The Cheshire Cat was one smart cookie. He warned Alice if she didn’t know where she was headed, any road would do. Had he been asked, the Cheshire Cat would have added that a map doesn’t help if you don’t know where you are right now, because direction is relative. That’s why you start with an IT infrastructure assessment when it’s time to redefine your company’s IT direction, or keep you productively on course.
Every business student is familiar with SWOT analysis – identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your company’s growth and profitability. When it comes to IT, risk assessment is particularly important because your entire enterprise is IT-dependent. But there are many benefits to conducting an IT infrastructure assessment.
Consider these three that go beyond IT to the whole company:
Your firm undoubtedly has a comprehensive business plan. But without periodic assessment how can you know how you’re doing? Especially if you aren’t experiencing noticeable problems, it’s all-too-easy to become complacent. And equally easy to drift off course or fall behind. When that happens, costs can rise and productivity can drop, because IT infrastructure and service delivery affect your entire organization.
As Malcolm Baldridge was fond of pointing out, quality and focus go hand-in-hand. You can’t produce quality products or provide exceptional internal functionality without periodic IT infrastructure assessment that keeps you technologically up-to-date so you can focus on what matters most.
An IT infrastructure assessment is like an employee performance review. Using your company’s key performance indicators and other benchmarks as a baseline, you can evaluate progress toward overall goals as well as identify gaps, desired improvements and opportunities to reduce costs. Assessment supports a plan that keeps you agile and poised to capture unforeseen opportunities, vital in a rapidly-changing IT environment.
2. Fact-based decision making.
Optimism is an admirable trait, especially in a highly competitive business climate and the current volatile international economy, but realism produces better results. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
An IT infrastructure assessment is your reality check. It’s simply a form of systems analysis, designed to look at the complete picture. When you have more than just surface details, everyone on your team is able to make smarter, more-timely decisions. Anything less – including relying on anecdotal information, intuition or “educated guesses” -- puts your competitiveness and profitability at risk.
Of particular note: comprehensive, regular assessment helps you uncover potentially-hidden factors that affect your IT total cost of ownership.
3. Team cohesiveness.
Your IT professionals may seem to speak a different language than the rest of your company, but IT is the group that translates enterprise functionality requirements into the “language” of hardware and software that everyone can see and use. They’re the team that ensures solutions you choose actually address key problems and provide desired opportunities.
The process of IT infrastructure assessment – assuming you base it on broad-based participation – helps IT and non-technical staff get to know and understand one another better. It makes everyone part of the solution. Savvy executives know that employees who can clearly see the big picture and understand their role in accomplishing company goals are far more engaged, motivated…..and productive.
Bringing people together directs maximum brainpower, which produces stronger, more creative results. The process teaches individuals to work together in a more interactive way that encourages sharing ideas as well as expertise. Your team will develop a stronger sense of cohesiveness even if they’re spread all the way around the globe.
An IT infrastructure assessment enables you to learn more about the effectiveness of your IT infrastructure services, so you can drive continuous improvement. And that benefits stakeholders and operations alike.