Rapid changes in information technology
Rapid changes in information technology and It’s importance in running a successful business have led to a high demand for skilled practitioners who can maintain computer systems of different size and complexity. In larger organisations this may be the role of an IT services department but in smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) this role may be carried out by an employee within a wider set of responsibilities.
The most important area of computer systems maintenance is the creation and regular use of scheduled activities (this is often called ‘housekeeping’). Housekeeping lists how often a range of maintenance activities occurs. These activities may vary from simple cleaning to more difficult and important procedures such as making back ups of important data files.
In a computer system it should be possible to monitor the work rate and efficiency of any given hardware device. This information should then be used to decide whether a full upgrade or a minor change to system settings is needed. This is important because the user’s ability to process, arrange and manage complex data is often limited by the performance of both the system’s hardware and software.
Periodic hardware upgrades can usually be predicted as they often reflect the changing needs and scale of a business. In comparison, the upgrading of software is an ongoing process using code fixes or ‘patches’ to reduce errors and address new hardware issues. However, computer systems maintenance often the careful and cautious approach. It has been found that some fixes will also break other parts of a working system accidentally. It is for this reason that learners must be able to make sound judgments based on the benefits and drawbacks of any planned changes before any action is actually taken.