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The times, they're always changing

By Patrick Schmidt 

The date was March 11, 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev was elected as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. His unanimous election by party leaders was a bit of a surprise to many and they had little to no idea of things to come.

Gorbachev’s policies of glasnost ("openness") and perestroika ("restructuring") accelerated reform so quickly that in 1987 Bob Dylan’s famous song, The Times They Are A-Changin', was performed live by Billy Joel in Leningrad.

What does this brief history lesson have to do with the information technology industry? Just like the party leaders were caught off guard by new ideas, we were blindsided by the events of the year 2020.

The Communist Party leaders thought they were electing a man who would continue standard party rule, and everything would be the same as before. In other words, new leader, same policies. I suspect most of us thought something very similar at the beginning of 2020 – new year, business as usual. As we look back at a very challenging year, we all know it was certainly not business as usual.

Early in 2020, COVID-19 stay-at-home orders swept the country. Because we had never experienced such a situation, we were unsure of the path forward. Suddenly, we had to figure out how to support the technology needs of a remote workforce. How would we get everyone online from home with secure access to our business-critical systems? Would all this at-home work break the internet?

Fortunately, it didn’t. However, it might have broken up our plans for the year. In many cases, infrastructure refreshes and upgrades were put on hold. On the other hand, many organizations accelerated their cloud transition plans. By the end of March, it seemed like everyone and every company moved in some direction they weren’t expecting in January.

Companies who delayed plans to upgrade existing equipment or refresh hardware had important decisions to make. Some landed outside of their normal lifecycle and, for the first time, were wrestling with post-warranty contracts and coverage models. Many stuck with OEM coverage, but with short-term contracts. Moving in another direction, we did see an increasing number of companies considering third-party maintenance as an option. Others could be found filling their need for increased capacity with purchases of refurbished equipment to meet tightened budgets.

For some companies, it was the very first time they had to consider what their technology asset lifecycle looked like and if it met the needs of their business, with or without a pandemic. Obviously, the lack of a clear lifecycle plan is not ideal, but understandable and more common than you might think. In most cases, IT staff is busy keeping the existing equipment running, applications up, and internal customers online. They usually don’t have the time to think strategically. Finding time to see the “big picture” in your enterprise can be a challenge, but effective lifecycle planning can make everyday tasks more efficient.  

Did the year 2020 change your plans? No matter where you find yourself in the asset lifecycle process, LRS has specialized skills to assist you. We collaborate with you and take the “heavy-lifting” off your plate with a deep dive into your assets and contracts.

Through a process called the Technology Lifecycle Management Review, we look for ways to optimize your hardware, software, and services to meet the needs of your business no matter what your situation. With the year we have had, and the changes we have experienced, now could be an ideal time for a review.

Want to learn more? Fill out the contact form below and one of our lifecycle management specialists will schedule a time to meet with you.

About the author

Patrick Schmidt is a Technology Lifecycle Management Specialist with LRS IT Solutions. For more than 20 years, he has been helping customers get a firm grasp on their asset and contract management with a combination of comprehensive service level analysis and lifecycle management best practices.