Summer is winding down, which means your planning and budgeting process for 2024 will kick off soon. When it comes to your information technology, knowing where you are today is just as important as knowing where you want to go tomorrow. That means you need an accurate assessment of your current infrastructure. An infrastructure assessment is a critical prerequisite to a high-quality plan and budget.
An IT infrastructure assessment should be an annual event. In addition to helping determine what needs to be done in the upcoming year, the results should be compared year-over-year to determine trendlines and measure progress.
Start With Your Strategic Goals
The first step is to review your company’s strategic goals. Your IT strategy should be developed around these company goals. It may seem obvious, but if you are investing in technology that isn’t helping your company achieve its strategic goals, it’s not a good investment. Whether your goal for 2024 is to rapidly expand or to improve customer satisfaction, aligning your IT strategy around those goals is critical to ensure success.
Focus On Pain Points
Once you know your strategic goals, assess how your current IT services are helping achieve those goals. Talk with employees about their satisfaction with the IT services they use. Begin with the basic services like email, phones, data storage, and audiovisual. Then dive into other applications tied to specific job roles. Ask employees if the current IT environment will enable them to achieve the company’s strategic goals. If they are already struggling with a pain point today, that’s going to need to be addressed before next year’s goals can be achieved.
Review Your Software Landscape
Chances are you’ll learn employees are currently using many more apps to get their jobs done than you knew about. That will require more investigation. Are these applications safe to use? Are they supported? How do they integrate and interact with other applications the business relies on? If you prohibit employees from using these non-supported apps, what will they use instead? As more applications move to the cloud, you need to keep track of more details. Do these services use the latest security methods? Where is the data stored? Who owns the data? Can the data easily be exported when moving to a different solution?
Review Your Hardware Infrastructure
While most applications are moving to the cloud, you likely have some applications that still work best on on-premises hardware. You’ll want to assess that hardware to ensure it is up-to-date, properly configured, and has the ability to support your 2024 goals. If critical software has a major upgrade planned for 2024, that might be the right time for a hardware upgrade as well. You’ll also want to look at your network infrastructure. With changes in software, data usage, and employee locations, reconfiguring the network topology can be a great way to increase performance and security without necessarily buying new hardware.
Review Your Security and Disaster Recovery Plans
Although rarely included in a list of strategic goals for the upcoming year, “stay in business” is the universal unwritten top priority. That means you’ll want to review your current security measures and determine where to invest in 2024 to ensure you continue to protect your business against threats. Similarly, you’ll want to review your disaster recovery plan and ensure that when there is a crisis, you can rapidly react and maintain business continuity.
Prioritize and Plan
Once you’ve assessed these areas, you’ll need to create a list of IT spending that you can bring into your budgeting and planning process. Unless you are one of the rare companies that have unlimited IT budgets, you won’t be able to fund everything, so prioritization is critical. In addition to knowing what needs to be done, you’ll also need to know how much it will cost to implement those plans, so make sure you have trustworthy estimates based on real-world experience.