Taking a step back to look at your technology infrastructure and what’s serving you well or what needs to be updated can make a significant difference in how well your business operates in the new year.
The technology that offices use is now such a major piece of every facet of their business that doing a new year technology assessment is really more like doing an assessment of your entire company operations.
In a study commissioned by Google, it was found that 80% of small businesses aren’t taking full advantage of digital tools for running their company. This leaves many at a disadvantage and can hold them back from growing and meeting new customer demands.
When doing I.T. consulting for clients, we often find that just a few software tools can make all the difference when it comes to productivity and the ability to do more for less cost.
But unless a business owner takes the time to do a full assessment of how they’re using their tech, improvement areas can be left untapped and inefficiencies, like using two different applications that do the same thing, can crop up.
Small businesses that use technology effectively earned 2x as much revenue per employee.
The beginning of the year is an excellent time to undertake a technology review and prepare your company to be as optimized as possible in the year to come.
Tips for Conducting a Fruitful Technology Assessment
There are several different areas of your technology infrastructure that it can seem overwhelming at first to conduct a thorough review. But if you break them all down into different areas and do them one at a time, it’s more manageable.
Following are tips for conducting a successful technology assessment and the areas to consider when reviewing your processes and technological assets.
Review Applications (Local & Cloud)
In today’s cloud-based environment, it can be easy to add one app here, and another one there, until you’re using multiple cloud subscriptions, some of which may be redundant.
In a review of the software applications that your company uses, you’ll want to take a look at the following that your employees are using:
- Local software (non-cloud)
- Cloud application subscription
- Mobile apps
Review the capabilities of each, how well they integrate to enable automation, and, perhaps most importantly, what your employees say about working with them.
Ask questions like:
- Is this application serving our needs well?
- Is it easy to learn and to work with?
- Can we integrate this app with others in our workflow?
- Does this app do things that can be done by another app we use?
- What do we wish that this app could do, that it’s not doing now?
This is also a good time to see if there are any other applications out there that might serve you better than the ones you’re using. Perhaps schedule some free trials to try out some competitor apps on the market
Your goals for an application review will be to:
- Reduce redundancies
- Improve your operational processes by choosing/upgrading the best tools
- Reduce costs where possible
- Ensure a streamlined software infrastructure by choosing tools that integrate
- Get your employees the best apps to assist them with their daily workflow
The main factor that leads to 64% of I.T. budget increases for companies is the need to upgrade outdated infrastructure. Knowing well ahead of time which hardware you’ll need to replace or have serviced through a managed services plan can help you control costs in the new year.
By taking time to review your hardware, you can more easily upgrade before a hard drive or server crash occurs. It will also give you the opportunity to budget costs out over the year and create a strategic upgrade plan, rather than getting caught with a breakdown out of the blue and having to scramble to get it addressed to avoid extended downtime.
Make a list of all your hardware and the operating system each uses (where pertinent), include equipment such as:
- Desktop computers
- Projectors or other AV equipment
- Routers and networking equipment
- Office phone systems
You’ll want to look for things like:
- The age of the equipment
- Whether or not the user is having trouble with it
- What operating system it’s using (and if it’s going to be unsupported soon)
- Whether the hardware is having trouble integrating with newer equipment
Review I.T. Security
The security of your I.T. infrastructure encompasses both hardware and software and is vital to the well-being of a business. Just one data breach or ransomware attack can cause days of downtime, costing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It’s a good idea to have a security assessment done during your review that can give you a list of any vulnerable areas with recommendations on how to address them.
You should also look at system monitoring options through I.T. plans that will ensure you’re protected and will be alerted should anything threaten your network and data security so it can be addressed before a breach happens.
Some of the areas you’ll want to review when looking at your cybersecurity defense strategy are:
- Firewalls and endpoint protection
- Antivirus/anti-malware applications
- Anti-phishing and spam applications
- Employee security awareness training
- Mobile device security
- Backup & recovery plans
- Password & credential security
Work with Texas I.T. Pros for a Successful Technology Review
Technology is always evolving, and a new year technology review can ensure your company isn’t left behind. Texas I.T. Pros can help you optimize your use of technology, look for areas of cost savings, and help you identify new opportunities for doing things better.
Contact us today to schedule your new year technology review. Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.