Organizations that have a firefighting approach to IT instead of a proactive one usually don’t have any sort of IT plan in place. Fires pop up and they are doused but there is no long range planning to prevent these fires from coming up in the first place.
The way to aggressively tackle this challenge is to develop a forward looking IT plan for the next 3-4 years. When it comes to technology, planning more than a year in advance can sometimes be a challenge but you should still be able to map out the big things.
Don't Forget to Include These Things in Your IT Plan
- Server(s) life and replacement
- Email – hosting onsite or migrating to the cloud
- Security plan – how your business is being protected from external threats
- User support – what users should do on a day-to-day basis when they face issues
- Proactive monitoring, management and maintenance – what is being done on a week-to-week basis to prevent issues
- Computer inventory and replacement cycle for next four years
- Line of Business applications upgrade path
- Mobile device management (BYOD or company-owned)
- Firewall and other network device software renewals and replacement plan
- Backup, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
The first step is to decide on these elements and get them written down. Now you have a game plan for your IT that will help you avoid big surprises and allow you to deal proactively with your technology to prevent issues.
When you do this, you should know you will be ahead of many small and medium-sized businesses, including some of your competitors!
However, just having a plan in it of itself isn’t going to do much for you. You need to work with your IT partner to implement that plan. Here’s the methodology we recommend for that.
How to Ensure Your IT Plan is Implemented
Your plan should be developed by your IT partner with your involvement, discussion and approval. Then you should insist on meeting on a quarterly basis (either in person or by phone) to ensure progress is being made and important milestones are getting hit.
There should be full transparency about the state of your IT that you can see from an executive level and evaluate the effectiveness of your approach. You should also be receiving monthly reports to further improve that accountability and transparency.
The other parts of your business have a plan and a budget. IT should be treated the same way and you'll see the results!
If you need help puting together your IT plan, give us a call or click the link below for a free network audit and IT plan.