How to Identify Risks and Inefficiencies in Your IT Systems

floppy disks for breakfastConsidering the ubiquitous presence of technology in modern society, it’s no surprise that 98 percent of organizations see IT as strategically important to business success. Clearly, businesses require robust IT systems to compete in today’s markets. Although no CEO would dream of asking an office employee to work without a computer, consulting services find that it’s somewhat rare for business leaders to actually research the efficiencies of their IT managed services.

Information technology consulting experts emphasize that running a disjointed, outdated IT system is like driving around without the proper fluids in your car’s engine – it might be possible for the automobile to run, but it won’t get great gas mileage. In this way, failing to upgrade an inefficient IT system is akin to pouring company funds down the drain – you’re spending money unnecessarily.

Furthermore, over time a car’s engine will break down if it doesn’t get the right fluids – likewise, inefficiencies in your information technology system can cause system failures and breakdowns over the long term. For the future health of your company – and to preserve your technological competitive edge – it’s wise to conduct an efficiency audit of your IT systems.  An effective audit should include a thorough search for system inefficiencies as well as an investigation of potential risks in your IT managed services.

Below, we list several common identifiers of system inefficiencies and risks. If these warning signs are present in your organization, consider bringing in an information technology consulting firm to root out and correct weaknesses.

Outdated Hardware Data Storage

In the early days of networking, data could only be stored on physically present hard drives. Companies were required to amass closets full of servers to power their operations. Many of today’s businesses still use the hardware storage model, even though it is less cost-effective than more modern storage solutions.

For instance, companies that want to update their server situation without buying more hardware can virtualize current machines to add storage space. And those who are willing to take a bigger leap can transition to cloud-based storage, which is usually packaged in a pay-as-you-go model. Both virtualization and pay-as-you-go cloud-based data backup offer significant savings over traditional hardware storage. If you’re still operating from an old server-based model, computer consulting services would almost certainly suggest switching to a more modern data storage approach.

Non-Standard IT Processes

Another common cause of unnecessary spending, information technology consulting experts find, is non-standardized company processes and software. For instance, non-standardized software packages can force employees to waste time translating documents. And machines that have not recently received software “patch” updates from manufacturers usually run slowly, forcing unnecessary labor costs into your budget. While evaluating the efficiency of your IT managed services, notice discrepancies in software and procedures. Standardize as much as possible to eliminate lost time.

Communication Breakdowns between IT Professionals and Leadership

PriceWaterhouseCooper’s report “IT Risk – Closing the Gap” found that 76 percent of company board members believed they had a good understanding of IT risks. However, considering that just 32 percent of internal auditors agreed that the board fully appreciated IT risks, we can conclude that many company leaders are unaware of the risks inherent in their systems. Information technology consulting firms can resolve this problem by assessing risks and then delivering results to board members in concise layman’s terms.

If your firm’s IT system contains one or more of the common inefficiencies listed above, it’s wise to retool your IT managed services.

[ Photo by: Blude, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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