Periodic audits of your IT ecosystem are essential to ensuring optimal health of your IT assets and to ensure that everything remains up-to-date and running smoothly. Why not capitalize on the spring-cleaning bug that hits so many of us this time of year and schedule your next IT audit now! Open your windows, clean your curtains, and take stock of your IT assets, subscriptions, vendor agreements and data integrity.
Spring cleaning is something of a tradition this time of year. It’s an opportunity to dust off the remnants of winter and revitalize your home for a new year. If you’re like me, you use spring as a catalyst to tackle the big cleaning projects and breathe new life into the household. There’s something about the scent of fresh air and a newly cleansed and reorganized home that I find deeply relaxing.
The same is true for your business. Like our homes, our work organizations gather clutter over time and need periodic cleanings. Here are a few key tasks you should consider to air out and refresh your IT Ecosystem this spring.
Audit, refresh, and update your IT assets
IT assets get dated and musty over time. Hardware gets steadily inefficient. Notebooks become sluggish. Web conferencing technology no longer impresses the client. Drivers get forgotten and security patches remain unapplied.
If you’ve been meaning to do a refreshed audit of the components in your IT Ecosystem – now’s the time. Tools like ManageEngine, AssetExplorer, and ServiceNow allow organizations to identify and track IT assets including asset depreciation, software license tracking, life cycle management, IT asset inventory management etc. They also allow you to track the status of a system’s patch updates, important IT documents, and the last time that notebook was brought in to connect to the office’s LAN for example.
Review and refresh your vendor agreements and subscriptions
I frequently advise my clients to pick a set time during the year (usually aligned with budget reviews) to review all active vendor agreements and IT subscriptions with an eye to cleaning out the IT pantry.
I’m frequently amazed by how many organizations have duplication in procured licenses and services (or are paying for unneeded things) simply because it’s been a while since anyone took a hard look at what’s sitting in the bottom of the IT freezer.
Often these agreements are only really reconsidered when they’re up for renewal and no one at the time has the cycles to review them properly so they’re renewed as-is. Most organizations can save a decent amount of operating budget by putting aside time each year to consolidate their subscriptions and re-negotiate their agreements.
Check on your data’s well being
How solid is your data’s integrity? Are your data backups recent and secure? Has some data duplication snuck in when you weren’t looking? Are people using the corporate data stores for their work rather than their local drives?
As any good data architect knows, the data management plan starts to lose cohesion before the ink has dried. Effective data management and data governance requires periodic reviews of the organization’s data strategy to account for changes in the business’ priorities, shifts in technology, and the detrimental impact of new people and new processes into the mix. Pull the metaphorical “data oven” away from the wall and clean up the gunk you uncover (often while wondering how it could have gotten so bad so quickly).
Periodic cleaning is essential to maintain the health of an organization’s IT Ecosystem. Doing it annually and during a consistent time period, like spring, helps ingrain the practice into culture and usually provides key inputs into important business activities (like budget reviews).
Stratford has helped many organizations establish a regular cadence for implementing best practices to refresh and revitalize their IT Ecosystems. We have established methods for injecting operational maturity into your business and we’d be happy to help you make sense of the clutter that’s blocking your view.
If you’d like to learn more about our Strategic IT services, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About AJ Harris
A senior technology executive with over two decades of accomplishments in digital strategy development and large-scale solution delivery, AJ Harris has distilled his extensive experience into best practices and leadership insights that have won awards at a national level.
AJ has successfully designed, staffed, and implemented value-based, business-driven technology solutions in a number of different industries across six continents.
He specializes in designing and applying Digital Strategies for visionary companies, ensuring successful implementation of large-scale IT programs, and maturing IT & Professional Services organizations.