Magazine article Management Today

When to Upgrade Your IT System

Magazine article Management Today

When to Upgrade Your IT System

Article excerpt

DILEMMA

A company has outgrown its IT systems and the founders are divided over whether to invest in a more sophisticated network. The company's resources have been stretched recently by an acquisition and the setting up of a subsidiary in Germany. The various parts of the business use incompatible IT systems.

ISSUES

This could be the ideal moment to insist on a unified approach. The group needs to determine whether a new system will integrate what is now a geographically diverse business and whether, by replacing or upgrading its systems, it can offer more to its suppliers and customers and outstrip the competition.

A good look at the existing systems will help it to determine whether to replace all of them or simply upgrade parts. Either way, if the investment is made, the company must prepare itself for a transitional phase. Would upgrading in stages reduce the financial or commercial risk? If so, what are the priorities of the business? If it plans to invest in a new system or upgrade, what can be bought off the shelf and what should be customised? It should work out how to upgrade continually and who will be responsible for the system's maintenance. Outsourcing may be an option. …

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