If your firm is like most professional services organizations, employees tend to use a variety of similar tools in both official and unofficial contexts — Dropbox, Google Drive, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc. But avoiding tools that overlap or conflict helps to streamline your organization, resulting in better productivity and collaboration.
That’s why taking inventory of your current IT environment is an essential step in planning your digital workplace. Taking inventory means identifying and evaluating the current state of your infrastructure, tools and content. This is typically a task for IT rather than business users.
When companies try to cut corners on this stage in roadmap planning, they tend to end up with nothing but lists: A list of all the tools being used in your organization, a list of all the content, and so on. Unless you have a process for understanding the implications of these lists, you don’t have the meaningful information you need to move the project forward.
Let’s say your lists show that you currently have a complex, expensive infrastructure that’s largely on-premises. Your users employ 10 different tools to accomplish the same five tasks. One of the implications here might be that you have a usability issue, as well as an opportunity to improve productivity and reduce costs for redundant tools.
When you dig down to the implications, taking inventory of your infrastructure, tools and content, it reveals opportunities for management to rationalize cost, as well as opportunities for improving usability.
First, take inventory of your infrastructure. Do you have primarily on-premises systems? What level of internal or external staff is required to maintain these systems? This isn’t necessarily a deep dive into your systems — it’s more of a scan, intended to give you a better sense of the overall architecture, cost and complexity.
Next, you want to take inventory of all the applications and other tools currently available in the organization, outline their purpose and map them to the appropriate users and user groups.
Finally, there’s the content. For professional services firms, this content is primarily documents stored in a content management system, such as SharePoint or other document management solutions. The goal here is to determine the nature of the content, the location, ease of access, and so on.
Organizations tend to accumulate a lot of outdated content. This “dead wood” is often an impediment when you’re migrating data to a new platform, such as a cloud-based solution, and dealing with a mass of old documents that should likely be archived rather than migrated.
Fortunately, there are a number of free tools available that make it easier to inventory your content: The tools scan your organization’s content and generate a report on the amount, state and quality of your content. That gives your team a sense of what to expect when migrating data to a new system.
One goal when you’re taking inventory of content is to identify anything that should be deleted or archived before the migration. Let’s say you scan your system and the report indicates that 75 percent of your content is more than three years old. You now have the option to archive everything that’s at least three years old and only migrate the 25 percent that makes up your current, active files.
Learn more about helping your organization leverage today’s digital workplace capabilities by downloading our free e-book, Your Roadmap To The Digital Workplace: A Step-By-Step Guide For Professional Services Firms.