What is an IT assessment? How Does My Cannabis Business Benefit?

May 5, 2022
by Ajay Chawla

An IT assessment evaluates your overall IT infrastructure, systems, people and process.  It’s a bit like a medical check-up – to assess the health of your current IT, see if there are risks and also look down the road for opportunities to improve.  As such, the assessment tends to look closely at your IT network, hardware, the software your business uses, but it also actually examines the processes and people using the IT.  Like periodic medical exams, assessments are vitally important to your business’ health.  This article lays out the basic elements to address when conducting an assessment on your own.  You can use this article as a guide or you can engage a company like Backcross to help.  We bring in top talent with decades of experience providing a current state of IT map of your tech stack and team and a roadmap for improvement to meet your strategic and operational goals. You likely have questions on our process and our output, so let’s dive in. 

Do we have the skills in place?

The first bucket of the IT assessment is an examination of the skills you have in place on your team. The people aspect of any assessment can be an emotional tightrope to walk. During an IT assessment it is imperative that we look at your team, their skills, their personalities, their weaknesses, their certifications and their goals. Depending on the size of your company we help you evaluate if you have the right talent, do you have any gaps, do you have someone who is a jack of all trades and an expert in none, do you have siloed talent in certain areas? We take all of these things into consideration and of course the financial aspect. If you have gaps, is it more cost effective to outsource your needs? When we come in we look at every area of your IT organization including network architecture, cybersecurity, robotic process automation (RPA), and more. Inside of the assessment of your team, we also look at your processes; what do you have in place, do you have a change control process, do you have a mapped process to introduce new technology? We begin the assessment by asking, do we have the right skills in place? And when we are done, you will have the answer to that question and a plan to get where you need to be.

What is in your tech stack?

The second bucket of the IT assessment is likely the thing most people think of first in an assessment, the hardware. Our approach is in depth. We ensure that we identify every single piece of equipment incorporated into your stack. We examine the dates, the state, and the power of what you have. We look at the integration capabilities and the connectivity experience. If your laptops are 6-7 years old we can help identify the effect that has on your process time. We ask your team and your users what is working well, what is giving you a headache and what do you want your hardware to do. Once we know where we are at, what you have and what the use cases are, we are able to provide you with a current state map and recommendations for improvements going forward. Depending on your strategic goals we can make recommendations to ensure your goals are met whether that is a capex goal, an opex goal or a performance goal. We are committed to assessing everything in your stack from your network architecture, to your cybersecurity, your CRM, ERP and all that you might have. We will focus on what you are looking to accomplish and find ways to incorporate more integrations, cost savings, scalability and operational efficiency.

What technology are you paying for?

The third bucket of our IT assessment is an audit of your software. We look at all licenses, all use cases, all integrations, or lack thereof, and the goals you have that are dependent on software. We assess all areas of your business from the back office, to the front office, your cyber security, your integrations and everything in between. We look at your license structure for all your contracts and ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Our goal is to identify any opportunities for efficiency gains, cost savings and performance enhancements. We focus on eliminating redundancies, finding integration points and securing the stack. We also want to make sure the software you have is meeting your needs and identifying areas where a change might benefit your company in the long run. We might look at your ERP and see you are not using it to its fullest potential and bring in some consulting help to meet your goals. 

What do I get from an IT assessment?

When you receive an IT assessment from Backcross you will receive a current state map, identification of all processes in place, itemization of your tech stack and recommendations to ensure your strategic goals are met. Whether you are searching for ways to reduce costs, to scale your business, to eliminate headaches, or to create efficiency gains through integrations and removal of redundancies, you will receive a roadmap to success from us at the end of your IT assessment. Your current state will be mapped in an easy to understand format with red lights, green lights and yellow lights to signify the state of your stack. You will receive a future state map to coincide with your current state map that highlights the journey we can lead your company on to greater success. 

Interested to see how we do that?   Backcross offers a free Alignment call for businesses looking to assess fit.  To learn more about our process check out our services page and our resources page for all things cannabis IT related. We hope this article has been helpful. Best of luck!

-The Backcross Team