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IT Leaders' Year End Checklist

As 2021 winds down, forward-thinking technologists are wrapping up projects and preparing for the year ahead. From ensuring IT systems are running smoothly to making sure everyone is set up for success, there’s no shortage of things for IT leaders to do at year-end. Here are a few things to focus on now to kick off 2022 strong:

Review the State of IT 

While IT leaders are likely performing health checks across the organization’s IT systems regularly, good documentation can often be deprioritized when moving quickly. At the end of the year, go through each IT system at a high level and ensure all documentation is up-to-date and accessible. This includes internal documentation for the IT team, but also consider providing or updating end-user instructions for applicable systems. As the year winds down, it’s a great time to organize and ensure everything employees need from IT can be found and referenced efficiently. 

Ensure the organization is up-to-date on annual security assessments and penetration tests and schedule a third-party risk assessment if needed. With cyberattacks becoming even more intelligent and frequent this year, these assessments are more important than ever.  

Consider also the severe supply chain disruptions creating a hardware strain across many technologies and connect with key vendors to understand what their delay may be. IT leaders must be proactive in forecasting future need and putting in orders for required technologies even 1+ years in advance.

Analyze Spend

IT should connect with the accounting team to evaluate last year’s budget and plan for the year ahead. Analyze how much was spent across all IT services, equipment and subscriptions in 2021. Then, reflect on company goals for 2021 and determine what should be changed or added. Will the same expenses continue into next year, or should they change? Each IT item of significant spend should be analyzed for improvements. Is there a better service out there that makes more sense for the organization? At a better cost? Maybe a competitor exists that wasn’t available before. As technology continues to rapidly evolve, it’s important to pivot and evaluate what can be improved year-over-year to maximize the budget.

Extra Security Measures 

Cyberattacks have skyrocketed in the last two years since many employees began working from home, and many companies have fallen victim to information leaks and hacks. Especially with a remote or hybrid workforce, there are added security challenges, and it may be time to consider requiring added security functions such as Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) for all employees’ system access. If the organization does not already use MFA for accessing corporate data, consider fast-tracking that rollout to protect against phished or compromised credentials before the new year.   

There are additional security measures to consider, such as online training, simulated phishing attacks, and more, that could benefit the company moving forward. Consider what options may make the most sense for the organization. 

For all security measures in place, IT teams should also conduct an audit to ensure they are being used correctly and address any discrepancies. 

Check in with Staff

Check-in regularly both with on-site staff to ensure every desk is set up with appropriate technology, and hybrid or remote employees to ensure they have the equipment needed.  

Consider surveying staff regarding their work experience to inquire about what might make them more productive and if they have all the equipment needed to optimize their productivity. If there have been new software or technologies invested in over the last year, consider surveying staff on how they have improved their work experience or if there are certain challenges. This could shed light on areas to provide training or additional resources for.

Map out Deadlines

Review IT-related deadlines that are important for 2022 and put them on a calendar. This includes the dates for any subscription renewals, software renewals or expiring warranties. Check contracts to ensure these dates are accurate. In most cases, contracts will require a “give notice” period or the terms will automatically renew. While reviewing, IT leaders should also proactively set touchpoints with vendor contacts to ensure, given increased turnover in 2021, they have updated contact information and know who to reach out to if needed.

Consider also creating task reminders well ahead of deadlines and share them with stakeholders. Stakeholders will appreciate the forewarning and you’ll have peace of mind that no deadline will sneak up on the team. If looking to change any IT initiatives from the previous year, renewals are the optimal time to pivot to new and better technologies - but planning ahead is key.

Review Goals and Objectives 

Evaluate how the team performed overall and individually in the past year. Which goals were hit, and which fell short? Were there new technologies implemented, certifications achieved, or training accomplished? Then, review goals and objectives for the upcoming year and decide which are a priority. Set goals for 2022 to improve not only individual skillsets, but to enhance the strength of the organization as a whole. Start technical training and testing as early as possible, as this will position the team and the company for success in the year to come. 

If you are adding to your team in 2022, we can help. Tell us about your hiring needs.   

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