Evaluating Your IT Environment for Cloud Integration
December 23, 2014
Chances are your IT environment has developed gradually. As we all know, over time, problems can emerge: Performance gaps, redundancies and inefficiencies occur. It can be very difficult, however, to see what is and isn’t working and the thought of this type of change is never easy. Without this perspective it's difficult to know where to invest your limited IT resources.
Assessing your organization’s technology needs can be a daunting task. A tech assessment will help your organization define what resources you are currently utilizing, what technology you need to complete your mission, and sometimes, even what technology you may have in place that you don't need at all. Here are a couple of steps you can take to get started with an assessment.
- Create an asset inventory — Although this can be a time consuming process, the amount of information that you will have aggregated will save you a load of headaches later on. Create a working inventory of what technology your nonprofit currently has access to, and is utilizing on a daily basis. Do not limit your list to computers, printers, projectors, routers and modems, either. Everything that has an off/on switch should be considered and added to the inventory list. Once you have an initial list of assets, go in and document the specifics on each. Be sure to include age, device name, manufacturer, serial numbers, and maybe a comment section for ancillary details.
- Determine future needs — Work backwards and think about what your nonprofit absolutely needs in order to be successful.
- Make a list of short term and long term goals — A short-term goal might be to ensure that all employees have access to email remotely, while a long-term goal might be to implement and utilize a customer relationship management system. Next, order the lists based on what’s most crucial to helping accomplish your mission.
- Look at your budget — How much money can you afford to spend annually on technology? Will the organization need to purchase new hardware? How about upgrades or maintenance? Can that budget be increased anywhere? Ensure you have enough leftover in the budget for consistent upgrades and maintenance. Without this, your technology runs the risk of becoming antiquated and unstable, and ultimately leaves itself open to failures, outages, and more problems down the road.
Once you have all these steps in place, your organization is 'Cloud ready' and you can begin the process of moving part or all of your IT assets to the Cloud.