Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review your Technology

The technology age is upon us.  New gadgets, devices, and systems are being born every second. New technology can improve efficiency, lower costs, and enhance productivity. It can be hard to keep up and determine the right systems for your business.  A technology audit is a tool that can help.  This audit reviews your current tools, systems, and processes which provides the information to evaluate new investment decisions.

Audit Team
A team effort is needed to get well-rounded opinions.  Typical participants include staff from operations, information technology, or system consultants. There are also companies you can hire if you desire more structured guidance.  

Take stock of what you have. Look at all software, hardware, system contracts such as annual registration fees.  Items reviewed generally include computers, servers, CRM, ERP, phones, email and any software used to help make your business run.  Having a complete list of what you are using provides the foundation for the audit.

Properly evaluating your current systems is the critical step of the audit.  A clear agreement on what are the business needs and goals is a must.  This sets the bar for how your team will evaluate your technology, not simply by is it working but is it the right tool to get you where you want to be. Aspects of the evaluation include pros, cons, cost to maintain or upgrade. 

Now the team explores the other technology tools. You might require outside assistance in this area since we don't know what we don't know. Evaluate these new tools by applying the same criteria, if they will help you reach your goals, pros, cons and costs. A tip when looking at new tools is to ask for customer referrals. You will obtain first hand feedback of how the tool was implemented, what oversights could have occurred and see if the tool is performing based on expectations. 

The data is collected. It is time to crunched the numbers, review pros and cons, and for the team to come to conclusion. The final product is generally a change plan. This plan maps out targeted investments or shifts in current technology. This plan can be presented for budget approval and then implemented.

Technology audits are useful in evaluating your current tools and if they will get you where you want to be. Have you been through a technology audit? Please share any tips below.