Chris Barr, Technical Director at CT, tells us why companies should consider a strategic IT review to facilitate growth and shares his top ten considerations
With business now in full swing in 2019, many mid-market organisations will be looking at the effectiveness of their business applications and the resilience and security of their IT infrastructure.
Most reviews of an IT environment are initiated in response to some sort of compelling event, such as a systems outage, a data breach, concerns over personnel, or issues with an incumbent supplier. However, with the reliance most organisations have on IT, it’s best to pre-empt issues and ensure the IT infrastructure has the right foundations to facilitate future growth and allow for a robust cybersecurity resilience strategy.
Our reviews involve spending time with the business managers and other key stakeholders in the first instance to understand what they are looking to achieve, and the current systems and key applications they have in place that may be holding them back.
We then carry out a technical assessment of the IT infrastructure against our standards which are built from our recommendations, industry best practice and guidance from bodies such as the ICO.
The scope of our in-depth review covers three key areas: Findings, Risk Analysis and Recommendations. This is presented in a format that allows organisations to see their current positioning, highlighting danger areas, areas for improvement and areas where their IT infrastructure aligns with their business plans. We then work together to agree priorities to enhance and protect business processes.
Thinking of an IT review? Here are our ten key factors every organisation should take into consideration.
- Strategy – it is key that any review starts by understanding your organisation’s objectives. It is impossible to align a technology strategy to an organisation without first having understood in detail their overall business goals and how that organisation is hoping to achieve them.
- Cost – a review is typically chargeable. If the work is being given away for free or heavily discounted, it is probably not going to offer the level of detail you need.
- Independence – for a review to be most valuable in the business world, it needs to be genuinely independent. It is important that the best interests of the customer are firmly at the forefront of the consultant’s mind.
- Format – is the Strategic IT Review going to be delivered back to you in the right format for you? Do you really need a long, wordy report document? Agree the right format for you to spend your time efficiently and really understand the output.
- Board – it is key that such a review has Board involvement and sponsorship from the outset. This means that the results / recommendations will be aligned to your business goals.
- Method – how will the review be conducted? Will it be on-site or remotely undertaken, or a combination of the two? How much time will be required of personnel in your organisation, and for what?
- Interviews – for a review to have most impact, it will need to involve some one-to-one interviews with users of the IT, along with where relevant, some focus groups. This helps understand what users most need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.
- Information – what supporting information will you be provided with? Have a good understanding of additional information on the existing IT environment you will be provided with.
- Timescale – how long will a review take, and what are the contingencies involved in its preparation? Is there, for example, information required from third parties, such as existing suppliers of IT services?
- Follow Up – what is the feedback loop process, and the ongoing management of the engagement with your organisation to ensure the recommendations are successfully implemented?
If you would like to find out more about the consultancy-led IT strategic reviews here at CT, please get in touch with the team:
Central Technology Ltd
Tel: 01246 01246 266 130
LinkedIn: CT Ltd