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5 October 2018
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How to Justify IT Investments for Top Management

Growing business often requires upgrading and development of IT infrastructure. However, management does not always agree to allocate significant funds without proper justification. In this case, it is advisable to conduct a comprehensive audit with the involvement of independent experts. The experience of such audit is described in the article for TAdviser, prepared together with ICL Services.

As an example, we will consider the project of one of the largest Russian agricultural holdings faced significant challenges associated with the support and evolution of its heterogeneous IT environment conditioned by the rapid and expansive growth.

What signs indicate the need for the audit of IT infrastructure?

The Customer’s IT landscape was very diverse because of the business development strategy: penetration into new regions through the purchase of companies of the same profile. And each new company had its own ideas about how information technology should work for the benefit of the business. New sites and systems were sometimes added completely out of control. The IT infrastructure was becoming cumbersome, and there were difficulties in management and support.

The Customer wanted to get detailed information about the existing IT landscape and a road map for standardization of the network infrastructure to reduce the cost of its support.

How to justify the budget for IT optimization

The end customer was the IT department, which had its own plans for the optimization of IT systems. However, the top management did not want to provide the investment in the amount requested by IT professionals. To justify the budget, the management decided to use external expertise.

ICL Services, one of the leading IT outsourcing companies, won the tender for the IT infrastructure audit. ICL Services conducted an audit of the systems, identified bottlenecks, and helped the Customer’s IT department obtain approval for the investment project on the transformation and optimization of the IT environment.

Components of the audit

The project consisted of several key audit objectives:

  • To identify issues and bottlenecks in the IT infrastructure
  • To develop an evolution strategy for the corporate data transmission network for at least three years, taking into account the plans to increase business volumes (from 30 to 60% annually)
  • To provide advice on purchase of equipment
  • To determine the maximum operating time of the installed equipment and develop the life cycle of IT systems
  • To carry out the expertise of transformation projects proposed by the Customer’s IT department

How much time it would take to conduct an audit?

The Customer’s enterprise data networks (EDNs) represented a complex system covering four regions in the Central Federal District and the Primorye Territory of the Russian Federation. In addition to the analysis of EDNs in those regions, an audit of IT application systems was conducted at the Customer’s headquarters.

Two ICL services system architects conducted a survey in two weeks: the experts analyzed more than 200 units of equipment, and conducted several dozen interviews with the Customer’s staff at different levels: from engineers to IT managers.

However, it required a whole month and participation of 10 experts from different fields to conduct a comprehensive examination of the collected data and prepare the final report.

What are the audit project deliverables for the Customer?

The Customer planned to increase the number of remote locations by 30–60% every year. Therefore, it was necessary to understand whether its IT infrastructure can meet the demands of the growing Group and ensure business continuity.

The audit revealed the following bottlenecks in the current implementation of the systems:

  • Lack of uniform standards for the regions of presence
  • Poor IT fleet management
  • Lack of version control
  • Routing and cybersecurity issues

At the same time, fault tolerance and predictability of recovery time are among the most important requirements for such a distributed IT environment.

The audit helped the Customer evaluate potential investments and make the IT system easily scalable. ICL Services also conducted an independent examination of the Customer’s IT projects and optimized them. As a result, the Customer received a full-fledged business case with specific stages, action plans and investment calculation.

By implementing the concept, the Customer will increase the availability of IT services by reducing the number of accidents and recovery time, as well as cut the cost of IT infrastructure ownership.

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