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Updated by Charles Bystock on 12/10/2013

IT Infrastructure AssessmentThe best defense is a good offense. You don’t have to be a football fan to understand how true that statement is. Proactive, insightful business management is your single greatest weapon when it comes to conquering the competition and growing your enterprise. And IT infrastructure assessment is one of your most important tools when it comes to uncovering risks that could sideline your company.

The entire assessment process is an act of risk identification and mitigation. You’re looking for areas of vulnerability so you can fill those gaps or retool to bridge them. Concurrently, you’re pinpointing strengths you may want to further augment.

Assessment is a form of insurance, since you’re making sure you have the right IT infrastructure, systems and personnel in place to facilitate peak corporate performance. With that foundation, you can be confident you’re also capable of capturing unforeseen opportunities and handling the inevitable fluctuations and uncertainty that define today’s global marketplace.

Key steps to successful IT infrastructure assessment.

You know your internal IT systems like the back of your hand, so identifying gaps or potential problems should be a snap, right? Unfortunately, no. Assessment has value only if it’s exhaustive, so you have to approach it systematically.

Create a chart showing all IT functions -- services and costs -- by department. A chart makes a good visual to see big picture as well as department-by-department details. It’s also easier to spot issues that may not be readily apparent as you go about your daily business.

Delve deeply, to uncover every direct and indirect cost. That’s the only way you can accurately ascertain your total cost of ownership. You need that for business planning, but it’s vital to compare potential IT alternatives you may be considering.

Assessment sets a baseline, but it’s an ongoing process. Business goals and objectives evolve or can change dramatically over time, and IT has to move in tandem with those fluctuations, because disparity could hamper your ability to maintain productivity or achieve your goals.

Risk isn’t only about preparing for worst-case disasters.

Your IT infrastructure assessment can help identify threats to physical assets, data, financial resources and overall corporate agility. You’re also looking for the hidden costs of poor performance, whether human, equipment-based or procedural.

Solutions that minimize risk assure your flexibility to ramp up quickly or cut back when necessary. They protect the security and integrity of your data and mission-critical functions. And they can boost your disaster recovery response while driving down the cost of preparedness.

Get professional help to make the most of your assessment.

Technology underlies every aspect of your day-to-day operations. You’re so familiar with your system’s little glitches or other foibles, you’ve probably become inured to them. That makes it dangerously easy to overlook real risks, chalking them up to “that’s just the way it is, nothing’s perfect.”

A savvy IT outsourcing consultant can bring an unbiased, fresh perspective to your IT infrastructure assessment. Third-party eyes assure that you miss nothing. Plus, your consultant can help you better understand the magnitude of potential problems and bring your attention to alternative solutions.

IT infrastructure consultants are well-practiced in helping companies like yours examine their current systems and costs. They can help you get the work done quickly but thoroughly. And they can advise you about risks other clients have discovered that could be relevant for your operation, too. Those are valuable tips your competition certainly isn’t going to pass along.

Everything about your enterprise – your ability to cope and grow, your very existence --  depends on healthy IT systems. So perhaps you should think of an IT infrastructure assessment as preventive medicine. Without assessment you don’t truly know where you stand, and that could set you up for a nasty surprise.

Instead, using an IT infrastructure assessment to discover risks allows you to strengthen your technology underpinnings, improving your business planning and development across the board.