Don’t Lose a Quarter

It’s year-end and time to reflect on your performance. When I ask most people how they measure IT, there is always either a blank stare or a 15 minute Obama-like answer. The tendency is to get caught up in the holiday rush, have a much-needed break with family and friends, and then get steam rolled by year-end/year begin just to realize in Q2 you’ve made little progress and generally do nothing until something major breaks.

Here are 3 simple things you should do now, so you’re not in the same predicament at the end of 2010:

  1. Draw a picture of what you have on the left and what it should look like on the right. Don’t worry about too much detail like IP addresses, but rather versions of OS and warranty expiration dates  of equipment. List a few problem bullets in the upper left and wins in the upper right above the changes in the environment you show on the right like removal/migration of systems. Whenever IT is a topic throughout the year, refer to the picture.
  2. Create a spreadsheet with columns for the next 5 years and list down the side software licenses and other categories like servers and workstations. Tip – You’ll usually want to buy new workstations for a third of your fleet each year so there is not a huge cash outlay every 3 years. It’s common to have a detail page for each category. License agreements are usually 1-3 years and warranty on equipment is generally 3 years. Now you have a tool for no surprises and a format to quickly add  total cost of ownership for new business requirements.
  3. Make a list of projects. Then rank them and schedule by quarter.

With these 3 things, manage the BUSINESS of IT by dollars, date, and informed knowledge of issues.

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