25 Things IT Pros Should Consider at Year-End

 

As the end of the year approaches, the IT professional has a lot to consider. There are lots of tasks and jobs to accomplish by year-end and even more to consider in the coming year. Then again, that’s why IT pros are the unsung heroes in many organizations. 
 
Let’s face it, this time of year most are thinking about vacation time, family feasts, holiday cheer, sugar plums, gifts, and big guys sliding down chimneys. Compared to the average office worker at the end of the year, the IT professional tends to have a full plate (and we’re not talking holiday turkey and stuffing).   
 
It can be overwhelming to have so much to think about. Take a load off and let us do the heavy lifting for a little while. With the year-end right around the corner, here is a list all IT pros should check twice.
 

25 year-end considerations for IT professionals

 

1. Use-It-or-Lose-IT Budgets

The year is almost over and your IT team still has some budget money unspent. While your concern for managing costs is appreciated, there’s one problem. Your IT team also has a budget with a use-it-or-lose-it policy, and the clock is ticking. Don’t lose those funds! What are some good ways to use the budget money left over? Here’s a few ideas you might find handy.
 

 

2. Getting Value from Existing / Older Assets

Year-end is a good time for getting things in order and preparing for new projects and changes in the new year. Take an inventory of your hardware and clear out that equipment that you don’t have use for or are just collecting dust (and get money for it).

 

3. Upcoming Network Hardware Maintenance Contracts

Many people have all kinds of maintenance contracts for their hardware. Some of it is newer and some is quite old. You might want to consider looking at (or having experts look at) your maintenance and come up with a plan to maximize your maintenance coverage while reducing unnecessary costs.

 

4. Time to Think about Cable Clean Up 

Over time cables can get away from people and become a little messy and unruly. Consider a plan to get those cables neat, tidy, and well organized for efficiency and performance. Or the end of year might be a good time to grab some extra cables you know you’ll be needing.
 

 

5. End-of-Year IT Projects

This is pretty obvious. There are big and small projects going on all the time, and they always require resources. Those resources might be services, hardware, and various parts and pieces. What are you going to need to get the year-end projects done and done well?

 

6. Huge Year-End Deals on IT Equipment

When it comes to your year-end needs, it always helps to get the items you need at low prices. If you look around, you can find some good companies offering amazing deals at the end of the year.

 

7. Next Year’s Big Projects

Poor planning can lead to poor performance. Since time seems to fly, it’s a good time to start thinking about your larger projects and initiatives for the coming year. It’s always better to brainstorm projects ahead of time when you have a clear head and plenty of time.
 
It’s likely there are details you can’t plan for at this time, but getting a handle of your work ahead of time can make your life easier and improve your work.

 

8. 2018 Training and Career Growth 

As time goes by, businesses rely on IT to expand their role and influence the business more and more. This requires continual training and learning. Start making a list of learning, knowledge, skills, and capabilities needed to improve and grow.
 
This may not just be the traditional IT skill set. This might be learning a new business skill, improving communications, increasing emotional IQ, or some other “soft” skill. What tech conferences can help you learn, network with peers, talk with tech companies, and see new technology?

 

9. Data Security

This is on the list simply because you always need to be thinking about keeping your information secure. You need to be diligent whether you are trying to secure processes, mitigate risk of human errors, or are concerned about secure data wiping and data sanitization with your network hardware.

 

10. Your Hardware’s Life Cycle Management 

Managing your organization’s hardware life cycle is important. Ask yourself, are you maximizing value, reducing costs, achieving ROI, improving performance, minimizing downtime, and proactively managing risks from the time you buy new hardware to the time to retire those assets? It can be a tough challenge and a huge opportunity for improvement.

 

11. Simplifying Your IT Life

Each year we all get a fresh opportunity to do things better. How can you streamline and simplify your organization’s work flow, processes, or customer experience?

 

12. Low-Cost Alternatives to Higher-Priced Items 

Look at your network. Are there any opportunities to implement lower-cost alternatives without sacrificing quality or performance? With the extra money saved, you can do more with higher-priority initiatives. One example could be third-party maintenance. Here’s what Gartner said about third party maintenance as a viable solution. See what Gartner says about lower-cost secondary market options in this article.

 

13. Improving Your Company Communications

This is an ongoing challenge of IT teams of all shapes and sizes. Are you able to communicate with other departments quickly and effectively? Are you stuck in a silo? What can you be doing better? Maybe you can learn from others who have succeeded in this area?
 

14. Aligning Business Units in Your Organization

A common frustration among IT departments has resulted in common goal. How can IT teams achieve better alignment of business units across their organization?

 

15. Improving Visibility and Leadership in IT

Along with improving IT’s communications, it’s good to increase your visibility in your organization. It helps instill confidence in you and your team. Plus, it eases the working relationships in your company. It also helps to be seen as proactive and taking a lead on solving challenges.

 

16. Illustrating Your IT Team’s Value 

This is important especially if you are in an IT leadership role or frequently work hands-on with people from other departments. Again, communicating the value you provide opens many doors and provides new opportunities.

 

17. How Will You Positively Impact Business in 2018?

This is critical. IT has gone beyond implementation into a role of optimization. Be thinking of how you will use technology to optimize business and affect the bottom line.
 

 

18. Respecting Layer One to Optimize Performance and Cover Your Backside 

Unfortunately, this is an area some people have had to learn the hard way. This mistake is costly in terms of time, labor and money. Sure, cabling infrastructure is layer one of the OSI model, but a top-quality, high-performance, intelligently designed cabling solution makes for a foundation.
 
Build your house on a solid foundation. Don’t limit your network or leave yourself open to needless risks leading to downtime or poor performance. This is an area where it’s tempting to be penny wise and pound foolish. Learn more about how respecting layer one leads to all kinds of benefits.

 

19. Replenishing Hot Swappable Spares for Those “Just in Case” Moments 

As the year comes to a close it’s a good idea to take a look over your network and see where it might be wise to have some spares. It’s good to be prepared for those “Oh no!” moments.

 

20. ITAD Solutions and Hardware Refresh Cycles

If year-end or the new year will see you making a technology refresh, keep in mind that you'll have unneeded equipment piling up after your upgrade. Be sure to do your due diligence on a good IT asset disposition (ITAD) partner to ensure you get someone who will take care of all the logistics and maximize your return on investment.

 

21. Staffing Up to Meet Rising Expectations

A new year presents new challenges and opportunities. IT teams have some hefty goals. Will you need a few good IT pros to accomplish your mission? Here’s a link to a resource where other IT pros address this issue.

 

22. Shoring Up Your Hardware/Infrastructure

A report from Spiceworks using a survey of IT professionals has shown that hardware needs are increasing in 2018. If you are looking to shore up your hardware and network infrastructure you aren’t alone. Check out this report. It looks at trends, budgets, projected spending, and what is driving decisions. There are some great insights.

 

23. The Coming of AI and Intelligent Apps

According to Forbes, Gartner and other industry articles, artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent apps are going to begin playing a bigger role. Like anything new, some companies and organizations don’t require being an early adopter. However, it’s good to be aware of trends.
 

24. Evolving Server Needs

Since AI, augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving so many organizations to modify their technology strategies, the trend is moving away from legacy Unix platforms and toward emerging systems, such as hyperonvergence.
 
It's imperative to use business requirements to define your upcoming server needs. This will allow you to best decide what your deployment choices will be, and make smart server investments that will support your needs for the long haul.

 

25. End-of-Life Hardware

The end of the year is a good time to assess what hardware you have in your network that is approaching end-of-life (EOL). Manufacturers regularly post EOL announcements. Remember that EOL doesn’t mean you are forced to spend dollars needlessly on new hardware. You have options. To learn more check out this, this, and this

 

There you have it. A list of 25 things for IT professionals to consider as the year comes to a close.  Hopefully, this list gave you a few ideas or reminded you of some things to do. 

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