Skip to main content

BY CAROLE O’BRIEN

Just like a chess grand master, the roll of an IT head is to position the infrastructure in such a way to gain dominance by moving the pieces in the right way to gain advantage, whilst always protecting the king, on a volatile board.

WHAT SHOULD THE PRIORITY BE FOR 2023?
Strategy, Security, Innovation and Action based on evidence

Having an IT strategy for any business is necessary, no matter what the size. Knowing where the priorities for investment both financially and effort should lie, needs to be a strategic move  to enhance both the business and the end users. Relying on gut instinct or what you did in other businesses, or just following new ideas and innovations can be a journey to ineffectiveness,  additional costs and lack of direction.

FIRST STEPS TO ENSURE EFFECTIVE, PROGRESSIVE AND ALIGNED IT STRATEGY

  • Know what the business strategy is for the coming years and be part of the discussions. IT not only supports a business it can help drive it
  • Know the business capabilities and processes and look to use IT to drive efficiencies
  • Base your strategy on collated information and evidence.
  • Know your threats

With the impact of Covid-19 and the dramatic change of working stabilised, now is the time to ensure your IT strategy meets the needs of the business going forward rather than the  reactionary model the last few years has thrown at us. Much has moved on in IT and with the pressure reduced on firefighting, it is time to look at the holistic big picture to enhance a  business. Every cost matters, so ensuring that any investment made is beneficial and every saving that can be made is investigated.

Processes within a business are predominantly driven by people, and technology is presently used as a tool to assist, collaborate and to report. AI and robotics are not just for enterprise  businesses anymore. They can be an efficient cost effective way of processing repetitive tasks releasing people to more business effective roles. This is a great example of how IT and Business  operations are intertwined and why the strategies need to compliment and how IT can drive efficiencies.

Having evidence to back change, highlight priorities and reduce costs needs to be part of every approach. IT serves the business and the end-user so in addition to knowing how it meets the  business needs, equally important is to understand the end-user perspective. Recognising what the end user feels, their priorities and the application they use is also enlightening and feeds  into a proactive inclusive strategy.

Carrying out a survey of all end users both for their views and priorities for IT, the applications they use and their attitudes towards them will be informative. Collating the information into  departments and seniority structure will give an unbiased 360 view of how IT services are working on the ground. This is not about being a stick beating exercise but a clarification of what is  important to the end users, about where priorities need to be placed and reviewing your application portfolio. With this evidence it ensures that the end-users views can be reflected in the  strategy and that the applications they are using are efficient, fit for purpose and those that are not can be made redundant, withdrawn or reason to replace justified.

Additional information that will be needed is a full asset management assessment, knowing what you have, where it is, what it is used for and by who is a must. Without this information you are open to devices that are not secure, overspending on duplicate equipment or using inappropriate for the role. Once the baseline is ascertained or in the case of an existing register verified it allows the strategy to progress into areas such as persona deployment reducing time on new builds, break/fix solutions, updating of software all resulting in efficiencies for any IT  department and increased security.

No strategy would be worth anything without threats being included. 2002 was a busy year for the cyber-attacks, with the UK business well above the global average with one report showing  a 77% increase. Cyber security is a constantly evolving field that’s becoming more complex and difficult to navigate so ensuring you are protected to the highest level is business critical and needs to be multi-faceted that includes both the infrastructure and the end users, but we still need to do more. Zero-trust is the concept of ‘never trust always verify’ and not  relying on everything behind the firewall is safe, in fact it is quite the opposite.

These are just a few of the fundamental and ideas that an IT strategy should include and even if every part of your IT systems is outsourced, as a business you need to be involved and understand. It needs to be part of the business not just an extension. At Auditel we have the knowledge, depth and the expertise to assist and advice in all areas of IT. In recent months we have helped clients including network modernisation to SD-Wan, showing significant cost savings, robust ‘zero-trust’ security strategies and deployment, creation of robotic automation to reduce manual data input by 80% and deployed surveys to assist in the development of the IT strategy.