Grant McGregor News

Detox Your Digital

April 03 2019

No, we’re not talking about cutting down the time you spend on social media (but we’re quite happy to advocate that too). We’re talking about a corporate digital detox: a thorough audit and cleanse of your entire IT estate – and how to go about it.

Cutting down the time we spend glued to our phones and to social media has been shown to improve feelings of contentment and wellbeing. As a result, breaking our digital device addictions has emerged as a new New Year’s resolution for the twenty-first century.

While ignoring the real world in favour of the virtual might not be an especially healthy habit, as IT consultants, the Grant McGregor team knows there are likely to be many other toxic influences in your organisation’s IT estate than spending too much time on Facebook.

While the time for New Year’s resolutions may have passed, the opportunity to detox and cleanse is always on our agenda. We talk you through how to identify potential problems and make some changes for the better.

Time for a Spring Clean!

– Begin your technology spring clean by listing every IT asset you have. From the software on your desktop to the creaking racks in the server room, it all needs to be listed. You may find devices you didn’t know about…or any you thought long-gone.

– Record assets comprehensively. This means including details about when it was purchased, by whom, which version number you’re on, when it was last upgraded, who “owns” it, etc.

– For smaller organisations, a spreadsheet can work well. Larger organisations will use a specific tool for recording this information; a configuration management database (CMDB). The new cloud-based CMDB solutions make this an affordable option for everyone. Either way, asset management is the first step in understanding your devices.

– As well as the assets you know about, what has crept in? Which parts of your business have purchased kit under the radar? Who’s been installing unapproved software?

– If you are worried you don’t have visibility of all the IT assets deployed around your organisation, you can use tools to identify networked equipment and list installed software on devices. Grant McGregor consultants can recommend options for this so, if you need help, please speak with our team.

– Now you have a complete list of software and hardware assets, you can begin to assess what action needs to be taken.

– Is there any education that needs to happen as a result of what you’ve uncovered? For example you may still have Windows XP machines that are no longer supported or Windows 7 machines which will go the same way early in 2020.

– Now, assess the priorities in terms of investment. Which assets are the oldest? Poorest performing? Highest risk?

– This knowledge will help you to develop a technology roadmap. Here, you can write a wish list (or, if you already have the budget, a plan) for replacement and upgrade.

– Consider why and how you are going to replace or upgrade. For example, instead of opting for a straight replacement of your aging on-premise server rack, would a move to the cloud be a better option?

– Here again, Grant McGregor can help you to identify possible alternatives for more cost-effective, more secure or easier to maintain solutions. Simply talk with our team about your business priorities.

– As you develop your plan you will also need to liaise closely with the business users. Before specifying or investing, you need to work together to review business needs. There’s no point upgrading equipment or software that isn’t being used or that isn’t fit for purpose.

– If you’ve discovered assets that weren’t IT-approved, find out why they were required. This gives you an opportunity to find out about the requirements IT isn’t serving adequately for your business users. Together you can work on finding a corporately approved alternative.

– At the end of this work, you should have a comprehensive list of the business IT requirements moving forward. You will clearly be able to see what needs to be spent and where the priorities are – helping with your budgeting, planning and actions for the rest of the year and beyond.

This spring clean should be an annual event. It doesn’t have to happen in January or in springtime – choose your own quiet month. Then notify business users in advance so they are primed to help.

 

The Grant McGregor team can also assist. We offer comprehensive IT Appraisals that not only provide you with a full asset and software inventory, we also advice on what’s good about your infrastructure and what could be improved with clear and expert recommendations of an on-going IT strategy for your business. You’ll know what’s urgent and what’s important.

Similarly, an annual review of IT policies (and their effective – or not – implementation and action) is a worthwhile investment.

Whatever your needs, it’s likely we can help and an enquiry costs nothing. Call us today or email info@grantmcgregor.co.uk for an informal chat.

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