Last week, we hosted another successful lunch and learn with our strategic business partner, Simple Signal, this time on the topic of Google Apps integration. One of the slides from the presentation that generated a great deal of interest discussed the following 10 questions. These are a great starting point for every business owner to sit down and either discuss with the head of their IT, or, in the case of many SMB's, to ask themselves about their IT.
There are no right or wrong answers. The intent of these questions are to begin the discussion on where your network infrastructure and IT policies are currently, where they need to be to meet changing demands of your business and employees, and what applications and changes are needed to increase efficiency in your workplace.
Regarding IT and infrastructure/applications what’s keeping you up at night?
If you could outsource 1-2 IT related areas/items today, what would they be?
What are your user-based needs/issues (what are they asking for, complaining about)?
What methods are you using to secure your user environments and company data?
How are remote users/offices being managed?
How are you dealing with users who want to use their own devices?
How much of your time is spent on break/fix items versus strategic initiatives?
Describe your system scaling needs/concerns?
Which areas of IT currently have single points of failure – what risks to they present?
Ideally, you should have at least an answer for each of these questions - one that isn't "I don't know." Most likely, however, if you are anything like the majority of businesses we talk, the "IDK's" are present on at least a few of these.
Making the case for convergence
What we learned during lunch last week is that you should no longer be answering the questions above in the silo of your physical IT network at your office location. It is now about understanding how employee's are accessing your applications, such as email, CRM systems, voice and voicemail, documents, IM and more, and how those employees are using smartphones or tablets from networks off site of your premise. You must ensure IT security is still a priority, and backup and recovery in the event of a disaster is planned for and implemented, and then consider what applications can make all this easier for your business.
Now may be a good time to sit with us for a review of your business's technologies, and a gut check that you are utilizing what is available for your business's efficiency. Consider taking part in our free network assessment.