When purchasing a resale home you would (or should) get a home inspection done before signing on the dotted line. This allows you to be fully prepared for what lays ahead and gives you the opportunity to budget and plan any major changes or repairs that need to get done and will help you decide if you want to invest in such a large purchase or take a pass because you know it’s out of your depth to take on.
Similarly when you are a business owner and you are being pitched by any service provider, especially IT, you should insist that the vendor take a deeper look under the hood to know what they are going to work with. In the IT world this is done through a network audit.
If an IT company agrees to provide support to your organization without first performing an audit on your network a number of things will occur.
Sold a rotten bag of goods
The vendor will tell you they can offer you the sky and no matter what happens they can take care of it. Nice to say but can they back it up? Without having a deep understanding of your current network infrastructure they can’t possibly know what to expect down the road, nor can they know for certain that they have the skill set or expertise to deal with those potential issues.
Maybe you operate a unique line of business that only a few people really know well enough to support, or maybe your infrastructure is set up in a way that takes a specific skill set to manage. None of these things can really be known without an in depth network audit being performed.
Only one fee I swear
I can easily come in and pitch you a service without understanding your needs and your business and tell you that it will be one simple monthly fee. Then as things break that I didn’t expect or know existed I will come back and tell you it’s going to cost more. And this will happen regularly.
Don’t get me wrong from time to time there are surprises that no one can anticipate no matter how deep you look into an infrastructure, but by performing the audit prior to signing an agreement you will greatly minimize that risk and will keep costs stable.
What’s the plan Stan?
Having an understanding of your current IT infrastructure is vital to support it today, but it is also key to planning for tomorrow. Your IT provider should be working with you hand in hand in your growth plans as your IT can be the one thing that holds you back and costs the most if not planned properly.
Having the audit done before moving forward with any IT provider will allow them to assist you with the mapping out and planning to get you to the next phase, but this can’t be done properly without knowing what you have today.
Should I pay? Yes. Yes you should.
A well done audit will provide you vital information to your organization and you do not want to get this done on the cheap. The provider you have to come in at this phase will act as a consultant to you and should be providing you with a detailed report and road map that you can keep regardless if you hire them to be your ongoing IT provider or not.
This level of detail and service comes with a cost. High level engineers (the ones that should be doing this work) come at a cost. You pay someone regularly to audit your finances because they are key to your business and the people doing the work have a level of expertise. Why would you not apply the exact same process to your IT, which is just as vital and can cost you more than just money if it ever goes wrong?