The model(s) behind technology spending has been changing dramatically over the last several years with virtualization, consumer devices and “as a service” offerings complicating the procurement process. While they offer tremendous opportunities for astute technology consumers, there are also significant risk that the unprepared enterprise technology consumer may realize with insufficient information.
Add to this the increasing cybersecurity concerns, regulatory compliance regimens and staffing issues; even the largest firms are facing difficulty making informed decisions.
One of the questions I get from my small business clients is how can I perform technology audit to take stock of what it has, identify gaps, and create a plan for new tech purchases?
The first step would be to look at your enterprise strategic plan. What are your business goals for the next three years? What technologies would facilitate reaching those goals? Do you have technologies in house that fill that need currently? Can they be upgraded or configured to meet these objectives? If not, what technologies are available (Cloud or on-premise) to meet your objectives?
These very high level steps fall into the basic strategic planning process, governance and portfolio management.
For your technology gap analysis / audit, the key strategic planning stakeholders should be involved. In SMBs, this would be a handful of individuals who represent key lines of business and those responsible for technology and security.
Technology Procurement Checklist:
- What is our current technology state? What is our future state?
- Does the new technology align with a strategic initiative or business goal?
- What is the Total Cost of Ownership (external & internal costs)?
- What is the sourcing model (external, on-premise, lease, own, etc.)?
- Involve Legal and Procurement services early in process.
- Licensing, contracts, service level agreement reviews
- Support model (external and internal resources).
- Regulatory concerns
- Information security concerns
- End user and support training
- System retirement
Once again, these are some very high level points to guide you in the right direction. Making good technology decisions can be tough and even tougher when you are a smaller operation.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!