Shopping online today is super convenient. Your options are almost limitless. You hardly have to do anything, and a product is delivered to your door.
What’s not convenient is when that thing arrives and it doesn’t fit—a rare part for your gadget that needs fixing, a pair of shoes, or a piece of clothing. Your joyful anticipation can be crushed in a heartbeat because it’s not the right size.
In business, it can feel the same way when it comes to IT projects. That’s why so many are more likely to fail or even take flight. More often than not, solution providers try to fit a product they are pushing to a company, not the other way around. This usually happens when customers and solutions providers don’t take enough time to do an honest needs assessment, and/or:
Add-on products are bolted on to legacy systems because the underlying issue seems insurmountable
A solution is purchased out of haste because of the timing and persuasion of a good sales person
A company makes an investment because it was “too good to pass up”
Whatever the process is, good or bad, it’s just how it has always been done
Whether you do it on your own, or with a professional, a needs assessment will ensure that your goals and your needs are truly aligned for your best chance of success.
A needs assessment will:
Give you a 10,000 foot view of your current office IT framework
Reveal underutilized applications and equipment
Uncover areas in need of improvement
Highlight the good in your business operations
Give you facts to support budget decisions
You might have concerns about records retention, technical requirements unique to your industry, or even regulatory requirements that need to be considered. Regardless of how unique (or complicated) you think your needs are, they are your needs, and they should be identified and considered no matter how large the IT investment.
A needs assessment can be as simple as these four, repeatable steps:
1. Survey your teams - talk to the people in the trenches every day who know exactly what is and isn’t working.
2. Create a detailed spreadsheet of all of the hardware and software you have - include model numbers, versions, locations, and any additional information that could be useful in determining their effectiveness.
3. Ask for feedback on the everyday tools people are using and what they are not using.
4. Last, repeat these steps over and over again on a routine basis so you always have a pulse on your operations.
Despite the claims, technology is not one size fits all; rather, one size fits most. Even then, it usually requires some tweaking to get things set up to your liking. Before you make any changes to your office technology, perform a needs assessment. Returns aren’t so easy when it comes to an office investment.
What are your needs? Get started today.