As 2020 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 at their home offices, 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 2021 strong:
Review the State of IT
While you’re likely performing health checks across the organization’s IT systems regularly, good documentation can often be deprioritized. 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 you may also consider providing end-user instructions to communicate with executive leadership. 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
Evaluate last year’s budget and plan for the year ahead. Consider working with the accounting department to analyze how much was spent across all IT services, equipment and subscriptions in 2020. 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? 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 and ensure you’re spending smart.
Extra Security Measures
Last year, 43% of companies were not using Multi-Factor Authentication, making them vulnerable to third-party attacks. With a remote workforce come added security challenges, and it may be time to consider adding MFAfor your employees. If your 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.
Check in with Staff
Check-in with staff regularly about their remote work experiences and if they have all the equipment you're able to provide. Are laptop users struggling on a touchpad when they could be provided a mouse? Are webcams of sufficient quality for video meetings? Could you provide a second screen to boost productivity?
Map out Deadlines
Review IT-related deadlines that are important for 2021 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. Be sure to add these into your calendar.
Consider 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 you or the team. If you’re looking to change any IT initiatives from the previous year, renewals are the optimal time to pivot to new and better technologies butplanning ahead is key.
Review Goals and Objectives
Evaluate how the team performed overall and individually in the past year. Which goals were hit, and where did you fall short? Then, review goals and objectives for the upcoming year. Set goals for 2021 to improve not only individual skillsets, but to enhance the strength of the organization as a whole. What new technologies in 2021 can the company adopt? Is there a new software that can be implemented? If so, start technical training and testing as early as possible. This will position yourself, your team and the company for success in the year to come.
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