Q4 is the perfect time to build your IT strategy for the new year. But knowing where to start – and where to focus your planning efforts – can feel daunting. Do you know your priorities? Do you have a plan for your budget and future costs? How can you truly know you’re ready?
These four free tools will help make your new year planning thorough, intuitive, and effective.
1) Gauge Your Current Readiness with the Assessment Tool
The first step to creating a 2024 tech plan is to take stock of where you’re currently at. Understanding where your strengths and weaknesses are will help inform your plan’s focus for the new year. For this task, use our 2024 IT Readiness Assessment Tool. It will help you accurately plan for the future by giving you a clear picture of your IT resources, asset conditions, existing security measures, and more.
How It Works
The IT Readiness Assessment tool considers four main areas of readiness: physical, software, cloud services, and security. You use it by assigning a number ranking to each item in each area, with “1” being completely unprepared, and “5” being entirely confident.
After filling out your sections, you’ll get an overall breakdown to see where your lowest scores are. Those areas are the best places to begin focusing your planning efforts.
2) Organize Your Priorities with the Priority Matrix Tool
Understanding your weaknesses helps you define priorities. Once you’ve identified your IT readiness starting point, you can begin organizing your priorities for 2024 and establishing a loose timeline for completion.
Our IT Priority Matrix tool allows you to weigh urgencies to determine which requests and tasks should take precedence in your ever-changing IT environment.
How It Works:
The IT Priority Matrix is designed to help you keep your workload manageable. Use it to review and assess your projects. This is not a task management system, but rather a living document that changes each week or month as your priorities evolve.
With this tool, you can break down any task over 5 major pillars:
- Potential impact on the business.
- Time to completion.
- Requestor position.
- Resource expended.
- Cost budget / cost avoidance.
You can then assign different priority weights to each pillar, with 1 being lowest priority and 3 being highest. Then, the tool will automatically prioritize the tasks for you based on tackling the high business-value components first.
3) Audit Your Current and Future Costs
When considering a budget for the new year, you must first audit both your current and projected costs incurred by your equipment, your team, and your business as a whole. This measure of complete cost, called total cost of ownership (TCO) includes an item’s initial purchase price, any ongoing fees, maintenance, and even indirect costs (like long-term training and support). If it sounds like an overwhelming thing to calculate, our TCO Calculator is the perfect tool for you.
How It Works:
The tool allows you to compare 1-3 things (and these “things” could truly be anything, from different tech stacks to employee numbers) based on their cost today, their future costs, and when (if ever) they will balance out over time. You compare each component over 6 categories: infrastructure, hosting, software/apps, devices/hardware, personnel/support, and rollout costs.
Calculating TCO can help admins identify areas to improve workflow and decrease costs. It also provides an objective measurement of what’s a sound investment – and what’s not.
4) Update Your Budget
Once you’ve identified your 2024 priorities and determined your business’s TCO, you have all the information you need to create an updated budget for the new year. Our Budgeting Template will reveal patterns that help set your organization’s (or department’s) financial outlook for the coming year.
How It Works:
The tool manages interdepartmental cross-charges, helps you determine a budget based on your projected expenses, and lets you compare your year over year changes so you know exactly what you need to do, and what areas you’ll need to invest in to make your strategic technology plan successful.
Now Is the Time to Consider Big Changes
What better time is there to start with a clean slate than the new year?
If you’re still using outdated or ill-fitting technology, now is the time to consider a change. Even in cases where rolling out new technology would cost time and money, the resulting boosts in productivity and savings almost always make it worth it.
Directories are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to old technology that companies tend to avoid updating or changing. Because they’re so foundational to the infrastructure, the idea of changing it can feel daunting. However, modernizing your directory is one of the changes that can yield the most benefits in terms of flexibility, security, cost-savings, and more.
For example, Microsoft Active Directory has become a fact of life for many companies. However, it’s becoming outdated, and its preference for a homogeneously Microsoft infrastructure can be limiting. It’s leaving many IT professionals feeling stuck with something they aren’t sure how to go about changing.
Fortunately, it’s possible to modernize your AD instance — even if you can’t fully part with it. Learn more about the roadmap to modernizing AD in the ebook, How to Modernize Your AD Instance.