IT Support & Its Benefits Written by: Trevor Taylor
IT Support refers to the processes needed to keep IT hardware and software products in good working order throughout their entire life cycle. The term is mainly used to refer to software but the close linking of hardware and software these days means that it is not possible to delink the two in any discussion involving the maintenance of information technology. The Process of IT Support IT maintenance is a continuous process where modifications to hardware and software are logged, tracked and tested for impact analysis. Modification and testing is common as is the upgrading to newer versions of the products whether it is hardware or software. The process also includes training and other day-to-day support activities. The main IT maintenance activities include: • Implementing processes • Analyzing problems and making modifications • Implementing modifications • Maintenance reviews • Migration to new hardware or software • Retirement of old/outdated hardware or software The Need for IT Support Maintenance of information technology is necessary in order to ensure that it continues satisfy user's needs. Software is also applicable for maintenance irrespective of the life cycle model used in its development. Changes also need to be made for corrective and noncorrective actions of software. Some software maintenance actions are performed for the following reasons: • Rectify faults • Improve design • Execute enhancements • Allow interfacing with other software • Adapt to hardware IT Support Costs Maintaining IT is a costly process and consumes a large chunk of financial resources. Much of the effort usually goes towards non corrective activities despite popular perception that most resources are committed towards fixing problems. The following are some of the factors that influence software maintenance costs:
• Type of application • Uniqueness of the product - products that are highly unique or custom designed solutions can result in costing more to maintain • Availability of maintenance staff • Life span of the software • Characteristics of hardware • Quality of design
There are some innovative ways to reduce these costs without having much negative impact. They include: • Reducing maintenance agreements for applications that are rarely used; this action would impact on fewer users. • Rather that cutting down on maintenance completely, the turnaround frequency can be reduced. For example, from daily to weekly. • Weekend services or services provided during odd hours can be eliminated or reduced. • Many maintenance providers are willing to slash costs rather than lose out on contracts completely. It pays to speak to them and seek better rates. • Let your end users know what to expect with reduced maintenance. • Avoid reducing service to critical processes since the negative impact will outweigh any cost benefits. Evolution of IT Support Maintenance of IT is a series of evolutionary changes and decisions are guided by having an understanding of what happens to hardware and software over time. In other words, IT maintenance is always a work-in-progress and never really comes to an end. In fact, it becomes more complex as time goes by unless more knowledge is gained and used to reduce this complexity. The biggest issue is so many businesses don’t implement an end of life scheme on existing hardware and software leaving them in a very costly position when implementing new software on older hardware or older software on new hardware. This creates a huge dilemma when structure isn’t put into to place. A totally consultative approach for IT Support is the goal to fully understand and interpret the specific needs of your organisation. By designing and creating a solution that best fits your business, each of our services can be scaled up or down to meet your exact requirements, irrespective of size or complexity of your infrastructure.