The Case for IT Assessment
IT assessment should be the first step towards understanding your current state of technology and prepare your organization for future needs and growth. Some of the basic questions that need to be answered regarding the infrastructure of your company are as follows:
- What is the status of technical documentation?
- How many sources/versions of documents are there?
- Are the business process and procedures documented?
- Are the network topology diagrams current, if available?
- Does the company have a Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan?
- When was the last data security audit performed?
The answers to these questions will lead to a broader understanding towards quantitative as well as qualitative nature of the information. A simple 3-step process will help you to handle your IT infrastructure.
Our Step-By-Step Approach
Step 1: Current State Assessment
The goal of this phase is to compile a complete set of information relating to the current “AS-IS” status of the Information Technology department. The compilation process should include:
- Identification, collection, and analysis of all current IT documentation
- Creation of any required artifacts not initially available from current IT documentation
This review process must be comprehensive enough to enable a solid baseline in order to build an accurate roadmap that includes all recommended improvements with associated benefits/ROI.
Step 2: Future State Assessment
The goal of this phase is to build the information technology capabilities that will be required to support the business vision, strategies and goals. The “Future-State” review will examine each of the elements identified in the “AS-IS” assessment. We will focus on:
- Establishing clarity of Business Vision (BV)
- Identify IT processes required to support the BV
- Identify IT technologies required to support the BV
- Identify best practices benchmarks for IT
Key questions answered during this phase are focused on Business and IT vision alignment. During our process some of the queries will be:
- Is the business vision clearly understood by IT leadership?
- What IT services should remain internally managed by IT and what could be outsourced?
- Do opportunities exist to expedite improvements to lower costs, improve service, or both?
- Does a clear view of the current business “pain points” exist?
- What is the level of IT’s understanding of the business model, process, and services?
Step 3: GAP Analysis / Roadmap
After completing the “Current State” and “Future State” assessments, the next phase of the methodology involves comparing each of the components and clearly identifying the gap that exists between each assessment. Several critical questions are analyzed during this phase of the process. These include:
- Does each gap identified have a proposed resolution – people, process, and/or technology solution?
- Does each solution have a defined ROI or business metric impact?
- Are “low hanging fruit” solutions identified to gain quick business returns, build momentum, and increase IT staff engagement?
- What are the key dependencies of the changes being proposed?
- Are any technology solutions being proposed “early stage” in terms of maturity?
- What opportunities exist to increase IT’s business focus and decrease IT’s technical focus?
A clear linkage to the Business Vision is essential and the pace of change needs to be in complete alignment with the IT and organizational ability to adopt. This three-phase assessment process will produce the asphalt necessary to fill in the potholes left behind by the freeze and thaw on that long road to success.