It’s Time for an End of Year IT Review (Tips to Make It Effective!)

It's Time for an End of Year IT Review (Tips to Make It Effective!) The new year always brings the promise of new frontiers and new goals to reach for and the best way to be prepared to hit the ground running is through a year-end review. Reviews help you see what you’ve achieved in the past year, where improvements can be made, and give you a roadmap for achieving more growth and success over the next 12 months. One of the most important types of reviews you can do is one related to your technology. Technology makes up the backbone of most businesses and it can shut a company down if it’s not running properly or propel them ahead of their competition if properly optimized. 95% of companies rely on software as a service (SaaS) for their workflows.   An end of year IT review can give you the data you need to see what’s working for you and what’s not, have a chance to evaluate potential new cloud computing solutions, and evaluate important areas of your technology infrastructure such as cybersecurity, hardware upgrades, and managed services. To help you prepare for an effective year-end IT review, we’ve got tips and suggestions for planning and implementing a review that sets you up for a successful new year.

What Should I Cover In My Year-End IT Review?

Technology covers such a vast area that unless you’re organized, a review can miss some critical areas. When reviewing technology for your Fresno area business, we recommend including the following categories in your review outline.

Hardware (Performance, Upgrades)

During your year-end review is the best time to budget for any potential hardware upgrades that you’ll need in the new year. You’ll want to have an inventory list of all your devices, including:
  • Desktop Computers
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Mobile Devices
  • Servers
  • Phones
  • Routers, Modem (other networking equipment, like switches)
  • Printers
  • Smart Devices (Smart security cameras, etc.)
Map out expected device lifecycles and whether any operating systems that a particular device is using is going to lose extended support soon (Like Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, which both hit end of life on 1/14/2020). Interview employees to learn if any of them have equipment that’s holding them back or is too outdated to take advantage of newer cloud applications. Budget upgrades and maintenance on hardware for next year.

Applications & Workflows

Cloud applications have helped companies become more efficient and reduce costs, but they can easily get disconnected from your main mission if you’re not regularly evaluating them and how they fit into your overall workflow. It’s a good idea to work with an IT pro, like Unity IT, for help streamlining and fully integrating the applications you use to reduce redundancies and automate manual tasks to improve efficiencies. Bring your employees into the conversation and ask them if they have any issues with the applications they currently use or could suggest features they wish that a particular application had. The input of those on the front line of working with software such as CRM programs and accounting and inventory software is vital to optimizing how it’s used in the future. If you’re implementing a new application in the new year, be sure to work out a rollout schedule that includes plenty of communication and training for your employees to give your initiative the best chance of success.

Review Costs and Identify Savings Areas

44% of businesses plan to increase their IT spending in 2020, which means the remaining 56% are looking to save costs or keep their budgets steady. Take a look at all your IT expenses, including application subscriptions, maintenance costs, unexpected downtime costs, and costs related to IT security. Then drill down into areas where you can optimize. Some potential ideas may be:
  • Using a managed IT plan for patch management and device maintenance to lower tech costs and reduce downtime.
  • Reviewing which users are actively using specific apps to prevent paying for unused subscriptions.
  • Considering package upgrades like Microsoft 365, which bundles Office 365 with Windows 10, Intune mobile device manager, and security features.

Review Your Cybersecurity and Business Continuity Plan

Companies face multiple online threats in the form of ransomware, malware, and data breaches. Any of these can cause a company to shut down for days, seriously damaging their business. Use your year-end review to have a security check done on your IT infrastructure to ensure you’re covered with proper anti-malware tools, data breach prevention, and other cybersecurity best practices. You’ll also want to look at things like your backup and recovery systems and ensure they’re monitored, and your recovery tested regularly. Being prepared can make all the difference in how fast you recover should a natural or manmade catastrophe strike.

Evaluate New & Upcoming Technologies

Certain technology can completely revolutionize the way you work. Your office can stay a step ahead by taking time during your year-end IT review to evaluate any exciting new technologies that show promise and could give you a significant competitive edge. One example would be the new Windows Virtual Desktop, which Microsoft made available worldwide on September 30, 2019. It expands on what cloud solutions do by making your entire desktop environment virtual.

Let Unity IT Help with Your Technology Review

Whether you’re looking for cost savings next year or planning to optimize your software, Unity IT can help you make the most of an IT review and ensure you can hit the ground running in 2020. Contact us today to schedule your year-end IT review at 559-297-1007 or reach out online.