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Entries in IT Assessment (1)

Monday
Jul182011

You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure

Harvard Partners’ Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Practice Lead, John Manning, always says, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” John uses this to help clients assess risk and prioritize business continuity and disaster recovery initiatives. We recognize the same holds true across Information Technology (IT).

 

 

IT is a discipline focused on understanding user needs, delivering solutions, and creating business outcomes. IT should be measurable, well-organized, and predictable. Every decision, be it a simple one or one made during a crisis, is based on either reducing business risk or increasing business value. Decisions and recommendations should be fact-based.

An IT Assessment is a fact-based, holistic tool for measuring expectations and perceptions of IT relative to capabilities, resources, vulnerabilities, and internal IT priorities.

Qualitative and quantitative inputs help identify areas of achievement and those needing improvement. Dashboards provide metrics giving IT the means to identify and prioritize areas for remediation.

Narratives resulting from an IT Assessment are typically driven from business input or industry best practice and help to identify areas where user perception is different than IT reality. Many times, improvements in communication (a weakness for most IT organizations) create positive attitudes towards IT and technology.

While the outcome of an IT Assessment aids in decision making, the process of performing an IT Assessment should be collaboration between users, IT staff, and those performing the assessment. Every response and metric has a story and those stories contain the clues to uncovering the underlying cause of many issues.

IT Assessments should be used to fix root cause issues rather than provide temporary fixes for symptoms.

In a recent IT Assessment Harvard Partners performed for a $200M company, many areas for improvement were identified along with dozens of vulnerabilities (none critical). A prioritized list (by category) of improvements was proposed with estimated effort and benefits. Using the results, IT managers identified and prioritized specific initiatives designed to improve IT and the impression people have of IT.

This organization is now well down the path to improvement, with the business realizing immediate and substantial gains.