A.J. Vasaris

Article Summary:

How is it that IT departments become so annoying to managers, executives and end-users, and so misaligned with corporate goals and objectives?

How to Conduct an IT Audit

How is it that IT departments become so annoying to managers, executives and end-users, and so misaligned with corporate goals and objectives? Many companies are taking time to assess their IT departments to determine whether their IT infrastructure supports today's business and more importantly if their business can grow with the infrastructure that is presently in place. An audit is in order.

While it is called an IT Audit, the review is actually an overall business assessment that determines the extent that the IT organization is supporting the objectives of the business. Generally, the comments or questions that lead to an IT Audit are:

  • "Am I receiving an appropriate return on my IT investment?"
  • "The IT Department lacks credibility with other departments"
  • "The IT Department doesn't seem to be aligned with our company's objectives."
  • "We have a significant amount of "breakage" with IT projects."
  • "The IT Department fails to deliver as promised."

As the business is reviewed, the issues that exist causing an organization to have these perceptions are quantified. Appropriate business approaches are recommended to improve the IT department's ability to deliver quality services on time and within budget.

There are essentially 6 components of an IT Audit:

  1. Company objectives definition
  2. Department reviews to determine business issues, objectives, and perspectives
    • Business owners (Department heads & key managers)
    • IT department
  3. IT organizational review
    • Project plans, status, and priority
    • Staffing levels
    • IT expenses
    • IT change management processes
  4. Technology infrastructure assessment
  5. Business applications assessment
  6. Findings & Recommendations Report

This approach helps senior management size up their situation in a true business perspective as opposed to a lot of technical jargon. The Audit defines the core values that the company needs their IT organization to focus on and in what priority. The report discusses, with senior management, valid issues and their relative priority, creates awareness of the needs, cost, and size of projects, and establishes game plan for the company's IT staff that supports the business.

In order to develop a successful Information Technology delivery model, the proper foundation has to be established. Without a firm foundation, the projects and objectives the company wants to attain have little hope of being successful. Although an organization may have made significant investments in information technology, it can still fail to achieve significant return on those investments.

A.J. Vasaris is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) at Value Management Partners, a project, process and business management consulting firm. He consults with organizations to create the optimum value in projects and processes for improving business performance.

A consultant, writer and speaker, A.J. has been published and quoted as a subject matter expert in various business and technology trade journals including the Wall Street Journal, VAR, Consulting 2 Management, Small Business News, and Crain's magazines. You can keep up with his business rants and raves at his weblog - Project, Process & Business Improvement, or contact him directly via email.

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