by Keith Latchaw, MSSBTA Vice President and General Manager
What are IT Assessments?
An IT assessment is simply a health check on a specific area or function of your IT organization. They should evaluate the current state, identify areas for improvement and create a roadmap for implementing high priority improvements. The goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your IT organization to create value for the overall organization.
Why do IT Assessments?
With all the effort needed to complete daily operations tasks and fight fires why make time to complete an assessment? Completing assessments just for the sake of doing them is probably not a great use of resources. Completing them at appropriate times can lay the foundation for focused improvements that could make the daily operations tasks more efficient. They may also prevent the fires once thought inevitable. The key is to choose the right assessment, at the right time. Use it to identify the improvements that will drive the best business value for the organization.
Types of IT Assessments
When it comes to IT assessments there is no shortage of variety. If you were to attempt to complete all of them you could spend much of your time assessing and very little improving. As with most things in life a little planning and goal setting can make all the difference in leveraging these tools to drive value from your IT organization. The list below is a small sample that are currently popular in the market.
Business Alignment – Assesses the Information Technology strategic plan and roadmap to validate the alignment with the business
goals and objectives of an organization
Business Value – Measures the perceived value that an IT organization delivers through the eyes of business stakeholders
IT Governance and Management – Evaluates the quality and comprehensiveness of the IT Governance framework and supporting
policies and procedures
Information Protection – Evaluates the overall information protection program in place in an organization to safeguard data
IT Security – Identifies IT security vulnerabilities and risks
Service Management – Determines your current overall service management maturity level, as well as percentage of completeness
for individual Service Management processes (InfoTech)
IT Staffing – Assesses whether an IT organization has the right number of resources with appropriate skill sets to successfully achieve
the goals and objectives of the IT organization
Data Quality (DQA) – Scientifically and statistically evaluate data in order to determine whether they meet the quality required
for projects or business processes and are of the right type and quantity to be able to actually support their intended use (Techopedia)
Vendor Risk – Identifies risks that exist when using a vendor’s product or service
Project Management Office (PMO) – Measures capabilities and maturity level
Application Portfolio Rationalization – Strategically identifies business applications across an organization to determine which
applications should be kept, replaced, retired, or consolidated (TechTarget)
Where to Start
With all these options (and more) available to choose from, where do you begin? You can spend a lot of time researching, analyzing, and prioritizing all the potential assessments you could undertake. Or, you could take a more practical and efficient approach. Start by identifying any areas where you believe significant risks exist. These are barriers you believe stand in the way of optimizing the value your IT organization is delivering. Identify specific assessments that will drive improvements in these areas.
At the same time, it is important to validate the strategic direction of your IT organization. This can be done using Business Value and Business Alignment assessments. These two assessments will tell you if you are effectively leveraging technology to drive business value. They will also tell you whether your business stakeholders are recognizing the value that your IT organization is delivering. Utilizing this approach allows you to quickly identify the most value-added assessments for your IT organization.
How to Finish
Completed high value assessments should have the information you need to finalize a roadmap. Use the roadmap to address high risk and strategic gaps impacting the ability of your IT organization to optimize the value it provides. Now all you must do is successfully follow it.
Still struggling to identify the best place to focus your IT assessment dollars? Our consultants have the experience and tools to work with you. They will identify the most efficient and effective use of assessments to drive business value from targeted improvements.
Contact us today at Advisory@mssbta.com or 602-387-2100 to discuss your assessment needs.