What’s work usually like for you in the weeks straight after Christmas? If you’re in the gelati game, you might be never busier.
But for most of us, it’s a slow time. Staff go on holidays and so do customers. You might shut down completely for some of it.
Depending on the year you’ve had, you might be eagerly anticipating a break after a busy, successful year. Or you might be anxious about all the belt tightening and penny pinching you’ll need to scrape by until things pick up again.
There’s a third way to look at it: an opportunity.
Here’s your chance to knock over those disruptive IT projects when there’s not a lot of work to disrupt.
We all know how IT projects can get in the way of work – you show up at the office and there’s chaps buzzing about unplugging things, plugging things in, unscrewing cases, taking the server offline, and casting all the various spells needed to get everything working. It gets a bit much when everyone’s got deadlines.
Do you really want to have to deal with that when you’re busy?
What Kind of Projects Should You Consider?
This is a good chance to knock over anything that would get in the way of people’s work if you did it when things are busy.
Here are a few things you can consider:
Sort Out Your Computer Network: Your network was built to last a while, but not forever. The hardware manufacturers realise it’s all going to become obsolete at some point anyway, so most hardware is engineered for a lifespan of about 3-5 years. If you keep it running longer than that, things will start to break, and perhaps at the wrong time.
If you keep replacing broken devices in a piecemeal fashion just to keep things running, you can end up with a “Frankenstein Network” – sewn together from bits and pieces like Frankenstein’s monster. This results in slow speeds, malfunctions and bottlenecks and things that make you mutter words you wouldn’t want the kids to hear.
With the proliferation of phones, tablets and IoT devices in the workplace, your wireless network might be handling a lot more traffic than it was originally intended for too. Perhaps it’s time to take a few things off the wireless – perhaps you just need some beefier access points.
Whether your network needs an upgrade, replacement, or maintenance, this work is likely to be disruptive. Get it out of the way when things are quiet.
Spring Cleaning: Okay, so this is more like summer cleaning. It’s still worth doing.
The heat and electricity going through your computer’s components just in the course of ordinary use will wear it out eventually. That heat gets worse as it fills with dust, cat hair and maybe a spider home or two. Your fan needs to work harder to deal with this – which is why that machine that ran so smoothly when you bought it, after a while starts to sound like an airplane taking off.
Blowing out the dust and cobwebs with a can of compressed air will help it run quieter and extend the useful life.
Server Maintenance and Upgrades: This is a good time of year to get your technician to check over how your system resources are utilised – CPU, RAM, network bandwidth, disk space, and so forth. If any of them are turning into bottlenecks then it’s a good idea to address them.
Moving Over to New Software: So maybe some new and better software packages have come out since you started your business. That’s especially likely given the explosion in cloud-based solutions in recent years.
But when you’ve got existing systems already set up, transferring over to something else can be easier said than done. The process of moving all your data can be disruptive in itself. The big disruption, though, is usually the time it takes for you and your staff to learn the new systems and processes.
Even when you know it’s going to be all worth it in the end, it’s still a hill to climb. Maybe the quiet part of year is your best chance to tackle it.
Scheduled Downtime is Always Nicer Than Unscheduled Downtime
We all know it’s a hassle to take the car to the mechanic for scheduled servicing – but we do it anyway, because it’s a lot nicer than having the damn thing break down on the way to the airport.
So make the most of your quiet period to set things up for success when you’re busy.