Are your employees bugging you for a software upgrade? Are you thinking of retiring any of your current equipment? Are you planning to buy new hardware anytime soon? Don’t just dive right into it! First, take a long look in the mirror with a technology needs assessment. Your needs assessment must serve as the foundation of your company’s IT decisions.
A technology needs assessment is a systematic review of your organization’s IT requirements to address what it needs today and what it is expected to need based on the company’s growth plans.
To assess your company’s IT needs, follow these five steps:
#1. Analyze your workflow
Since technology should be supporting your business, your first step should be understanding how your staff does their work. Review their workflow and hear out their frustrations with it to identify any bottlenecks, gaps, inefficiencies, or recurring problems in the current workflow. Ask them how their ideal workflow setup looks like.
Don’t forget to think about the future, too. Ask yourself how your workflow will change to support your organization’s growth plans.
#2. Conduct an inventory and review of your existing technology
Get a snapshot of your IT landscape. Document all of the technologies that your company currently uses. Detail the age and condition of every piece of hardware. Record the software release version and any patches that have been applied.
Analyze your existing technology with the help of the staff by asking these questions:
- How do you use technology in your workflow?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the hardware and software that you use?
- How do these technologies affect the workflow problems that you’ve identified?
This step will reveal unnecessary duplication of hardware and areas where your technology is actually impeding productivity.
#3. Come up with recommendations
Gather the key employees in the organization, especially those who are familiar with the company’s future plans and growth projections. Together with them, determine which technologies you should update, replace, or retire. Identify which business processes will benefit from these changes.
Consider alternatives by asking the following questions:
- Can a simple change in your workflow solve your technology problems?
- Will it help to reallocate my IT to another team? (Perhaps your intern has a high-powered computer that can be better utilized by your creatives team.)
- Is training the right solution? (Maybe you already have the right software but your staff just doesn’t know how to maximize its functionality.)
Before finalizing your recommendations, assess the company’s resources by answering these questions:
- Is our budget enough?
- Will there be employee training for the new technology?
- Will there be maintenance and support for the new technology?
- Are the employees open to a change in technology?
By answering these questions, you will be able to prioritize your needs, streamline your budgets, and come up with an IT plan.
#4. Conduct your research
Once you’ve finalized your plan for the purchase of new equipment, research on the products you are considering. Don’t just get the most expensive or the newest model out there. Tap into the knowledge of IT professionals or the experiences of others by consulting online forums, review sites, and technology discussion groups.
#5. Set a schedule for routine technology needs assessment
Your technology needs assessment should not be a one-time affair. Since the business landscape keeps changing, make sure that the company conducts the assessment regularly to check if the company is on track with its goals.
The best practice is to ask a third-party IT expert to conduct the assessment for you. By hiring an outsider, they will be able to ask the right questions and have fewer preconceptions about your current workflow and technology. Your staff might also feel more comfortable airing out their frustrations to an impartial outsider than to a manager.
Red Key Solutions carries out technology assessment services complete with a strategy overview report, a 100+ Point Health Check to analyze your IT status and risks, a roadmap, and a comprehensive plan to evolve your technology. Contact us today to schedule your assessment.