Having reliable data is a critical component of running a successful business. It can help you to make really good decisions and prevent you from making really bad ones. One area of business information that is often sorely neglected and overlooked is technology data and reporting. Having some good data on the status of your network, hardware, and support can allow you to make smarter business decisions.

Let’s talk about hardware first as it’s a good example to start with. Research has shown that the most cost effective way to manage hardware on an organizational basis is to purchase business class hardware that is covered by warranty and then cycle it every 3-5 years. This gives you the best ROI on equipment purchased with the lowest total support costs.

However, many businesses don’t have any way to track their current hardware inventory or to manage it on an ongoing basis. The best scenario would be to cycle ¼ of your hardware every year, but how do you know how old your hardware is and who has what? This is where IT reporting is essential. It can help you to plan expenses. Business should have their accounting department depreciate hardware and software assets to take advantage tax breaks at the end of the year. All of this starts with knowing what you have and where it
is. That data can save you thousands of dollars on organizational benefits, tax breaks and support costs by managing hardware lifecycle.

Another benefit to good IT reporting is that it helps you to make strategic decisions and plan major infrastructure changes. Awareness breeds success. For example, say you know that you have 3 of your main production servers that are out of warranty this year as well as a main business application that has been deemed end of life by the manufacturer. Your hand is being forced to make a change with the software, but it just so happens that the server it runs on also needs to be replaced. The timing is fortunate, but if you’re
not aware of the facts you could easily approach these items as two different projects and spend way more than necessary. Data is everything.

Reporting can also be a great way to find areas where you have recurring problems that are costing you in support costs. Good support reporting can break down the different support areas into a more granular level so that you can evaluate things at a 500-foot level. If you realize that you’ve had 17 issues with wireless on your network in the last month, it’s a good indicator that you have a bad piece of hardware that needs to be replaced. If you’ve spent hours and hours over several months with different users trying to get remote access working correctly it lets your IT expert know that he or she should focus efforts on finding a root cause and a permanent solution. This kind of reporting can also tell you which applications are costing you a fortune in support costs and help you make organizational changes where needed.

If you’re not getting reporting from whoever it is that is providing your IT solution currently, than you’re missing out on crucial business intelligence that could help your company be more efficient and help out your bottom line. If you want help to get some critical reporting pieces in place, contact the pros at i.t.NOW.