Despite the Apple revolution that has stormed the United States, Microsoft has retained its domination within mainstream business environments and shows very little indication of being knocked from the perch anytime soon.
For medium- to large-scale companies, the commitment they have made to Microsoft Solutions is a very significant part of their operations in terms of both productivity and capital investment. And while the emergence of cloud-based services in gaining more traction, there are a lot of business owners who are not yet ready to transition their IT infrastructure to a platform that they do not fully understand.
It's important to note that owners and CIOs will eventually need to get comfortable with cloud-based applications given that the digital and software industry as a whole is moving in that direction. But for those who are planning to stick with what they know in the immediate future, there are some changes at Microsoft that you will need to address.
You may realize that as of April of last year, Microsoft ended support for bug and security fixes for SharePoint 2003. What you may not know is that as of July 2015 and April 2016, Microsoft will discontinue bug and security support for Windows Svr 2003 and SQL 2005, respectively. If you are running these Microsoft platforms and are not sure to what extent this change will impact your company, here are some tips to consider.
- Identify a qualified Microsoft team to help you evaluate the reality of your Microsoft infrastructure. Request a detailed assessment not only of what you have in place, but where the holes are and how those holes could potentially impact your ability to operate efficiently. This activity will help you decide what requires an upgrade and what will require replacement.
- Build an IT infrastructure plan(Microsoft as well as other platforms) and forecast out so that you can spend, integrate, migrate and implement change in accordance with your over-arching business strategy. This should involve your IT professionals, the company's senior leadership, human resources and the sales and marketing teams as well. In some cases, it may even be worth soliciting the opinion of your end users — clients and customers.
- Remember that your plan should be constructed in phases. Companies that make an across-the-board digital change in knee-jerk fashion open themselves up to enormous challenges on the operational and customer service side. It's crucial that you have all of the pieces aligned when you decide to make the switch: training, security, coordination and communication between different platforms, etc.
Whether you are working in SharePoint or researching the latest in API applications, understanding your options should be the first step for companies that rely on their internal technology systems to develop new business.
Sharepoint Practice Director, Vanick Digital
Ray Rahman is a superior Enterprise Architect, Application Developer, and SharePoint professional.