Many SMBs have never had an IT assessment. They understand that large companies need to conduct periodic assessments to minimize risks, maintain security and to meet compliance regulations but they don’t feel that they have the budget or the need to conduct an assessment on their own business.
This is a huge mistake for the SMB owner and a great opportunity for an enterprising VAR who wants to expand into the services business and provide more value to clients.
SMB owners often don’t understand or realize the risks they are assuming by not conducting periodic risk assessments. In most cases they are simply not aware that IT assessments are available at a reasonable cost that more than justifies the expense by the results they produce. You don’t know what you don’t know, but if you did know, you would likely do something about it!
In general terms, an IT assessment is fact-based measurements of the performance of your IT operation relative to the capabilities, resources and internal priorities. A completed IT assessment confirms whether adequate policies and procedures are in place and whether they are being followed satisfactorily. They also identify areas for improvement, and efficiencies for reducing costs and improving levels of service. Depending upon the situation, an assessment can also look at overall IT budgets, vendor management, IT staff and training.
An IT assessment is particularly useful:
- When there are frequent service failures and the company is questioning the effectiveness of their IT department
- To reduce the need for constant firefighting in IT operations
- To identify gaps in processes and procedures
- To identify aging and failing software applications and hardware
- To identify where technology can be deployed to improve efficiencies
The better a company understands the strengths and weaknesses of their operations, the better they can prepare for preventative maintenance and develop plans to fix the deficiencies. Large companies can easily justify the expenditure for an IT assessment. Are the same benefits available to the SMB? The simple answer is – yes! A large company may require an in-depth analysis of their operations that could take weeks or months; an IT assessment for an SMB can often be completed in hours or days. The depth of the analysis is different but all areas of the IT operation do need to be reviewed.
So what can a SMB expect as the results of an IT assessment?
- IT projects completed on time and on budget
- Better IT control on expenditures with fewer surprises
- Better trained and competent IT staff
- Fewer major IT failures
- Reduced IT risk to the company
- Improved security
Many of these benefits significantly reduce the financial risk to the company. For instance, if there is a security breach and loss of data, the company has a legal obligation to report these events. If procedures are not followed and assessments are not completed regularly, the company could suffer severe negative consequences.
Conducting IT Assessments for SMBs is a great way to find new business opportunities and to help your client improve their IT operations and reduce their risks.
Ask about how you can leverage the tools of VAR Office Suite to help you perform business health assessments for your clients as well as for your company.