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5 Steps for Strategic Business Upgrade Planning

upgrade, system, planning, business planning, business upgrades, company, work, upgrade system,

A very exciting time in your company might be when you realize that you have to upgrade your systems to keep with the times. It can be very frustrating and can take some time too depending on what needs to be updated. There’s a lot that has to go into the thought process before starting…

Two Approaches

  • The company in question always has to have the latest and greatest, who change their systems as soon as upgrades become available.
  • The company in question goes through more traditional means. Why change what they have when it’s working perfectly fine? These companies upgrade only when forced to do so.

The upgrade plan has to focus on future growth and changes forecasted by the company. The question that needs to be asked when looking ahead is, how will the changes affect upgrade needs in the future?

Five Steps to Planning Upgrades

1. Categorize and Prioritize: Categories include

i. Client Computer Systems
ii. Peripherals
iii. Client Software
iv. Server hardware and software
v. Security
vi. Network devices
vii. Network Infrastructure

Here items can be picked and chosen as to what the organization decides to upgrade. In this if needed subcategories can be created in order to create a more organized plan.

2. Set Priorities: Prioritize based on the costs and benefits ratio. What items need to be upgraded first? Is it an urgent need or a want? Make sure to not upgrade needlessly, make sure that it’s really needed.

3. Consider Dependencies: When the company is upgrading their systems they need to take into consideration what might be dependent on others. This might create more upgrades in order for the system to work with the new equipment. Or if applications are being upgraded, the system might need to be upgraded in order to work with them.

4. Phased Rollout: Don’t rush it. Testing and discovering of bugs need to be worked out before starting to use the new system. After the tests are completed use small groups of employees to test the upgrades in the production environment. If there’s a learning curve use the fast learners first as they can then learn the new system and assist/teach the others when it rolls out.

5. Keep it Scalable: Write out the plan. Get input from other departments and different levels to help create the plan. Plans for expansion of the company and any restructuring needs to be taken into account here too.

Proper Planning

If the organization follows proper planning with scalability included in the process, it can create a very smooth upgrade environment for the company. It would help immensely as upgrading systems can be very costly and stressful if not done correctly. Never rush the process and take time to consider all options before jumping in.

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What is the Role of Information Systems in the 21st Century?

information systems, business, IS, business information systems

Whether or not a company wants to believe it, information systems (IS) are a very important part of how the business runs now.  This includes how data is stored, transferred and understood by all the different departments in the agency.  The problem is, it seems that business owners are not really aware of how important IS to their companies in being able to be managed in designated systems.

10 Reasons to Have New Information Systems

10 reasons that it is so important for companies are:

  1. Control Creation and Growth of Records – Less paper wasted as everything becomes computerized
  2. Reduces Operating Costs – Storing inactive records in IS costs less per linear foot for the company
  3. 3. It Improves Both Efficiency and Productivity – Helps to upgrade record keeping so retrieval of information needed is vastly improved
  4. Assimilate New Records Management Technologies – Can be used in any area of the company, helps analyze manual recordkeeping and applied automation
  5. Ensures Regulatory Compliance – Companies have to be able to make sure that they are in regulations by having a good IS that is responsible for regulatory compliances
  6. Minimize Litigation Risk – The main reason IS is used is to reduce the risk of litigation and penalties. A newer system put in place will help to ensure this happens.
  7. Safeguard Vital Information – This is necessary in order to protect records and information as all agencies are susceptible to attack or natural disasters. This will provide backups and save the information in a safe place of the company’s choosing, for retrieval later.
  8. It Helps to Support Better Management Decision Making Capabilities – A newer system put into place will help managers and executives to better find information that they need when they need it to make critical business decisions. ERP systems would be perfect here instead of doing everything manually.
  9. It Helps to Preserve Corporate Memory – This is done through everyday activities and record keeping.
  10. Foster Professionalism in Running the Company – Neatness and cleanliness are key in running a smooth organization

Why Update at All?

Good, solidly built IS  means that companies that use it will be able to align their strategies together into a clear point of view as to where they want to go.  It also helps to find relationships that would be considered critical and gaps in their company culture and infrastructure.  Good information systems  find answers on how to gain competitive advantage against their competition by improving alignment to strategic decision making.

 

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Key Methods of SISP

strategic plan, IT, IS, SISP, strategic information systems plan, information systems, information technology, alignment

SISP can be defined as the process to determine the computer applications that help achieve business objectives. SISP can be considered a critical management tool as it focuses on strategic goals of organizations. It’s needed in order to move strategic directions of organizations.  Otherwise things could get sloppy really fast. SISP keeps things organized when change is being implemented in agencies, especially with information technology (IT).

Why Use Any Methodology of SISP

Different methodologies that SISP uses is:

1. Business System Planning
2. Strategic Systems Planning
3. Information Engineering
4. Information Quality Analysis
5. Business Information Analysis

Whichever changes are chosen by the agency will influence methodology of implementation. It may also be more prudent to choose a bunch of different ways to complete it. This will help to keep a balancing act together when planning for the future.

Why Use SISP At All?

It seems that top management still doesn’t fully support using SISP methods in order to better compile and implement new changes. Research suggests agencies cannot reach success if there isn’t proper alignment of business and information systems strategies. There has to be a good mesh in order for the changes to be fully implemented with no problems. If there is no fit, it’s unlikely that there will be a proper alignment between information technology (IT) and the agency in question.

The Different Methodologies

The different methodologies are:

1. Business planning
2. Competitive impact
3. Computer-based applications
4. Conceptual analysis
5. Information systems planning
6. Information technology resource planning
7. Methodology
8. Strategic alignment
9. Strategic information systems planning (SISP)
10. Strategic management
11. SISP approach
12. SISP methodology
13. Strategic management planning
14. Strategic planning

The Why of All This

These methods can all be switched around and used in different ways in order to better find solutions. It has to be done correctly or a large amount of money will be invested with no results. Benefits from investing in IT can only be seen when there is a strategic alignment between IT and strategic business strategies. IT resources have to be able to target areas in the agency that are considered the most critical to their success. This has to be done with upper management, to include CEOs, CIOs and managers. This is why I have suggested in past posts that upper management is critical in SISP. If they are not willing to change initiatives and programs, there will be no change in the agency.