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  • Writer's pictureJohn Bentley

10 Ways an Independent IT Infrastructure Assessment Can Save Your Bacon

Updated: Aug 6, 2018

Before we get going we’ve got to make sure we’re on the same page. By “independent IT infrastructure assessment” I mean that someone from outside your organization comes into your business, looks at all your IT infrastructure (computers, networks, WiFi, wiring, wiring closets, battery backups, patch panels, service providers, security policies, etc.), takes tons of pictures, asks tons of questions, and provides a written report of their findings. Their report will highlight areas where your infrastructure either doesn’t measure up to industry best practices or doesn’t adequately support the current or near-future needs of the business.

OK, on the same page? Good to go? Then here are 10 ways such a review can save your bacon:

  1. Validation! You know you’ve got problems. You keep asking for the money to fix them. But for whatever reason you don’t have the budget to do it yet and you need to convince upper management that it’s a priority. Hiring someone from outside your organization to perform an infrastructure assessment can give you the credibility boost you’ve been needing. Not only can their report convince upper management of the need, it can also provide them convincing evidence that you know what you’re talking about and therefore increase your credibility.

  2. New Job! You’ve just been hired as the new President, CIO, IT Director, COO, CFO, Controller, CEO, VP, Plant Manager, General Manager, Foreman, or whatever title that, in your organization, gives you direct or indirect responsibility for IT. You may have no idea what your priorities should be. Is everything up to snuff? Are you in for a complete rip-and-replace? Or are things generally good with maybe a few areas that will need attention sooner than others? During your hiring and/or onboarding process you may have learned about where the company is headed but you may not have learned about all the challenges in getting there. An independent assessment can help you get a handle on the situation much quicker than doing all that legwork yourself. It can also give you a much more objective viewpoint than asking for that same assessment only from someone within the organization.

  3. Recent Acquisition! Maybe you just bought a company, or your company just acquired another company. Or maybe you’ve just been brought onto to the merger team. If you just assume the new company’s IT infrastructure is where it needs to be you could be building on a shaky foundation that could crumble and leave you to pick up the pieces. You should never, never, never, assume their infrastructure will meet the demands of the merger. The only sure bet is an independent assessment. This is just basic due diligence.

  4. Considering An Acquisition! Speaking of due diligence, assessing a company’s IT infrastructure before purchasing is a smart thing to put on your list. IT infrastructure can not only be costly in terms of installation, it can cost significantly more in terms of business interruption. Business can be interrupted due to production shutdowns, sales interruptions, service desk issues, and payroll challenges to name just a few. If the business you’re considering buying has an aging or inadequate IT infrastructure, that can have huge implications on the bottom line of that company and on the merger itself. Money spent on an independent IT infrastructure assessment can be some of the best-spent dollars of your discovery process.

  5. Growth! You just got the news that your plant will be installing a new production line, or be expected to inventory product with wireless scanners. Or maybe you’re expanding your facilities to accommodate your growing business. But can your current IT infrastructure handle the expansion? An independent assessment can give you the confidence you need moving forward.

  6. Lack of Trust! This one is tough but you may just not trust your current IT staff. They’re telling you one thing but your gut is telling you that you’d be wise to get a second opinion. If IT is not your area of expertise then it’s hard to know if what they’re telling you is valid, or even just “best”. Maybe you’re a small business and your IT people are homegrown and only do IT in their spare time. Or maybe you suspect your IT house needs a good cleaning. Could be that you suspect they have tunnel vision and you can’t get them to consider the bigger picture. At any rate, an independent assessment can give you tremendous insights into whether your suspicions should be listened to or not.

  7. You’re Clueless! You may find yourself in a situation where you feel completely out of your depth and you just need some help getting started. Using an independent assessment can be an extremely useful tool to help you get your footing. The person doing the assessment will either have many years of IT experience and very likely also do high level consulting, or they’ll have been trained to do the assessment and have access to people with years of experience. Use them! Read the report in their presence, debrief them, ask questions that go beyond the report and leverage your time with them. They might just be able to help you well beyond their written report.

  8. You’re overwhelmed! Things have just gotten too busy and you can’t get it all done. You may be perfectly capable of doing an assessment yourself and may not even feel like you’d benefit from an independent assessment over an internal assessment. But the fact is, if you don’t hire it to get done, it just won’t. If you’re convinced that it needs to be done then sometimes a simple hire will get it off your must-get-done list quickly and efficiently.

  9. Major outage! You just came through a major outage of some kind and you need answers so it never happens again. If this topic gets your attention then this outage is probably not the first of its kind; it probably seems more like a systemic issue rather than just a freak occurrence that no one could have predicted. Well, your instincts are good. Most outages are the result of infrastructure problems. The best infrastructure just fades into the background and quietly does its job without drawing attention. So when your IT infrastructure is drawing unwanted attention you should do your best to determine the reason. Since the same kind of thinking as you’ve always used will result in the same kind of results you’ve always gotten, you should consider using an independent assessment to shed new light on previously unseen issues that can manifest themselves as major outages.

  10. Firefighters in the building?! So, your IT team spends most of their time putting out fires. Just like the proverbial boiled frog, this is often hard to spot until the problem seems out of control. This is one of the most common symptoms of infrastructure problems and one that can sap your entire business of productivity and profitability. If this describes your environment then you should definitely consider an independent infrastructure assessment as soon as possible.

Regardless of the reason you’re considering an independent assessment you’ll get the most out of the assessment by providing clear expectations to the person doing the assessment. If you want to know if your network can handle the new inventory system you’re considering then explain to them you’ll be looking for that in their report. In cases where you are looking for an assessment of the people as much as you are the other components of the infrastructure, give them a heads up. If you want a verbal report on the people and a written report on everything else, make sure they know so they can be prepared.

Contact ProbityTec today to schedule your independent IT infrastructure assessment.

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