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Blog > March 2019 > 6 Red Flags that Your Systems Stability May Be at Risk

6 Red Flags that Your Systems Stability May Be at Risk

2019 may be well underway, but the business planning process is far from over. With digital transformation top of mind, your organization is constantly faced with the same question: do we have the technology in place to support our business goals? According to IDG’s 2018 State of Digital Business Transformation survey report, one of the biggest obstacles facing organizations’ digital business initiatives is the need to replace legacy systems. It may be time to do a little spring cleaning in your IT infrastructure to ensure your systems remain stable.
As acquisitions and market consolidations change the landscape, you may consider different vendors today than you did just a few years ago. Similarly, certain solutions may have been the right choice years ago, but are no longer the best fit. Yes, evaluating alternative solutions can take six to 12 months, and finding the “right time” to review and update your IT infrastructure is always a challenge. But, if you don’t start, you’ll never get there. It’s nearly spring, so why not begin assessing your current systems infrastructure applications? Asking, do they meet our business needs, and in the most optimized way? Identifying where systems tools fall short—whether it’s in cost, functionality, reliability or even necessity—will help you achieve the efficiency you need to compete in today’s market.
According to the IDG survey report, 28 percent of organizations are in the development stages of evaluating technologies, creating strategies and considering organizational changes that will be required for a digital transformation. By starting now, your organization will have enough time to thoroughly weigh your options, consider your contracts and plan for selecting the best systems infrastructure applications.
How to Evaluate Your Current Situation
As with any business investment, the first variable to assess is cost and ROI. IT systems require maintenance and upgrades, but any investment in systems should be for the long term. These are red flags that suggest you should explore alternative options: 

  • Your system is no longer supported or the end of support is imminent
  • Maintenance or version upgrades to your business are becoming difficult, disruptive or expensive without reward
  • System users have expressed concerns about system capabilities or performance
  • You have many disparate systems that have limited access to data for employees who need it
  • Your business requirements have changed
  • Your vendor recently experienced a change in ownership and future direction is unclear
Evaluating customer service is equally important. Vendor responsiveness is an essential ingredient in the success of IT systems. You want to be important to your vendor, but you also need a vendor with scale to handle the large challenges of a global company. We like to say that the ideal vendor is small enough to care, but large enough to matter. You can assess vendor service teams by asking:
  • When there is an issue, do you have to go through multiple operators to find someone with the information you need?
  • If the system is blocked up, how long does it take for a customer service representative to fix it?
  • If the system is down, how much money does it cost your business? It could be as much as $1 million per minute.
  • How do they account for increased demand for support services during peak season to ensure your systems run smoothly when needed the most?
You should be on a first-name basis with your customer service contact—who you know will pick up on the first try. Having this established relationship is a game-changer for the success of an IT system.
How to Qualify Alternative Systems Infrastructure Applications
With so many solutions on the market, evaluating alternatives can be overwhelming. You can tap C-level executives as well as IT management to gain an enterprise-wide perspective, from high-level strategy and cost reduction to on-the-ground budget, procurement and PoC. There are a few quantifiable metrics that you can use to compare systems and solutions, including usability, documentation, security and performance.
You must clearly understand how a new infrastructure application will deliver value to your business. These are a few questions that you should ask a new vendor:

  • Is this solution easier to use than the current one? Can users quickly navigate the application without being experts? Ease of use is critical to enabling employee productivity, which 50 percent of organizations prioritize as a top digital transformation objective. You can request a technical demo for users—especially those not on the management level—to ensure they are comfortable using the software.
  • Is it “better” to use? In other words, can the vendor communicate why it is better than a competitor? You can ask for case studies, analyst comparisons and evidence of financial stability to support the vendor’s claims.
  • What are the terms of their contract agreement?
  • How is their corporate pitch? That is, who they are, what they do and the value they bring. Do they prioritize your products? Look for vendors that take a user-friendly, service-oriented and detail-driven approach to solutions. Make sure you are aligned on business goals and what makes a fruitful working relationship. The best vendors will function as true business partners.
What’s Holding You Back?
The idea of transitioning critical infrastructure applications can feel like a hassle, even risky. So can having to handle multiple contracts. Yet if you choose the right vendor, it doesn’t have to be a pain point. Vendors with superior service skills and case studies to back up their claims can make your transition to their solutions seamless and simple. 
With the acceleration of technology and business today, you need to seriously consider whether your IT infrastructure is equipped and sufficient to keep pace and meet rapidly changing needs. By investing in trustworthy vendors and solutions that align with your business, you will be positioned for digital transformation. 
Learn more about ASG’s IT Systems Management solutions here, and check out our case studies here.

ASG invites CA Technologies customers affected by the Broadcom acquisition to explore how ASG solutions can help you ensure your mission essential mainframe capabilities receive the support and investment they need.
Posted: 3/6/2019 8:23:55 AM by Jeff Cherrington - VP, Product Management