IT resolutions for the New Year

The New Year will hopefully bring new business, challenges and successes. Is your IT department ready? In this blog, we suggest some ideal resolutions for the New Year.

Your systems roll over very well defined rails: Your personnel, processes, hardware and software that support them are all key pieces that allow your company to roar ahead and successfully traverse the roads of the New Year. If any of these key pieces are misaligned, they can derail your your business plans.

If you want a stable IT platform that can support your business, this is a good time to evaluate the current state of those key elements and take action to ensure they work at their peak.

1. Review your hardware

Do you have an adequate hardware platform for your needs? Review your business systems' technical requirements (download here Dynamics GP system requirements) specifically for your scenarios and determine if your hardware matches the recommendations. If your hardware is not up to par, then don't fool yourself and take action now. Don't forget to review your available storage both for data and online backups. Also, check out OneDrive or DropBox as inexpensive offline backup options.

Remember: Update your server based on your terms; don't leave it to chance. Sooner or later, hardware fails. Even with all of their human and technical resources, NASA has suffered Space Shuttle catastrophic failures—not once, but twice. Your company is no NASA so it probably doesn't have nearly as good IT resources, so what are your betting on?

2. Update your software

Do you have an adequate software platform for your needs? In search of ever improving their functionality, most infrastructure systems such as Windows or SQL have a 3 to 5 year lifecycle, and ERP software such as Dynamics GP release up to two versions per year. This support lifecycle implies that previous version support has a definite end that you want to avoid reaching for obvious reasons. For example, October 2015 marked the end of the development support cycle for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010.

ICON promotes a consistent, planned updates policy. Also, we promote standardizing on the latest proven business technology such as Office 365, Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server all of which have had important updates in recent years. Generally speaking, our customers appreciate our planned upgrades proposals; planning ahead yields smoother upgrades with practically zero down time.

Here is a list of products and versions that you should be on for 2016:

  • Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 R2
  • ICON tax compliance (for Dominican Republic) iNCF 3.8
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012
  • Microsoft Management Reporter
  • SQL Reporting Services

As far as backups is concerned, we recommend to act on the following points:

  • Do you have a proper backup maintenance plan?
  • Are your backups working correctly?
  • Are your backups being taken off site in case of catastrophic events on site or even robbery?
  • Does your server have enough storage to handle data and online backups for the next year?

With relation to antivirus and antispyware:
  • Do you have enterprise-level antivirus software?
  • Is your antivirus license up-to-date? An outdated license or virus definition file is useless.

The key point we want to make here is that none of this is impromptu. You don't have a gun to your head to execute any of these upgrades. You have enough time (and have had time) to plan them out, so please don't let them become emergencies.

3. Improve your personnel

Is your IT people up to date? When was the last time your personnel trained on the technologies your company relies on?

This is a much underestimated point. Systems change and new versions of products such as SQL Server and Dynamics GP bring hundreds of new features with each upgrade which can yield competitive advantages for your business—but only if you can take advantage of them. Offer training to your personnel in those solutions that are critical to your business. You can include such training with planned product upgrades.

In addition to the benefits that growth opportunities can have on your people, there may be significant process improvement if your personnel learns to take advantage of the latest features of the tools at their disposal.

4. Review your processes

And speaking about improvements, when was the last time you reviewed tedious or redundant processes in your company? Processes, like people, change over time to adjust to market and business rules; it is important to review them every now and then. A properly though-out upgrade process should plan on reviewing key processes in light of the new features included with new hardware and software.