- Core Competency
- Market Segment
Forward planning in IT is critical if an organization's future needs are going to be met. Network design, hardware and software are constantly changing and being improved with new technologies and trends. Besides the technology, organizations change locations, the number of staff, their approach to marketing and communication and so do their customers.
There are several areas to consider in forward IT planning:
- The new ways that people will be communicating eg. VOIP, Instant Messaging and Blogs
- The possible new locations that your organisation will be operating in
- How many IT staff will be required and what specialties they should have
- How desktop and laptop PCs will be upgraded over time
- How servers will be upgraded
- How network hardware and bandwidth will be upgraded
- How possible acquisitions by your organisation can be accommodated
- New applications that could be implemented on the server or client
- New technologies such as mobile internet-aware devices or server virtualisation
It may or may not be worth outsourcing IT services.
Some important factors include:
- the cost of doing it yourself as opposed to paying someone else,
- the burden of hiring and managing staff,
- whether staff are available at a reasonable cost,
- whether a company can utilise overseas people to save on labour costs
- the potential liability in doing it yourself,
- the accountability you can gain from service level agreements if you pay someone else to do it
- the frequency of the task concerned - an infrequent job might not sustain a full-time person
Pretty much any area of IT can be outsourced.
Areas that can be outsourced include:
- email security such as spam and virus filtering
- email servers
- network security/design/management
- this includes firewalls/routers/network links
- software development
- web development/design
- desktop publishing
- IT strategy
Policies assist both with keeping organisations and their employees accountable and with limiting the organisation's liability. Policies set the standards on what is acceptable and what is not. Policies are essential for setting out the guidelines for:
- monitoring of employees' email, files, print jobs and phone calls. This is enforced by privacy laws, particularly in the US and Australia.
- system administrators use of power - eg. allowing others to see someone's email or web access logs, accessing senior management's email, accessing financial information, auditing file access
- acceptable websites and whether unacceptable ones will be blocked by a proxy server.
- acceptable language to use when representing the company
- personal email such as Hotmail/Yahoo and when they should be accessed if at all
- personal emails within the organisation's email system - particularly who owns them
- personal phone calls on both mobile/cellular phones and office phones
- filing of emails with projects
- how to use the company logos ie. preserving the organisation's visual identity
- who can change the company website(s)
Procedures might also be useful for when:
- someone wants to make a change to the company website
- to be completed...
- Awareness policies about the securities of official data as well as adopting new researches results which can bring more productivity at work.
There are many areas where IT affects the legal liability of an organisation. An IT professional needs to be aware of them and attempt to minimise them. Some examples are:
- licensing - using software without being licensed could result in lawsuits
- access control to files - sensitive government projects or information pertaining to confidentiality agreed projects will need to be carefully managed, not all staff will necessarily need access
- record keeping standards and procedures - as a result of major corporate failures, government tax and reporting laws are becoming stricter. These spill over into IT
- backup procedures - you may not want to keep some things because they represent a risk
- supplier contracts - only IT will know the intimate details of suppliers contracts and will need to be aware of payment obligations, marketing the supplier may do using your name
- tendering suppliers - potential suppliers may sue if they feel they have been discriminated against during the tender process