An Information Technology Plan Benefits You
An Information Technology Plan for your business can protect your investment, reduce unexpected expenses, and keep your systems operating at their best. With an Information Technology Plan in place, you can consider the capabilities and benefits you want to get from your technology investment with a cool head. If you try to make decisions about information technology during a moment when, for instance, your server has failed or your security is breached–moments known as ‘when your hair is on fire’–you’re likely to spend more and get less long-term value.
An Information Technology Plan helps create an accurate budget for the future, gives you time to choose the right solution for each issue, and reduces downtime. To begin creating your Technology Plan, you start with knowing where you are now.
Take Stock of the Present
Knowing the state of the technology you already own, and its condition, is the first step. If you put this profile information in a spreadsheet, you can just update it in future years. For your server, keep the following information in your profile:
- The model and age of the equipment
- The amount of disk space you have left
- The status of your anti-virus software, making sure it’s up-to-date
- A list of the operating system and programs loaded on your server and information about their licenses, making sure they’re current and noting when renewal is needed
- What firewall you are using including whether it is a physical device or a software firewall
- A check of your firewall and anti-virus logs to make sure you know what’s going on there
- Specifics about your current backup solution and procedures
For your workstations, you’ll want to record:
- The model and age of the equipment
- The operating systems your workstations are running
- If there’s anti-virus software on the workstations, note whether it’s current and the renewal date
- Available disk space
Take Stock of Your Concerns
A very important part of developing an Information Technology Plan is noticing what is frustrating you and what is worrying you.
If you’re frustrated, it’s often about reduced productivity. Since IT is a tool for enhancing productivity, your frustrations are an important part of the analysis.
Notice what is challenging your, your co-workers’ and your office’s productivity:
- Are there significant delays when you open or save a file?
- Do users get “dropped” from the network or internet?
- Are you losing employee work time to social media sites?
- Do you have to enter the same information in more than one place?
- Do outside employees complain because they don’t have access to necessary data when they are not in the office?
- Have you lost data or files in the last year and had to re-enter that information?
- Does your staff have the information they need to: get their jobs done? Make the sales? Keep the customer relationships thriving?
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, what is worrying you? Anything that you are worrying about is a flag that something needs to be looked at. Here are some questions to help you get to the issues behind the worry. There are many other possibilities.
- Did you lose some data last year?
- Is your network slowing down?
- Was your server “down” on multiple occasions?
- Do your workstations seem to constantly need repair?
- Do you wonder if your backup process is including all the necessary files?
- Have you ever tested the backup by actually recovering files?
- Is your server running out of room?
- Are you seeing strange error messages?
Once your current situation is clearly understood and you have identified areas of concern, you are ready for the next step.
We’ll talk about the future and your IT and how to continue with the next steps for creating an Information Technology Plan for your business.
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Alesa Locklear provides content marketing, such as blogs and e-newsletters, to companies wanting to stay in touch with prospects and customers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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