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IT Networks: How to Argue for a Bigger Budget

IT Networks: How to Argue for a Bigger Budget

With computer networks, that mindset is dangerously
complacent.  IT networks will keep pumping data until they die or
let in hackers.  Here are some winning arguments against “if it
ain’t broke…”

IT Network Maintenance: Better Analogies

Don’t let your IT network’s budget get lumped with IT in
general–or worse, operations in general.  “If it ain’t broke,
don’t fix it” sometimes makes sense in IT or operations. 
Upgrading workstations or desks can cost productivity, making it
self-defeating.

You have to stress that IT networks are different from workstations or desks.

IT networks are harder to repair.
IT networks cannot be done without until fixed.  You
depend on them for email, web, file transfers, and in some
organizations, printing, fax and telephone.  If your network
breaks you may be forced to rely on hand-written letters.
IT network improvements rarely lower productivity on the
front line.  Instead, a faster, more reliable network can improve
front-line productivity.

Here are the analogies you should stress to counter “if it ain’t broke”:

Plumbing: IT networks will appear to function until they
burst.  The damage will be more expensive than maintenance ever
could have been.  In the meantime, you are losing productivity to
all the little “leaks.”
Dams: If a poorly maintained IT network bursts, the eventual flood will harm overall productivity.
War: There is no such thing as “good enough” when you are in
competition.  With an IT network, you’re in a quiet arms race with
hackers.  You are also competing with your business competitors in
terms of productivity.
Health: Your IT network has to be in top physical
condition.  You can’t make up for bad habits with a week or two of
“rejuvenation.”  Meanwhile, your day-to-day performance will
suffer.
Cars: Don’t wait for your IT network to conk out.  Get a regular tune-up of up-to-date equipment.
IT Network Maintenance: What Can Go Wrong

Now, let’s drive the point home.  Here are some concrete,
easy-to-explain reasons to keep your network up-to-date:

Power supplies.  Without redundant backups, your network
is vulnerable to a shutdown.  The lost productivity will make
extra equipment seem inexpensive in comparison.
Integrity.  Faulty or contradictory data can break older
networks.  Newer equipment has solved these problems.  Again,
the potential cost of lost productivity makes newer equipment a good
value.
Firewalls.  Hackers can leak trade secrets stolen from
unprotected networks.  Firewall software upgrades are relatively
inexpensive.
VOIP.  Organizations worldwide are switching to
VOIP–not just outside-line telephones but also switchboard and
teleconferencing.  If your network is out-of-date, it may fail
when you eventually try this new technology.
Speed.  Older platforms such as 10BASET will throttle
your bandwidth.  You can now upgrade to a Terabit or more. 
Just think of the seconds, minutes, hours, and days lost as staff wait
for email to arrive and web pages to load.

Final tip: show how cost-effective IT network maintenance
really is. Get a firm cost estimate from a vendor.  Just make sure
your cost estimate is as competitive as it can be.  You can often
get new equipment at half the cost of retail by buying refurbished
equipment.

Close your case for a better network with this wisdom: no
matter what you pay, keeping your network up-to-date is cheaper than
the consequences of letting it fall into disrepair.

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