End of Year Processing Is Coming Up: Are You Prepared?

    December 28, 2015

    By John Miecielica

    Businesses are now preparing for year-end closing  ensure your systems have enough capacity to meet demand.

    As the holiday season closes in, businesses are gearing up for everyone’s least favorite New Year’s event: end of year processing. While it’s always exciting to start with a clean financial slate, pushing the calendar forward takes some grueling legwork and long hours, especially when paired with monthly and quarterly reporting. Come Jan. 1, acquiring automated processing systems will surely rank highly on many New Year's resolution lists.

    But this reporting period isn’t just taxing for employees  bulk processing places an incredible demand on IT servers. When the work and snow pile high around you, we don’t want you to face an IT conundrum. And so we ask: are you prepared?

    The Big Push

    Every IT veteran has at least one horror story, as the Data Center Journal emphasizes, about checking off those last boxes of the year: “After coming in over budget, we fried a local server when backing up critical account information. The CFO hasn’t spoken to me since.” Of course, some stories have happier endings: “We consolidated assets ahead of time and freed up 20% more capacity, avoiding a slowdown.” Dec. 31 is a stage and setting that’s primed for IT drama, and for good reason.

    As finance teams reconcile their 2015 capital accounts, confirm payroll expenses, and compile profit and loss reports, company servers (and employees) are working overtime.This wouldn’t be a problem if IT weren’t still doing the daily work of delivering service to clients, but the sudden addition of massive amounts of company-wide data processing can dramatically impact response times and result in downtime.

    This is a poorly-timed headache for finance departments, and it’s quite costly for the business: an Emerson study found that business disruption caused by outages costs an average $179,827, a figure that would pain finance professionals to put on the year-end books. When you consider the additional lost work-hours during an operations slowdown, the importance of maximizing your company’s IT capacity during this busy season becomes clear.

    Turning the Page

    As with any period where high stress and massive workloads are a certainty, careful planning is always better than a last-minute mad dash. This is why the frustration of year-end outages is amplified: the risk is known, year after year.

    But how to quantify that risk? While it’s obvious that servers will be dealing with massive workloads at end-of-the-year crunch time, it’s hard to justify a preemptive IT spend unless the specific infrastructural solution can be calculated  physical or virtual servers? How much capacity? Is this cost justifiable in the long term? Most managers would rather assume the risk than take a shot in the dark.

    However, these figures are knowable. Proprietary analytics from TeamQuest allow companies to clearly evaluate their risk of downtime. This provides far more than just a measure of the efficiency of current IT infrastructure  companies can chart server bottlenecks before they occur and determine the least expensive way to keep services online.

    It’s almost a tradition for IT professionals to lament year-end processing, but by taking the right proactive steps, it can be a gift-wrapped bow on the coming year.

    Learn more about how to create an alliance between your IT and finance.

    (Main image credit: UBC Library Communications/flickr)

    Category: capacity-planning