Assessment services are critical to the success of any project. How can you know where you are going if you don't know where you are? How do you prioritize your IT investments? Assessment services take a step back from the frenzy of technology and progress to ask the serious question: "How does technology apply to this business?"
A CMI Technology assessment is a deliverable document with value, not just a sales assessment. The process of assessing includes meeting with key personnel to determine both the alignment of current technology investments and how desired future functionality parallels business direction.
Another benefit of the assessment process is our project pricing structure: Because we have assessed your environment, we are able to provide fixed prices for most project work. Imagine knowing that will not be invoiced for the project labor until you are satisfied with the work and furthermore that you will know exactly how much that work will cost before it starts!
Hundreds of components come together to make your network deliver the services your company depends on. The quality and performance of these services is only as good as the weakest link – do you know where your weakest link is? Services availability, security, performance, utilization, and business alignment are assessed individually and as a whole from a high level perspective to help you make your infrastructure work at its most efficient. The following is a partial list of components that an assessment can encompass:
- Application Servers
- E-mail and Collaboration Servers
- Database Servers
- File and Print Servers
- Thin Client Solutions
- Remote Access Services
- Local Area Network Design, Topology, and Utilization
- Wide Area Networks
- Desktop Operating Systems and Applications
- Support Assessment
Your infrastructure depends entirely on the support structure in place to keep it running at peak performance and to repair it quickly when problems occur. Constant review of your in-sourced or outsourced solution is required to keep your support structure in line with the technology in place and the goals of the business. Are you sure you have the right resources supporting the right tasks? Are there tools available to make these resources more efficient? Support services are very expensive if done wrong, but very profitable when done right.
Your help desk is a critical piece of your IT organization. It is the most visible connection between your customers or employees and your IT department. Do you know if your help desk is providing answers? How many calls are they resolving and how many are they escalating? Should you be outsourcing your desk? These are all questions which are difficult to answer and need to be assessed by an independent organization.
Workstation support is a science which has rapidly evolved to a highly efficient automated process. Again, how efficient is your support organization? Are they using hard disk loading or are they configuring workstations for individuals? How does your workstation team respond to problems? Do they have to fix individual workstations or are they able to provide a hot spare replacement on a real-time basis? This is another service to which outsourcing is often an efficient answer. However, as with many other services, the answer is not a black and white.
Server support is an area where many organizations fall short. Often, budgets will be setup around a quantity of resources. For example, a company with 5 servers determines that they can pay a total cost of $70,000 annually for server support. However, they have a database server, a file server, a collaboration server, a web server, and an application server. It is simply impossible to find all of these expertise's in one person. The answer for this organization is to outsource their support so that when they need a database expert, they get a database expert – and when that expert has completed the task at hand they go home and quit billing for support.
Choosing vendors is one of the most important and difficult tasks facing a project manager. While the net result of choosing a vendor is to purchase a product or service, the process of making this decision can be distracting, time consuming, and often overwhelming. A complete vendor assessment looks at more than just the product or service. Assessing vendors helps to manage expectations of vendor involvement in project completion, balances the preparedness of internal processes with vendor abilities, and takes into consideration the long term ramifications of product support, upgrade availability, and vendor stability.
Many niche markets have specialty vendors with excellent products aimed at specific product groups. Some examples include glass, tempering, marketing, CNC milling, and retail. These vendors have expertise in product areas that makes their software or hardware uniquely suited to fill a need. However, these vendors are often smaller and have certain strengths and weaknesses. Preparing a project to deal with these strengths and weaknesses so expectations of results are correct is another function of the vendor assessment.
Asset management is more than simply counting workstations and tracking software licenses. It is the process of reconciling corporate resources and ensuring that your company takes advantage of their investment. Furthermore, asset management helps you keep track of software license compliance, manage support contracts, and track important milestone information such as contract numbers and expiration dates, compliance checkpoints, and discount levels. Asset management is not a one-time project, but an ongoing process. Ensure that your resources are working for the company, that your company is in compliance with contracts and the law, and that your equipment is properly utilized.
Once an initial asset management project has been completed, it must be followed up with proactive management to ensure resource allocation is optimized for your organization. The cost of hardware has spiraled downward so quickly that ongoing asset management often becomes the process of sorting the good from the bad – removing obsolete machines from production while ensuring that good hardware is matched with the employees who will properly utilize it. Asset management does not stand on its own – it is closely tied with the help desk to identify trouble, with PC support to maintain accuracy, and with accounting to ensure you are not paying for hardware you are not utilizing or no longer own.
CMI Managed Services
CMI Managed Services facilitates central management of your enterprise PCs in a secure, coordinated and efficient manner. Combining powerful Hardware and Software Inventory with Software Distribution, Application and Internet Metering, Web based Helpdesk, PC Remote Control and more, CMI Managed Services ensures compliance with corporate configuration standards whilst simultaneously reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).