For nonprofit organizations, technology plays a crucial role in helping them achieve their mission and goals. With technology, nonprofits can efficiently manage their operations, bolster their outreach efforts, and improve their overall impact. However, the technology they use is only as effective as the way it is managed and maintained throughout its life cycle.
Constant changes and updates in technology make it difficult for nonprofit organizations to keep up, especially with limited resources and budgets. At the same time, nonprofits may not have the in-house expertise to ensure their IT is effective and up to date with industry standards. This is where IT life cycle management comes into play.
What is IT lifecycle management?
IT life cycle management is the process of handling an organization’s IT assets (e.g., networking equipment, servers, computers, and software) from procurement to decommissioning. It is a structured approach that ensures a nonprofit organization’s IT resources are consistently maintained, upgraded, and replaced when necessary.
The IT life cycle management process typically comprises five main phases:
- Procurement – This phase involves selecting and purchasing IT assets that align with the organization’s needs and tech specifications. During this phase, companies will have to liaise with different vendors and compare prices to make the best decisions for their budget. They’ll also have to manage purchase orders and inventory new technology.
- Deployment – Once the IT assets are acquired, they need to be installed, configured, and integrated into existing systems. The installation also involves checking for potential defects to ensure the new hardware or software functions as intended.
- Utilization – In this phase, IT assets are actively used to support the nonprofit’s mission. Organizations must consider how each IT asset fits into the company’s workflow, track the usage of said asset, and assess its value to the company. This phase may also call for tracking warranties and renewing licenses.
- Maintenance – Continued use of IT assets often leads to wear and tear, which can impact performance. This phase involves the proactive management and support of IT assets to ensure they remain efficient and effective. It may involve regular updates, security patches, and hardware repairs.
- Decommissioning – Eventually, IT assets may become outdated or the vendor may no longer support them. This phase involves properly disposing of or recycling old assets, uninstalling unsupported software, and transferring data and applications to new hardware.
Why do nonprofit organizations need IT life cycle management?
Effective IT life cycle management is essential for nonprofits for various reasons:
When nonprofits use outdated IT assets, they run the risk of incurring more expenses. This is because technology tends to run slower and require more maintenance over time as glitches, configuration errors, and hardware failures occur more frequently. This not only means frequent visits from IT technicians, but also increasing incidents of downtime, which severely hinders productivity and revenue growth.
With IT life cycle management, nonprofits are able to tell the appropriate time to replace or upgrade old assets. The process measures the overhead costs of current assets and considers the benefit of switching over to a new system. By conducting a cost-benefit analysis, nonprofits can strategically plan the life span of their IT assets, make smarter investments, and save money in the long run.
Enhanced productivity and job satisfaction
Nonprofits that invest in IT life cycle management can expect improved efficiency and productivity from their employees. Up-to-date software and hardware means smoother operations, faster response times, and less downtime due to system malfunctions.
This also means employees have access to modern tools that help them work more efficiently without the frustration of dealing with outdated technology. Fewer tech frustrations, in turn, leads to increased job satisfaction, as employees feel that their organizations are always equipping them with up-to-date tools to accomplish their missions effectively.
If nonprofits stick to their old IT assets, there’s a good chance that those assets are not equipped with the latest security features and updates. This can leave nonprofits vulnerable to various threats such as malware, network intrusions, and zero-day exploits.
By regularly maintaining and upgrading IT assets as part of IT life cycle management, nonprofits can ensure they have the most up-to-date security measures protecting them from cyberattacks.
By understanding the life cycle of their IT assets, nonprofits can make informed decisions about when to upgrade or replace technology components. This not only prevents disruptions caused when deploying new technology, but also leads to more stable financial planning and resource allocation.
Sharpened competitive edge
Implementing IT life cycle management ensures that nonprofits have access to the latest technology to support their operations and outreach efforts. With new and state-of-the-art technologies, nonprofits can quickly respond to changing industry trends, engage with donors and supporters on various platforms, develop more streamlined processes, and future-proof their organization.
Incorporating IT life cycle management can do wonders on your nonprofit’s operations and bottom line. Get a better handle on your technology assets and maximize their value by consulting Varsity Tech. Call us now to learn more.