Evergreen IT allows vendors to update and patch systems for you by offering cloud-based solutions that keep your network, servers and software updated regularly. By upgrading systems in a scalable, real-time manner, you are addressing the need to upgrade in small, manageable ways.
The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
~ John F. Kennedy
The Full Scoop
Originally published through the opens in a new windowTampa Bay Business Journal Leadership Trust
Years ago, our team was working on a software implementation for a large corporate client. It had been a long and challenging project that involved redesigning a platform for a large lending institution. Many changes and impacts to users were being felt all at once as multiple systems and process updates had coalesced.
Many vendors and teams were involved. Balancing the needs of the business with the abilities and limits of the system and its various stakeholders required patience, good organizational skills and, at times, a lot of creativity. This was a massive platform with numerous API integrations between systems, global teams and new hardware. In short, nearly everything was new and we were changing everything at once.
This is how traditional IT system implementations have been performed. It was time-consuming and very expensive.
Change is necessary and can bring a flood of innovation and productivity gains. But initially the change will cause disruptions, and knowing this often leads owners and executives to put off IT upgrades until they are absolutely needed. The longer you wait, the more impactful the process of change will be.
During the course of our engagement, we learned to accept that bumps will always occur during the system implementation journey. We also learned from the past. Embracing the importance of change helped us push through the difficult times and put processes into place to help system updates be more streamlined in the future.
We had only been live for a few weeks when a manager on the project asked, “When will the system achieve stability?” Small fixes, along with additional phase two changes, were actively going into place daily. My response was simply, “This is quite normal and to be expected; we changed a lot all at once.” When you make big, impactful changes, there will absolutely be instability until the system and processes accept the changes and become accustomed to continuous updates.
In that situation, you can try to future-proof by managing the uncertainty and working toward a period of greater system stabilization. We adopted a practice of continuous improvement, and in the months that followed, changes and subsequent upgrades became the norm. In the short term, the changes were a shock to the broader system because the previous platform had been in place for many years. But if you look to the future, you can ensure that changes become uneventful and natural.
You may not realize it, but the hardware running on your traditional network is also running software. That software is only as current as the last time someone updated it, so unlike the software applications running on your smartphone (that you may have just updated today), your servers and network equipment may be long past due for upgrades that are crucial to the long-term health of your system. This is where you can really leverage managed IT and cloud-driven solutions.
Evergreen IT is a concept that refers to utilizing services and components that are always kept up to date. Evergreen IT is an effort to continuously manage IT in such a way that “big-bang changes” are no longer necessary. Systems today are capable of being built in such a manner that they can be scaled, updated and patched in real time. Imagine a paradigm where you are continuously upgrading, patching, scaling — it is no longer a fearful imposing summit that you must face every five or 10 years. Instead, picture a jogger who just gets out there daily to stay in shape — upgrades are just part of the norm.
By upgrading systems in a scalable, real-time manner, you are addressing the need to upgrade in small, manageable ways. You have put your technology in a position where you are less susceptible to large-scale changes and expensive, resource-intensive projects. Evergreen IT allows vendors to update and patch systems for you by offering cloud-based solutions that keep your network, servers and software updated regularly.
Remember, the best time to avoid system downtime is before it ever happens. Work with your IT partner to implement solutions that manage themselves, rather than slowly becoming obsolete. With cloud computing and next-generation technologies, you will find that upgrading your IT system is likely much more affordable than you think. System stability can be achieved while keeping updates current — the critical factor is moving to a platform that helps you embrace continuous change naturally so that upgrades, much like upgrading apps on your smartphone, become a common part of your day-to-day technology experience.