Take a minute to think about
the applications you use, the programs you depend on and the technologies
you’ve integrated into your business. Now ask yourself these questions: If a specific
application supported my company in the past, how is it benefiting me now? Are
our programs performing in line with our desired standard? What, if anything,
am I doing to ensure my technology is not outdated? Is my vendor providing me
with resources to manage my applications? Am I really getting the maximum
business value from these solutions?
To answer these questions,
many enterprise scale organizations use established processes to manage their
technology. A technology lifecycle—or TLC—offers a systematic approach for
assessing the state of your technologies. Thankfully, this indispensable method
applies to both enterprise scale organizations and small and midsize
businesses. So whether you’re an experienced IT professional or a technological
tenderfoot, considering your TLC will yield promising, practical results.
Introduce yourself to the
product’s benefits, programs, services and content. What’s new with the
product? Who else is using it? How does it benefit them? From training
resources to accessibility tools, analyzing your products’ perks in the early
stages of implementation will drastically influence your business practices
Select the best product for
your business. Evaluate the product to confirm its alignment with your
business’s goals. Think about both your current and future needs. Is the product
secure and compliant? Will the product scale with future growth? Can you
connect with current product users? Is there ongoing support and training for
the product? What does the future product roadmap look like? If you choose a
product that is cost-effective, yet lacks specific market advantages, you may
find yourself trailing behind your competitors.
Connect with the product’s
customer services, including any deployment assistance programs, step-by-step
setup guidance or visual assets. These documents will serve as a roadmap for
the successful implementation of your product. Consider your strategies for
product-integration. How do you plan for successful deployment and adoption?
Can you find demos and guidance? What are the considerations for the businesses
most like yours in similar industries, at similar size and with similar
Discover best practices for a
successful product launch using an integrated admin console or alternative
resources. How do you configure the product? How do you manage or administrate
it? Are management and administration tools provided? How should you prepare
for change and incidents? How can you assure your data is secure and company
policies are being met? Researching practical ways for communicating the new
product to employees will result in informed, confident and empowered users.
Configure and customize the
product and integrate it within your company. Develop new and extend existing
features and functionalities. Connect the product with line of business
applications. Is development guidance provided? Are there opportunities to
learn about best practices and see how the product is being modified to solve
real business goals? Budget time for aligning your company’s goals and interests
with the product, choosing internal applications that further the interest of
Retain critical support
contacts and information to resolve issues with your deployment and management
of the product. Consider live support options including in-person, phone or
chat. These options should be balanced by online troubleshooting and guidance.
Is there a broad set of support options to help me address a range of potential
issues? Do you get appropriate and timely notifications? Can you plan for known
issues and quickly get unanticipated issues addressed?
Secure the best possible
experience with your new technology for you and your end users. Invest in a
product with training and adoption options designed specifically to encourage
you and your company to further your understanding as you advance with your new
technology. Learning how to manage and sustain the product is important for
anyone in an IT or administrator role. Similarly, learning is critical for
ensuring your end users get the most from your technology investments.
Effective product usage can positively impact your business.
When assessing technology’s
impact, Microsoft has committed to the TLC. In fact, Microsoft’s whole Office
Suite is TLC–compatible, offering services, check-ins and pertinent information
that might otherwise be unavailable to businesses. Though a technology
lifecycle may be just one of the many factors a business-owner or IT
professional considers when implementing new technologies in the workplace, the
importance of securing quality products with strong business and support
services that match your business’s needs cannot be stressed enough.
by investing in your business, and thrive on your future success.