HBR Consulting: Three reasons to get a second opinion on IT lifecycle management

Senior IT executives carry the burden of making the final decisions on hardware and technology support options needed to run the applications that drive their corporate or law firm business functions. These are always high-stakes decisions because they carry significant financial and operational implications for the organization.

A growing body of knowledge is illustrating the importance of caveat emptor — let the buyer beware — when it comes to deciding what IT equipment your organization needs and, perhaps more importantly, when it is needed. In almost all cases, it is advisable to seek the independent counsel of a trusted advisor who sits on the same side of the desk that you do, free of any financial incentive to encourage you to spend more and to spend faster.

Many IT professionals are struggling with these issues. Colleagues in the analyst community advise that a significant majority of inquiries they receive on the subject are from IT professionals who are in some stage of evaluating potential new best practices and alternatives, as opposed to inquiries regarding renewals of maintenance contracts (only a small proportion). Most realize that a second opinion is needed to navigate the intricacies of developing an alternate strategy and are unclear about how or when to create that strategy. 

OEM Guidance

Of course, different types of technology equipment are developed by various companies and are needed for specific purposes. Some of these equipment manufacturers — known as “Original Equipment Manufacturers” (OEMs) — specialize in just one area; others offer equipment across multiple functions, such as the following:

  • Networking (e.g., Cisco, Brocade, Juniper, IBM, HP, etc.)
  • Servers (e.g., Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, IBM; HP, Oracle, etc.)
  • Storage (e.g., Dell / EMC, Hitachi, NetApp, IBM, HP, Oracle, StorageTek, etc.) 

These OEMs are very reputable companies that generally make excellent products capable of functioning effectively for a long time. In fact, the truth is they typically will last for much longer than the average organization’s IT lifecycle refresh schedule.

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