A Best Practice Guide & Checklist For IT Procurement Strategy
If you’re a business owner, you understand how essential it is to maintain upgraded technology. This can be important for industry compliance and company efficiency. However, preparing for the procurement process is no easy task, especially when you’re responsible for other duties. Where do you even begin when it comes to developing an IT procurement strategy? Here’s a helpful guide to the best procurement practices and how you can implement them.
What are IT Procurement Strategies?
IT procurement refers to obtaining information technology assets to enhance your business operations. Examples of IT procurement include hardware and software along with IT services. These refer to resources such as cyber security, cloud services, and administrative and strategic needs.
In essence, IT procurement strategies help you meet essential business goals. This prevents risks and ensures you get the most out of your chosen investments. To accomplish this, business owners need to complete specific IT procurement requirements. Examples of these tasks include requests-for-information (RFI), researching market options, managing internal stakeholders, and more.
Even so, no two businesses are the same. Thus, various factors like your company’s size, industry, and individual compliance requirements are going to affect your IT procurement strategy. In other words, you’ll need to approach your IT procurement in a manner that fulfills your unique business needs.
This applies to all aspects of your business technology including hardware, software, and cloud services. To make the best use of your investments, it’s vital that you design and implement a useful IT procurement strategy. An ineffective IT procurement strategy can not only negatively affect your IT, but your entire business.
What is Needed for IT Procurement?
There are various steps needed for IT procurement. The process typically involves identifying IT requirements, administering procuring contracts, and communicating with suppliers. The end goal is always to get as much high-quality hardware and software as possible. This will help your business implement its goals with your newest IT products and services.
In summary, the ultimate need for IT procurement is a balance between cost savings and meeting business goals. Understanding what you need for your personal business needs will improve efficiency, reduce waste, and further strategize your IT procurement plan. Try to establish these goals ahead of time as you implement your IT procurement strategy.
Assess Your Business
You’ll need to establish your IT needs before anything else. Analyze your business to see if you’re in need of new and/or updated IT products. Initiate discussions with internal business teams to get further information about urgent business needs. This will help you come up with solutions that are unique to your company and decrease unnecessary costs.
If possible, avoid making purchases that require you to completely adjust your IT environment. This can be an inefficient solution that ultimately harms your business. Instead, invest in technology that supports your established services. Finally, before making final purchases, analyze all your requests and see if the benefits outweigh the costs.
Assign an IT Lead
Establish a team member that’s in charge of overseeing the entirety of the IT procurement process. If something goes wrong, they can focus on resolving the issue. Their place on your team doesn’t necessarily have to be related to technology. In fact, it may be in your best interest to assign the project to a third-party team member with the IT department available to support them.
Speaking of your IT team, make sure they’re involved with your procurement process from the very beginning. You don’t want to give the project to your IT lead only for the entire procurement strategy to get turned down due to logistical errors. Your IT team can tell you if are any integration requirements or technical obstacles you’ll need to address before project approval.
Discover Quality Vendors
There are huge advantages to strong working relationships between vendors. Used strategically, these relationships can lead to decreased costs and seamless logistics. Plus, selecting quality vendors for your specific business needs can contribute to a variety of benefits. Established relationships with vendors can fix technology issues very efficiently.
Plus, when you trust your vendors and their quality of service, it makes the entire process easier. It’s one thing to provide technology that enhances your business, but it’s another to ensure these resources last as long as they possibly can. Keeping data on high-quality vendors allows you to keep track of your IT development and see if performance is improving.
Why is IT Procurement Needed?
When you break down IT procurement to its true potential, its purpose is to enhance your business’s IT infrastructure. Thus, you need to make sure you understand the benefits and challenges that come with developing an IT procurement strategy. Technology will affect your business, so you need to make sure that you’re using it to its full potential.
Generally speaking, hardware and software are central aspects of most company technology. Your technology may also include other services that make up your IT infrastructure. However, technology has developed to a point where you need to make sure it’s capable of connecting to other computers, servers, and printers.
In other words, outdated technology is the primary reason for IT procurement. When you have hardware and software that’s in disrepair or in need of replacement, this negatively impacts your business. An IT procurement strategy gives you the opportunity to evaluate your technology options and enhance your company’s IT infrastructure.
To put it simply, IT procurement is about finding solutions to business technology problems. Thus, when developing your strategy, try to have a clear understanding of what issue you’re resolving and how your prospective technology will fix the problem. This helps you prioritize your business’s unique needs instead of spending money on technology you don’t need.
Best Practices for IT Procurement
Since your IT department is rarely in charge of developing an IT procurement strategy, it’s your responsibility to make decisions that ensure the process goes smoothly and efficiently. For example, you should always keep your IT department involved with the procurement process, even if they’re not making final decisions.
This is important for IT stakeholders and any others involved in your procurement strategy. Since your IT department has to implement your new technology, they need to be aware of these additions. Some other examples of positive IT procurement practices include setting clear business goals, evaluating long-term needs, and vendor collaboration.
Identify and Prevent Risk
An IT procurement strategy always comes with a bit of risk. This could look like technology that doesn’t support your business needs or unforeseen compliance issues. These situations inherently come with inconveniences to your company. Thus, a significant portion of your IT procurement process should be devoted to risk mitigation.
Risk prevention can include the following actions:
- Conducting a comprehensive risk analysis
- Planning future projects and creating a roadmap to implement those ideas
- Predicting financial losses
- Creating a plan to mitigate the effects of these risks
Strategically Set Your Budget
Business owners commonly make the mistake of purchasing items that satisfy short-term needs to reduce capital acquisition costs. However, new technology shouldn’t work for a temporary period of time, it should support your business for a while. Thus, instead of focusing on the short-term financial consequences of IT procurement, evaluate the total cost of ownership.
This is where IT consultants from your internal departments can help you make the best decisions during the procurement process. They can oversee the project and figure out where they can reduce time by completing other important tasks. They can identify how much certain equipment will cost to operate and what can be removed. This can reduce the overall cost of IT procurement.
Work With Professionals – They Know What They’re Doing
When you’re trying to run a business, dealing with IT procurement can add to your never-ending list of responsibilities. There are a lot of details you have to keep in mind: risk mitigation, financial decision-making, vendor negotiations, and more. Instead of trying to approach the process all on your own, consider hiring IT professionals to assist you!
IT procurement professionals can streamline the process so you can focus on your business. Procurement professionals can complete tasks such as installation, automated invoicing, and data organization. Service providers like Teksetra can support you through the entire procurement process to ensure you’re making the right technical decisions for your company!
Benefits to IT Procurement
IT procurement gives you the opportunity to check your technology for potential security breaches. This helps you replace IT that’s no longer in compliance with industry standards. This will prevent your company from emerging cyber threats that lead to harmful data breaches. IT procurement can benefit security in the following ways:
- Replacing routers that no longer follow current encryption standards
- On-site network monitoring and security services
- Updating software builds
- Transferring your data to a HIPAA-compliant encryption cloud hosting provider
Security and compliance often work in tandem with each other. However, there are certain details about compliance that set it apart from security. Your IT procurement strategy can ensure that all of your incoming and outgoing technology is in compliance with your industry standards. Ideally, compliance and security should work together to create a risk-free procurement plan.
The most important thing to remember is that all businesses are responsible for using industry, vendor, and governmental compliance standards. For example, privacy requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ensure that businesses use HIPAA-compliant data centers.
One of the most evident benefits of IT procurement is the potential for overall advancements in your business technology. Upgraded hardware and software can further elevate your daily operations. Examples of this can include utilizing cloud-hosted databases to connect your sales representatives with mobile apps. This can allow them to view and manage data in a convenient and quick manner. Overall, better technology leads to higher operational efficiency.
Challenges to IT Procurement
Planning and Implementation
Lack of internal IT procurement knowledge can lead to inevitable implementation challenges. In other words, a lack of experience with IT procurement can lead to unwise business decisions. This can contribute to incorrect purchases and unnecessary costs. Improper procurement planning can also lead to installation, configuration, and validation delays for your new IT systems. All of these issues can mix together and result in negative consequences for your business.
Internal Skill Gaps
It’s one thing to purchase your new technology, but it’s another for your internal team to implement your IT procurement strategy. Unfortunately, current trends show that IT procurement implementation remains low among internal team members. The same applies to business owners hiring technical specialists or providing training to help internal team members with IT procurement. However, without these necessary skills, your new technology can’t function to its full potential.
Conclusion: Next Steps
An IT procurement strategy helps you meet important business goals. Business owners need to make strategic decisions that ensure their technology stays up-to-date. You may need to complete tasks like risk mitigation, internal stakeholder management, and vendor negotiations. Even so, these are just a few of the many tasks a business owner needs to consider. With that in mind, professional procurement services may be extremely helpful for your business.
If you’re a business owner in need of IT procurement support, Teksetra has the tools to help you! Our professional team of IT technicians are prepared to guide you through the entire procurement process. Contact us to learn more about our various IT services!
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