IT projects are complicated and seemingly ever-evolving. The vendor management and logistics alone can be an absolute nightmare, which is why you want to make sure that you do your diligence properly the first time around. For many organizations, the process surrounds a consultant that they bring in to tell them what to do. For other organizations that involves getting a technology partner on board to give them recommendations regarding technology improvements. No matter which route you take, make sure that you take these four steps to ensuring better technology for your business:

  1. Assess the current state of your technology
    You need to do a deep dive into your existing technology. Your server, your workstations, your switches, routers, firewalls and other network equipment. You need to understand the state of this equipment so that you can best determine what needs to be replaced or upgraded.
  2. Assess the business interaction with the technology
    What’s not working? What is working? How is your existing technology (internet speed, phone system, line of business application) helping you deliver for your customers? Are there bottlenecks? Issues that need to be resolved? Outline those before you just start replacing anything so that your technology consultant or IT provider can make the best infrastructure upgrade recommendations based on the state of your technology and your business processes.
  3. Design the new system
    This is more than a hardware refresh. An expert needs to do a deep-dive assessment to truly eliminate bottlenecks and business process issues with technology. Improved bandwidth, server replacement recommendations, cloud migrations and other issues should be resolved with equipment and plans that not only take budget into consideration, but also resolve issues and leave room for long term innovation and scalability. A blanket overhaul of your system without taking these and business goals into account is a waste of money.
  4. Implementation
    Once you have a plan in place that suits your budget, goals, and the state of your hardware – you need someone to execute it. Someone should manage the technology, the vendors, the hardware ordering process and lead the way and organize everything. Notes on what has been done, what’s still pending and any issues that come up along the way should be taken to allow for close communication. This process is almost never completely smooth, so make sure you have someone to juggle the pieces and manage expectations and vendors.

IT projects are not a one-time engagement. Your IT consultant or provider needs to have an ongoing relationship with your company in order to make the best decision for your business and support that system going forward. Engaging a consultant or company on a one-time basis for a project will not serve your evolving technology needs for longer than few years and will often have you overspending at the outset.