Onepax Business Consulting


At some point in every business, technical staff or the local computer guru have realized at some point that their task at hand may be out of their ability. Backup solutions, disaster recovery, server upgrades, you name it. Some businesses seemed to share the joint concern that IT consulting consists of a group of consultants who come in and rip apart their current infrastructure and then install a shiny, expensive new piece of equipment that replaces everything that the company would ever need.

I’m sad to say that a lot of the IT consultants out there come in with that approach and mentality. My personal opinion is that IT consultants are there to support their existing infrastructure, not rip it out entirely and start from scratch. Many consultants want to have a quick flip, purchasing new equipment (where they probably get a nice kick-back) and setup their clients with brand new equipment. But what most consultants fail to see is that a company is literally entrusting their life, blood and tears to IT consultants in hopes that they can help them fix it for the better. Coming in and ripping everything out is warranted in some cases where clients were running software that was dated back to the early 70’s, but not in all situations.

When I perform an on-site analysis of a client’s computing infrastructure, I take a very detailed and complete inventory of their computing setup. Specifically I look for servers, workstations and network configuration and understand the whole picture of the client’s infrastructure. Only then can you gain true insight into the client’s infrastructure and make recommendations as to what they can do. More often than not, most of our clients can get away with their current investments. Their needs may be small enough where they are not serving millions of web pages of day or accepting billions of emails in an hour.

What is missing is a life-cycle for IT equipment within the enterprise. Most businesses should replace their end-user workstations every 4 years and replace their servers on the same schedule as well. Often, high intensity applications are promoted to the new machines, but what is important is that companies recycle their IT equipment in phases, not all at once. More often than not, with this in place businesses can replace their entire system every four years. With this slow and methodical approach to keeping their systems current, business benefit in several ways.

Benefits to a 4 year replacement life cycle

  • Spread their investment over the four year life cycle
  • Investments can be staggered so that each system is gradually replaced every four years (no more so called “forklift” upgrades where everything is replaced)
  • System performance is gradually improved consistently. Applications should never reach “critical mass” in which they stop functioning because the system is too old.
  • Replacing equipment every 4 years improves reliability since companies don’t have to gamble on antiquated hardware.
  • Since the hardware may still have some retail value left, businesses can resell their equipment to help purchase the upgrades rather than taking a complete loss.

The IT consulting industry is slowing moving away from the mentality of “rip and strip” when it comes to outsourcing. I personally have no problem working with existing infrastructures and I often encourage it to our clients so they can get the most for their IT investment. Instead of the “rip and strip” strategy, a slow and gradual replacement strategy will make more business sense and allow any business to get the most benefits out of cycling their hardware and avoid dangerous “forklift” upgrades.

Gabe Brown is a graduate of The Ohio State University in Computer Science and Engineering as well as an author and consultant for Onepax, LLC.

  November 14, 2005      Comments (0)