The older I get the more that I want to improve myself. Right now I am in the process of training for my first 5K run as I want to lose a few pounds. I am not a strong runner, so my training results in various aches and pains despite following a workout plan designed to keep me from overworking my muscles. This does not mean that my training program is a bad one, or that I cannot accomplish my goal of running the race in a reasonable amount of time without having to walk at all.
It just means that I am not conditioned to run a race yet. My body has to be transformed into a runner’s body. If I do the workouts and stick with a good diet and exercise program I will obtain that runner’s body. The fact that the process is at times painful does not mean that I should quit. Quite the contrary! These minor pains are a signal to me that I need to keep training. Eventually the pain will go away as my body is made healthier through exercise, and my confidence is increased by accomplishing my goal.
Your IT infrastructure might be in the same situation. Years of neglect and a reluctance to implement new solutions may have degraded its overall health to the point that the actions needed to correct the problems of the infrastructure are going to disrupt your organization’s normal operations. There will be maintenance windows when services are not available, outages as undocumented dependencies are discovered, and the cost of fixing the infrastructure may be more than your organization has ever spent on IT before.
Real change is obtained through the effort of pushing past the initial pain though, and committing to seeing the transformation of a faulty system into a healthy one is something that we do despite it being painful at times. If people could lose weight by eating ice cream there would be no obesity problems. We would all just indulge in a triple scoop of our favorite flavors and watch the pounds melt away. As great as that would be, the reality is that you have to eat less, eat right, and exercise in order to lose weight. You have to deal with the discomfort of changing your body first before you can reap the rewards of having done so.
That is the real benefit of dealing with the pain and discomfort of such a change: The end results more than make up for the pain of the processes it took to obtain them. A healthy body improves every aspect of your life. You suffer a relatively small amount compared to the advantages that you gain through eating right and exercising. The same is true of repairing your faulty IT infrastructure.
This is why you should stop procrastinating with upgrading and improving your organization’s systems. The excuses of “We cannot tolerate the downtime.” or “We should not have to spend so much.” are just that – excuses!
Your organization will reap the benefits of more uptime if you suffer a few planned outages. Your organization will see more revenue and an increase in profitability if you pay for more robust and better performing systems. The imagined pain of an IT upgrade is usually far worse than the reality, and the end results easily justify exposing your organization to a little pain.
So if you, or someone else within your organization, keeps delaying an IT infrastructure upgrade because of the potential “pain” that it may cause just remember that no one got skinny by sitting on the couch and overeating. Embrace the pain of that upgrade instead and when the project is completed you will have an epiphany regarding pain – it fades away quickly in the face of accomplishment.