Review your IT in 4 simple steps using Microsoft 365 tools – with FREE IT budget template!
Just as other areas of your businesses will, your IT needs to supports business goals.
This is why regularly reviewing how you manage your IT is important, as you can determine areas that may require more attention. By investing in particular technological resources, you could see improvements across your overall business.
But where do you begin?
Reviewing your IT and budgeting for changes can be challenging with no structure to gathering information on business operations. Luckily many tools can assist you with gaining a clear oversight of your organisation and the areas that may benefit from new technology.
We’re here to share 4 very simple steps to reviewing your IT by using Microsoft 365 tools and how to use these to create an insightful IT budget. We’re even giving away a free IT budget template to get you started…
1) Gain oversight of operations with Microsoft Planner
Your IT should align with business goals to ensure you are harnessing technology to assist with the growth of your business. But before looking at new opportunities, you must review your current IT infrastructure and if it is working for your business.
Department structures and job roles are ever-changing cogs in your business that will ultimately have different requirements every year, meaning you can’t expect the technology you use to remain the same. Perhaps technology that used to support your business, no longer does?
The technology in your business must assist your staff and daily operations, which is why when reviewing your IT you should consider…
Which tools help your staff with managing their workloads? What are you using to communicate with customers? How are you tracking new sales opportunities? How are you using technology to bond with your team? What platform do you use to share company updates?
By asking these questions, you will reveal any challenges or areas of improvement.
This is where tools like Microsoft Planner come in handy. Microsoft Planner will empower everyone in your organisation to manage tasks intuitively and provides a visual management platform for getting work done. By utilising tools like this, you will gain oversight on how your teams are managing their workloads and if there are any areas or departments facing ongoing challenges.
“Organize teamwork with intuitive, collaborative, visual task management.” (Microsoft, 2020)
Having a clear overview of your teams’ activities by using Microsoft Planner will be particularly beneficial when it comes to creating your annual IT budget, as you will have visibility of how current operations are going and if there are any areas where technology can assist. You will also have a platform to manage tasks regarding your IT review – so that you can keep on top of changes that need to be made to your IT setup.
2) Analyse areas of improvement with Microsoft Power BI
Now you’ve gained a brief overview of the activities within your business, you must delve into the details.
Having company metrics is vital, as they reveal where your business stands in regards to growth and reaching targets. However, these metrics are also useful when reviewing your IT, as you can draw reports on parts of the business that might benefit from new technology.
But how can you draw such reports?
Microsoft Power BI is an innovative business intelligence tool that allows you to draw data from other Microsoft sources such as Excel or external platforms like Salesforce or Google Analytics and join them on user-friendly dashboard, giving you observation of data from of all areas of your business. This allows you to thoroughly analyse how you can harness new technology or processes to keep your business progressing.
“Find and share meaningful insights with hundreds of data visualizations, built-in AI capabilities, tight Excel integration, and prebuilt and custom data connectors.” (Microsoft, 2020)
For instance, regular reports on where your business is positioned in comparison to competition is useful for your Sales and Marketing teams to plan new aggressive strategies. By having this information visible on Power BI you could analyse opportunities to introduce new and advanced campaign platforms that might keep you ahead of your competition.
You could even draw reports directly around the technology already being used. For example, by pulling information from a spreadsheet on the devices used and monitored in your Asset Manager on Microsoft Lists into Power BI, you might find that some devices or tools are no longer being used by staff. This will allow you to disregard particular upgrades or re-orders for the next year.
3) Review security with Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
We couldn’t possibly discuss reviewing your IT without mentioning security. The security of your business is one of the most important things for you to consider, particularly when reviewing your technological setup.
Businesses operate in various ways in the modern day, with many working on-the-go or from home. This unfortunately heightens the risks of cyber-attacks and security threats to your business, as remote devices act as vulnerable endpoints to sophisticated attacks such as ransomware.
Therefore, when thinking about your businesses IT, you must be aware of the threats your business is facing in order to integrate the appropriate security tools.
Microsoft Defender ATP will help your business stay secure and protected from cyber criminals. This cloud-based endpoint security platform will assess the security of your devices and discover vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in real time. It will defend your devices against malware and fileless and file-based threats with next-generation protection.
“Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) delivers preventative protection, post-breach detection, automated investigation, and response.” (Microsoft, 2020)
However, more importantly when considering your IT setup, it will highlight your vulnerabilities and make valuable suggestions around what can be done to protect your endpoints more thoroughly from threats. This is invaluable when reviewing your IT as it will underline where additional security may be required.
For instance, additional advanced Endpoint Detection Response (EDR) tools can be incorporated into your businesses IT security structure to ensure that your staff can work freely from any location, with no risk of falling victim to a cyber-attack. Virtuoso offer such tools within our ThreatProtect cyber security services suite.
4) Create your new IT budget using Microsoft Excel
You’ve reviewed operations and current tools, assessed potential security risks – now it’s time to put together your IT budget for the next year.
By going through the above steps, you should have a better idea on what areas of your business require new or upgraded tools and equipment and which other areas offer opportunities to save.
There’s no better tool to create your budget than Microsoft Excel. As you will know already, with Excel you can seamlessly create spreadsheets and use modern formulas to perform calculations quickly and efficiently. If using the Excel App, you can take pictures of printed data sheets or reports and sit back as Excel automatically converts the photo into fully editable tables.
But Money in Excel has to be one of the most useful features of all. Money will allow you to connect your financial accounts to Excel and manage all finances in one place. When developing your IT budget for the next year, you can use this function to further understand what your current spends are. You will even receive personalised insights about your spending and how it can be adapted to reach new financial goals.
“Receive personalized insights about changes in your monthly spending, subscription price increases, bank fees, and more so that you’re always on top of your finances.” (Microsoft, 2020)
Get started reviewing your IT today
As you can see, with Microsoft tools at your disposal, it’s never been so easy to review your IT and create a carefully considered technology budget, based on insightful business data.
Whether you are new to Microsoft 365 or already have a subscription, we can assist you in getting the most from these tools. At Virtuoso, we specialise in Microsoft 365 products and supporting our customers with creating clear IT roadmaps for their businesses that contribute towards achieving their business goals.
If you’d like to know more, get in touch today! Our friendly team members are waiting to speak with you…
For your FREE IT budget template, click here!