5 Critical Steps to Include in Your IT Infrastructure Assessment

IT infrastructure assessment
by Ryan Alleman     Friday, June 15th, 2018.

Technology isn’t the same, and neither are tech costs.

IT has assumed a more prominent role in enterprise, using practices like IT infrastructure assessment to stay competitive. As a result, IT infrastructure impacts a company on multiple levels, including hardware, software, and security. And with the average employee spending 30 minutes/week fixing computer problems (or helping co-workers), IT infrastructure is also essential to overall productivity.

A growing business relies on its technology. Businesses can’t solve today’s problems and create new products while using yesterday’s equipment. But because technology is an expensive investment, it requires an intelligent approach. So when it comes to trimming costs and streamlining processes, business technology officers turn to IT infrastructure assessments. An infrastructure assessment helps you decide whether you’re getting your money’s worth from your technology. It’s a strategic approach to technology that is often the key to controlling costs while maintaining performance standards.

Upgrading tech is expensive, but so’s the alternative.

All technology comes with an expiration date. For desktops, it’s every three to four years. Smartphones typically only last a year. For servers, it’s about three years.

Perhaps the technology simply breaks down. Or maybe its provider no longer offers support for that model. Or the tech can no longer run the latest version of your mission-critical applications. Perhaps it’s causing downtime that’s giving you a bad reputation and driving off customers. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important to know when a technology has crossed the threshold from asset to liability.

Too many enterprises wait too long to make this determination. That’s why 80 percent of IT budgets are not directly contributing to growing business or driving a competition advantage. No—it’s spent merely keeping the lights on, dealing with technology problems as they pop up. Periodic IT infrastructure assessments prevent this from happening to you.

Steps to take with your IT infrastructure assessment.

How do you approach a possible IT infrastructure refresh? It’s an ongoing process, with various components requiring a refresh at different times. Here are a few ways to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your assessment and equipment:

#1. Define your tech needs.

Before looking at your existing system, or potential replacement components, take the time to look at what your company needs. What does it take to keep customers and employees happy? And what tech gives you (or would give you) a competitive edge. This theoretical framework helps you establish a basic standard you can use to determine whether your existing infrastructure is satisfactory.

#2. Determine whether your network is getting the job done.

These days, any business requires a robust, business-class network. Do you have enough bandwidth? Is there any data lag, or problems with your storage or communications? If you’re employing updated cloud technology for these services, then your network capabilities play a big part. Tools like Jive View can help you identify any problems your network might have. If you have an eye on expanding, Jive View can also verify whether your network could handle a heavier data load.

#3. Identify what you’re lacking.

As you consider your current setup, you have to do so with a critical eye. Is your current infrastructure doing its job? Is it allowing you to remain competitive? Are employees satisfied and productive? If not, this is the opportunity to identify the specific gaps in your infrastructure. Pinpointing these deficiencies will help when it comes time to write a business proposal pitching technology purchases to a supervisor.

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#4. Evaluate TCO of new technology.

Too many IT departments only look at the direct costs of a technology purchase. But research has found that these costs only represent 20 percent of what you wind up paying for a technology solution. All the indirect costs (training, downtime, maintenance, etc.) typically go unbudgeted. Because of that, they become an unwelcome surprise later on that hurts your enterprise’s bottom line. The direct costs taken with the indirect costs yield what’s called the total cost of ownership (TCO). That cost, not the price tag, should be the starting point for any evaluation of the affordability of new technology.

#5. Make sure a disaster/redundancy plan is baked in.

Finally, what does your current infrastructure provide when it comes to backup and redundancy? If it’s older equipment, it might not have data duplication and virtual storage resources offered by current technologies. Consequently, as you consider potential replacement technologies, see what they offer in case of outages or disasters.

Know how tech turnover fits with your needs (and budget).

Ultimately, IT is a balancing act between hardware, software, services, security, and budget. Since it influences nearly every aspect of your business, your IT infrastructure assessment should become an ongoing process. Done right, an assessment can reduce your technology costs while scoring you distinct competitive advantages.

At Jive, we specialize in phone systems. Download our buyer’s guide to learn how to assess a modern phone system and potential providers.

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