Information technology (IT), including your business and project management software, can be the superhighway that speeds your company towards success. On the other hand, it can also be a bumpy road—full of potholes, detours, and missing bridges—that can leave you in the dust of your competitors.
I’ve seen both scenarios in my years providing technology solutions to construction companies. And I know it’s not always easy for contractors to make sure their information systems are operating at peak performance.
Our Sage business partners are here to lend a hand. Many offer business IT review services to help both new and current customers get the most out of their technology investment. I recently spoke with one of our business partners, Steve Handly of Aktion Associates, about how a business review can help construction contractors. Here’s what he had to say:
Dustin: Why is a business IT review important?
Steve: A review makes sure your IT applications and infrastructure continually support your business goals and allow your team to be as efficient as possible. Without a review, you can easily end up with a mishmash of software, hardware, and systems that create unnecessary work and increase the potential for errors. In addition, you may miss out on software enhancements that are included with your annual software support and maintenance programs. Many times companies install software upgrades without realizing the enhancements that are included in these upgrades.
Dustin: When should a contractor conduct a review?
Steve: An IT business review is usually a regular part of the process when someone is selecting a new software system. However, that shouldn’t be the only time a review is conducted. A contractor’s business changes over time. The profile of their company may evolve. Or they may start to do things differently. A lot of our customers, for example, have picked up a service side of their business. Consequently, I recommend that our customers conduct a review annually, with a mid-year review to monitor progress.
Dustin: How is a review conducted?
Steve: A review should be very thorough. We usually go to our customer’s office and meet with key individuals to find out how they do their jobs, what they do outside the system, and what is causing them the most frustration. We also look over any work plans that they follow and do intrusion testing to look for security weaknesses.
Dustin: What specific areas do you cover in a review?
Steve: We look at many things, including:
- Business changes such as new offices, acquisitions, or new lines of business
- Key IT projects or initiatives such as how to best deploy mobile devices and applications in the field.
- All software applications in use or planned for implementation.
- IT infrastructure.
- Cloud deployments.
- IT budget.
- Internal organization chart.
- IT project review and backlog.
- Staff skills
- Process improvements
- 1-, 3-, and 5-year plan
Dustin: What is the final take-away from the review?
Steve: We typically provide our customers with an executive report that’s about 25 to 30 pages long. The report includes specific recommendations that are rated as high, medium, and low priority so they can implement more effectively and realize benefits quicker.
Dustin: How long does a review take?
Steve: A system review takes between three and five days depending on the size and complexity of the organization. We typically lay out a plan to implement the top three recommendations first. It is not realistic to implement all of the recommendations simultaneously.
I’d like to thank Steve for sharing his expertise on IT business reviews. If you’re interesting in a review, contact Sage at [email protected] or 800-858-7095