Identifying 7 Common Mistakes in Tech Projects
As a non-tech business, you are an expert on the product or service that you are selling. That is your core competency, not information technology. Still, some businesses feel they can do it themselves. That could cost you a lot more than you think. Technology by nature is like a moving target and pinning the best technology solution requires quite a bit of work. Treating tech projects as an afterthought is a mistake that non-tech businesses make far too often. Worse yet, those mistakes can stall the growth of your business. Avoiding tech mistakes, especially the high impact ones, will be the thing that ensures the success of your business.
What are the 7 deadly mistakes non-tech businesses make on tech projects and how you can avoid committing those mistakes? This article will help your company navigate the complex and confusing world of technology.
Mistake #1. Skimping on Security
Most small businesses might conclude that their business isn’t that big to become a target for hacks and data theft. Unfortunately, security has become the number one issue even for small businesses with increased online scams, software vulnerabilities, and networks using improper architecture. Can you imagine the impact on your business if your trade secrets, customer information, HR records, and confidential communication fell into the wrong hands!
One of the top security risks most businesses often ignore is the failure to encrypt their emails. Some discard email encryption either because it is costly and complicated, or because they feel that the threat is insignificant. You can prevent much pain and loss by encrypting your emails. Always assume that every email you send could be intercepted by unethical hackers.
Try this: Set up an email encryption system to protect all your emails and their attachments.
Mistake #2. Patching New Software On Old Hardware
Most often than not software publishers release new upgrades that require a significant hardware upgrade in order to run the newer version. Many businesses purchase the latest version of the software without considering its hardware requirements. The use of old computers and their hardware can be problematic since these devices generally lack the latest features, hang too often, and are slower at common tasks like launching the application, booting up, printing, and internet search. This can result in a failed upgrade and can bring your business to a screeching halt until new hardware can be put in place or until the old version is reinstalled.
Try this: Before you purchase an upgraded software, check the minimum system requirements needed for the software to run smoothly and ensure that your existing system meets those standards.
Mistake #3. Skipping The Planning Phase
Planning for IT may seem tedious and time-consuming especially when you have so many things to get done with the running of your main business. However, it is vital that every business, big or small, must plan out their IT initiatives at least once a year. Failing to map-out your technology path can impact your entire business. You must plan your budget for new software and hardware upgrades while considering the need for additional manpower and/or technical support. Planning ahead will ensure business continuity and will spare you from unanticipated problems and setbacks when something fails.
Try this: Decide on a particular month of the year for taking stock and planning your IT structure and requirements.
Mistake #4. Inadequately Trained Employees
Some of your employees may understand technology, perhaps because they had some experience with it formerly or just because they are tech geeks. This is by no means enough to put them on the job to handle tech requirements. One of the most common mistakes that many non-tech companies commit is to try to get the job done with employees who are not adequately trained to use the technology they have at work. There is no alternative to training, it is an absolute must for business growth! Forgoing on the training of employees may render well-intentioned purchases useless and result in a massive loss of ROI. By training your employees you can lessen the likelihood of mistakes and improve overall productivity.
Try this: Take the “train the trainer” approach with your software provider. It is cost-effective and helpful.
Mistake #5. Ignoring Reliable Backup And Disaster Recovery
Businesses today are reliant on their records and data, which are almost completely stored electronically. It is extremely dangerous to assume that your backup system is working properly. A sudden power outage or a server crash can delete all your data within seconds increasing your downtime and the expenses that accompany it. It is a good practice to back up a test directory, erase it, and then do a test restore to ensure that your backup device is working. Also, ensure that the proper data is backed up.
Try this: Have a right backup solution and disaster recovery procedure in place.
Read more: COVID-19- Ensuring Continuity and Building Resilience- How business leaders can respond, survive, and thrive in the new normal
Mistake #6. Not Leveraging Cloud Computing
Most businesses either embrace cloud inconsistently or treat it as an unnecessary expenditure for their tech projects. Cloud computing has emerged as the most efficient platform for businesses than on-premise counterparts. This is because it makes it possible for employees, customers, and other authorized users to access the data at any time from any place. In most cases, cloud-based applications offer greater functionality and are less expensive. Cloud computing is more secure than an in-house computer operation that may lack proper antivirus solutions, firewalls, or backup systems.
Try this: Prepare a cloud strategy and as soon as possible, consider moving some of your applications and data to the cloud.
Mistake #7. Ignoring Preventive Maintenance
The most common mistake made by businesses on tech projects is the “repair when it crashes” strategy for IT infrastructure. While it may not hurt too much on some issues, can you imagine your 10-year-old server crashing! Now that could cripple your business. If your mission-critical hardware crosses its shelf life as it were, it is time to consider replacing it well before it actually crashes. Just like your automobile, IT software and hardware require regular maintenance and adjustments. Both the software and servers need continued care to perform at optimal levels.
Try this: Avoid overextending the life cycle of servers. Start planning to replace it well in advance. Look for the manufacturer’s instructions on MTBF (mean time between failures) for your equipment.
Don’t Make a Costly Mistake
As a business, you are constantly juggling multiple roles and duties to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Too often, the panic call comes after a technology mistake has been done already. It is crucial to remember that a single mistake could lead to catastrophic loss of data that your business may never recover from. Don’t take chances with your business. Get our experts to help you make those tech decisions and implement them smoothly. Give us a call and let’s get talking.
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In the wake of the age of mobility, and increasing demands for high-quality web and mobile applications, DevOps is fast becoming the most reliable and preferred strategy for most organizations. It’s cross-functional collaboration and speed are making it more like a go-to strategy, as it enables quick delivery of software solutions, which is precisely what is needed in the current business scenario. Moreover, as businesses are in the process of digital transformation around the world, an agile environment is only a necessity, as a lot of business aspects linked to the transformation process like growth, customer loyalty, and satisfaction, competition differentiation etc., need to be taken care of well. DevOps helps in creating such a responsive IT environment, enabling organizations in rapid development and deployment of high-end software solutions.
But how far is DevOps successful? How can an organization judge for itself whether it’s DevOps initiative was, or will be successful? Sure, a lot of organizations are following it, but given the transformational scenario that most organizations are in, it could be difficult to measure its success, because DevOps by itself is not exactly a formal framework and it doesn’t provide a lot of guidance. Organizations simply have to learn into it.
There are some metrics or elements that accurately help in measuring the success of DevOps. Most organizations make the mistake of measuring a number of elements, which often may not be necessary and retreat to ones that can be easily collected. But, the issue is that some of these metrics that matter for DevOps may not be as familiar to organizations. For example, the speed of deployment, rate of change and the like are metrics that are only applicable to DevOps, which in turn is a comparatively new concept for organizations.
So what are the metrics that should be considered for DevOps?
The elements that matter
Importantly, we need to consider people-centric metrics, and process and technology centric metrics as well for DevOps. Out of these, people-centric metrics are probably the most difficult to collect, but often prove to be the most useful. They can actually be one of the most powerful influencers on a DevOps program. Hence, internal metrics like staff training and retention rates should be strongly considered.
When it comes to
When it comes to process metrics, we need elements that help to measure the effectiveness of interlinked processes throughout the delivery process. It helps to see if the collaboration is effective. It also helps to identify deficiencies within the processes that need more work.
Technology metrics are those such as uptime and capacity to support expected web traffic, which basically help in reviewing the technologies used in the DevOps process. It also includes insights derived from failures or errors like failed releases, code defects and the like.
Another important thing to note while determining metrics is to sustain a comprehensive or holistic approach. Sticking to just one or two aspects of measurement like operational or developmental metrics, may not provide the required results. As a matter of fact, there are chances of it having a negative impact on behavioral improvements in the organization.
To start off, here are a few dimensions which can be used to measure the effectiveness of DevOps:
- Collaboration and sharing – This literally forms the base of a DevOps program and is hence the most important measure. They help in judging the acceptance or resistance to the program, on an ongoing basis, which is a valuable indicator of the effectiveness of DevOps. As mentioned before, some of the metrics in this dimension might be easier to collect such as staff retention rates, training, and turnover, while others like employee morale might be more difficult. Another aspect to look into here, is how metrics in other dimensions are affecting elements in this dimension. For example, how far are MTTR (Mean Time To Repair) changes affecting employee morale, retention, absenteeism and the like. Automated surveys and other means to get employee feedback are other areas that may be considered for this dimension.
- Efficiency – This dimension mainly focuses on developmental and operational aspects. The capacities and capabilities. Moving from the traditional ratios like server to admin, businesses are now using customer-centric ratios like FTE (Hours worked by a Full-Time Employee) to customers. This value is expected to increase in the coming years, as more enterprises are now moving to automation and the cloud. Other metrics such as examining costs on an application basis and cost of release are good measures in improving data center efficiencies.
- Quality – This dimension focuses on elements related to service delivery. For example, metrics like percentage of applications rolled-back because of code defects. Now this metric could initially be high for organizations that have just begun on their DevOps initiative. This is probably due to extra time required for the purpose of making the new processes effective, and other related things. These metrics might give other useful insights when combined with other indicators. For example, the rate of rollbacks when combined with the change volume indicator, could provide more important insights.
These are some other metrics in this dimension:
Cycle time – time required to complete a stage or several stages within a project
MTTR – average time taken to restore a service or repair a defective part
- Business value – This dimension is focused on external things – like the impact of DevOps on meeting business goals. It includes elements like customer value or loyalty, time to market and the like. The lead time too provides businesses with an analogous metric that helps to know how well DevOps is meeting the need to deliver high-quality software services fast. This is specifically important as a long lead time may mean more defects in code and issues in testing.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is another important metric, which is a simple method to measure customer loyalty. Even though this measure has been traditionally used for marketing purposes for a long time, customer loyalty is also affected by the fast and timely delivery of software services through high-quality web and mobile apps.
All these metrics contribute towards analyzing the effectiveness and success of DevOps. Keeping track of these, can help an organization in deciding whether to continue with the program or do the needful to make it further effective.
Image credits: Prashant Arora’s blog