IT Project Planning Even More Critical Amid Equipment, Labor Shortages
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered supply chain disruptions that have created significant challenges for the technology sector. Processors, circuit boards and other components are in short supply, with some companies reporting delivery delays of a year or more.
This has created shortages of IT equipment. Need a new server? Expect to wait three months or more, depending on the configuration. Network switches? Up to a year. Organizations everywhere have been forced to rethink their technology projects to account for these constraints.
In addition to hardware acquisition, organizations must line up the staff necessary to implement the solutions. Chronic IT labor shortages have been exacerbated by pandemic-related disruptions, high demand for certain skill sets and people leaving the workforce.
All indicators suggest that these are not short-term issues. Equipment and labor shortages are going to continue well into 2022. That will delay project plans for customers who don’t make an early stage commitment to get in the queue for products and services. Customers who decide to wait are going to end up at the bottom of a very long list.
Getting the Infrastructure in Place
SirviS recognizes these challenges, and has taken steps to help organizations plan and execute their IT initiatives. We have restructured programs, extended scope documents and developed creative financing that allows customers with architected plans to move forward with their projects.
We also work with customers to break their plans into phases so that work can proceed while we are waiting on equipment. Preparation is a good example of this. The physical prep aspect of any project can be very labor-intensive. This includes installing raised flooring, putting in cooling systems, electrical and data cabling, and dropping in secure cages. If these tasks are done ahead of time, the cutover when the IT equipment finally arrives is much simpler.
These data center infrastructure products aren’t experiencing the delays that high-end technology products are. We are able to procure racks and cabinets, cabling supplies and the like in a reasonable timeframe. We are also keeping as many components as we can in stock so we can get this work done while we’re waiting on routers, switches, servers and other high-end equipment.
Ensuring Robust Security
There's also no reason for customers to delay taking action on remote security, health checks and other types of assessments. Whether performed ahead of a major initiative or part of an ongoing risk mitigation strategy, these projects do not hinge on equipment availability. If the SirviS team identifies gaps, we can begin the equipment procurement process and schedule the remediation activities accordingly.
If a customer has had a significant breach, we physically wipe down and reload all of the affected servers to help ensure they won’t be hit by a secondary breach. That can be a labor-intensive process. If a server is four or five years old, it probably makes sense to explore getting a new one. The cost of the new equipment is going to be comparable to performing the remediation, and the customer gets up-to-date equipment that will perform better and have the newer firmware that addresses many security concerns.
SirviS is working closely with customers to analyze those options and make the best decisions based upon equipment availability and business and IT needs. We are investing in inventory and keeping it on our shelves to ensure we have products available for our customers. We are restructuring agreements to address both changing timelines and fluctuating prices. The important thing for customers is to start planning now so we can develop a project roadmap with reasonable milestones and objectives.