies like hybrid operating rooms, which use the latest assistive technologies to empower the next generation of surgery. We help facilities integrate recorded video into EHRs, patient visits and operations.
There are many exciting healthcare technologies on the horizon, and we’re always looking for opportunities to help facilities make these technologies a valued part of their practice.
The installation of new technologies is just one reason why medical facilities value our services. What are the other benefits of working with a healthcare IT provider?
Quality of care: Technology plays a vital role in today’s medical facility, but your staff needs to focus on patients. Well-designed and reliable technology frees up the time and attention of your staff, enabling them to focus on patient care. Furthermore, a robust network allows your facility to implement powerful new tech, like the latest monitoring devices.
Accuracy: Errors are inevitable when hardware and software aren’t designed with the needs of end users in mind. Our technology can help ensure that your team members are more successful as they input and verify codes, leading to fewer medical errors. Reduced errors means reduced costs — and better patient outcomes.
Security and privacy: Network security is crucial for any healthcare provider. It’s not merely a matter of meeting regulatory requirements, but of protecting your investments into equipment and ensuring the privacy of patient health care records. Data security is a vital component of your credibility and reputation.
Reduced costs: The right healthcare IT provider can save you money on the purchase of telecom and wireless networking products, give you a competitive advantage in your marketplace and save you money as you implement new technologies. Information technology can help your facility operate more efficiently in many ways, from automating repetitive tasks and managing a large staff to quickly putting the right information in front of the people who need it.
Seamless collaboration: When your network is working as it should, your staff always have access to the information they need to provide the best possible care for patients. Teams can only operate as teams when they can effectively communicate, and information technology makes that possible.
Disaster recovery: Your patient’s medical records and billing information is too important to be lost due to a power outage or a failing hard drive. Worldwide Services can implement technologies that will ensure speedy recovery of your systems and your data in the event of a disaster or emergency.
One of the most important benefits of partnering with a managed IT services provider is flexibility for the future. Years ago, few could have predicted the ways that modern technology would transform the healthcare community, and few can predict right now how future technologies will continue to disrupt and revolutionize the field. Healthcare IT support can address your needs today and help you develop future competitive advantages with carefully-selected hardware and forward-thinking strategic planning.
Put It All Together With Managed Network Services
The foundation of IT services for healthcare is a robust and flexible healthcare network solution. Our managed IT services will allow your facility to meet today’s requirements while preparing for tomorrow’s opportunities — and save money along the way.
Scalable network solutions have helped healthcare providers of all sizes implement new technologies into their facilities. Network infrastructure provides the channels through which end users and devices communicate and coordinate. Electronic health records, electronic billing, and comprehensive staff management systems don’t function without a reliable network. Slow or unreliable networks cause delays, miscommunication and errors, all problems that are unacceptable in the healthcare environment.
Our healthcare IT support services provide the initial setup of vital networking equipment, plus responsive and effective service for incidental hardware repairs. Our HIPAA-certified security professionals and repair experts quickly resolve repair issues and bring your systems back to full operation. Even further, we’re well-positioned to help with disaster recovery and loss prevention. The effective operation of your facility depends on your network. Our solutions will keep your data backed-up, private, and secure, even when the unexpected happens.
Partner With Worldwide Services
Between new regulations, changing patient expectations and transformative new technologies, healthcare — and the role of information technology in healthcare — is rapidly evolving. As medical providers implement technologies to respond to new regulations and standards, they are finding that an efficient and secure IT services are crucial for their success.
Integrating health information technology isn’t just a means of meeting new legal requirements, though. Facilities that embrace information technology services are finding that they are more competitive in their markets. They’re operating on leaner budgets, doing more with less. They’re using the time of their staff more efficiently, leading to more positive patient outcomes and fewer errors. They’re uncovering opportunities for data-driven, collaborative processes.
The future is always uncertain, but a partnership with healthcare IT services will help you meet today’s needs while establishing a framework for the ever-changing role of technology in the healthcare industry.