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What's The Nature Of A Good IT Assessment?

We often hear about organizations who call in a consulting firm or an outside expert to perform an “IT Assessment”, where the target audience is generally the CEO, President, or Board of Directors. In addition to checking the temperature of an organization’s IT operations and overall soundness, technology assessments are an important component of due diligence in mergers and acquisitions.

So, what does a “good” IT assessment consist of?

In my experience, a solid IT assessment results in:

  • A shared understanding of the key technology in use at the organization

  • Current capabilities of the technology

  • Stability of the technology

  • Ability to expand on the technology (or not)

  • Current costs to operate and support

  • Nature of the support, and its reliability

  • Relative dependency the organization has on the technology in use

  • Operational risks associated with the technology

  • Planned upgrades and projects

  • A thorough review of current staff and the organizational structure

  • Capabilities of the IT management team in place

  • Capabilities of the technical staff

  • Strengths and weaknesses of the organization and staff

  • Depth of the current staff

  • Who the key staff members are that drive success

  • Who the most likely staff members are to take a better position elsewhere

  • A thorough review of information security policies and practices

  • ​Tools and technologies in place to protect the organization from security incidents

  • Policies and procedures for information security incident response

  • Quality of staff supporting information security operations and strategy

  • Effectiveness of current information security awareness programs

  • An examination of

  • Vendor contracts - are they favorable or unfavorable?

  • Cost trends and capital improvement plans

  • Licensing and ownership of components

  • Investments needed to grow the business

  • Business continuity plans

  • Opportunities for growth and/or improvement

Of course, organizational culture also plays a significant role in an IT assessment. For example, whether the current IT organizational model in place is a “fit” for the type of company that it supports. Whether the IT staff are engaged with the mission and vision of the organization. And, perhaps most importantly, whether there is a meaningful and effective governance model in place to fully capitalize on the strategic benefits of technology.

If you’re struggling with an IT assessment, and need a clear roadmap to help your organization advance, contact me for further information and assistance.

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