An information technology assessment is essential to your business. The assessment evaluates the health of your entire infrastructure and finds bottlenecks that prevent productivity and inflates IT costs. As a best practice, it’s important to reference an IT assessment checklist periodically.
At its core, an IT assessment is essentially a physical for your business systems. It’s a thorough look at your infrastructure to see where you are, where you want to go, and the changes required to get there.
It is best practice to perform an IT assessment annually, after a system failure, or after a major change to ensure your systems are healthy. It also ensures that your IT plan is on track to achieve your business goals.
IT Assessment Checklist: What Should Be Included?
During a physical, the doctor doesn’t just hit you on the knee and send you on your way. They go through a checklist to look at each part of your body to get a feel for your overall health.
An IT assessment checklist template works the same way. You can’t just look at one system and say everything is fine. It takes an in-depth look into multiple facets of your IT infrastructure to determine overall health.
IT assessments include four primary elements:
Setting defined business goals
Current State Analysis
Future State Analysis
Use this IT assessment checklist to guide you through the proper assessment process.
1. Set Defined Business Goals
Before you start an IT assessment, it’s important to set goals. If you don’t know what you’re working towards, you won’t be able to identify the steps to get there.
Your business goals could be anything from having an MRR of $300,000 by 2025, being completely paperless by 2023, or making your data backup systems stronger. The more detailed you make your goals, the better.
2. Current State Analysis
A current state analysis is the first item on the information technology assessment checklist. It’s essentially a snapshot of your IT infrastructure as it exists now. This will be your foundation on which to build your IT roadmap.
Your current state analysis should include four main parts:
Existing IT Policies and Documentation
Compile all your existing IT policies and documentation and review them in detail. This will give you an idea of how the parts work together and help you identify inefficiencies.
Examples of areas to review include:
Acceptable use policies
Current Organizational Structure
Your IT infrastructure doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Analyze your business’s complete organizational structure, including the personnel. Consider the following elements:
Job positions and titles
Employee goals and objectives
Skills and qualifications
Training and skill growth
Your employees are the most important resource in your company. Understand their strengths and weaknesses and identify any inefficiencies or redundancies in the current system.
Internal processes are how the pieces of your company work together. Take a hard look at how your company functions, covering the following elements:
Disaster recovery plans
Time tracking and productivity management
All existing projects (active, inactive and future)
Analyzing the inner workings of your business technology is key to understanding the current state of your information technology.
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Finally, after you understand how the system functions, take inventory of the tools that power your business. Identify and analyze every piece of technology used in day-to-day operations:
Your operating system
Hardware and software
Access points management
Data center and data storage
List of all technological assets
Active vendors and third parties
Your existing technology assessment is like peeking into the toolbox. It gives you an idea of the instruments at your disposal and whether or not they function properly to achieve your goals.
3. Future State Analysis
The third part of IT assessment templates is to identify what you’ll need to achieve your business goals. This is known as a future state analysis.
Take the goals you created in the first step of the small business IT assessment checklist, and identify the employees, skills, internal processes, and technology required to make them happen.
For your future state analysis, consider any asset that will support your objectives, including:
Staff, skills, and experience
If you’re unsure about what you’ll need, look to competitors who have achieved similar goals. You might get some ideas you hadn’t originally thought of.
4. Gap Analysis
A gap analysis is a comparison between your current assets and what you’ll need in the future to avoid security threats and other common IT problems. When you identify a gap, create a plan to fill it. Be as detailed as possible:
Propose an exact resolution
Outline the expenses
Include a timeline to completion
Identify any steps required to reach the goal
Your gap analysis will act as an IT roadmap between where you are and where you want to go.
Before implementing any action, ensure the ends justify the means. If a plan doesn’t provide enough value, it’s not worth the time and money.
Interested in learning more? Check out these blogs:
- Benefits of IT Outsourcing
- How Much Do Managed IT Services Cost?
- Maximizing Cloud Relationships with Your MSP
- Information Security Policy Template
- 21 Security Issues in Cloud Computing
- 7 Benefits of IT Support
How to Determine Business Value
Business value is comparing the cost of your current situation to the cost of the resolution. If the resolution is lower, it has business value. If the resolution is more expensive than your current situation, it’s not worth it.
Imagine you were looking for a data backup to shorten recovery times. Every time your system crashes, it takes a week to get back online. You consult an IT specialist, and he says it costs $1.5 million to solve the problem.
That might sound expensive, but If you’re a billion-dollar company, downtime could cost over $100,000 per hour. If the solution saves you even a day of downtime, it will pay for itself. The solution would have business value.
For a smaller company, an hour of downtime might only cost $10,000. In that instance, the same $1.5 million solution that had business value for the larger company suddenly isn’t worth it.
But, if they do the same math, a $150,000 solution would be worth it. Now they have a budget they can use to identify a cost-effective solution.
IT Assessments and Audit Support
Assessments performed in accordance with a technology assessment checklist are the best way to get an idea of your business’s IT health. They help you analyze your current situation, identify what you’ll need to achieve your goals, and develop a plan to bridge the gap.