What Should IT Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) Include?
Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are often standard practice for businesses of all sizes. They provide a roadmap for organizations to monitor progress, identify issues, and set goals.
In the same way, IT-specific QBRs offer significant advantages for businesses in today’s increasingly technology-driven world.
At Kelser Corporation, we present IT QBRs for all of our managed IT support service customers. But, don’t worry, I’m not writing this article to convince you to work with Kelser. The truth is that we offer a comprehensive managed IT support solution, but we know that isn’t necessarily the right technology option for every business.
Rather than push you to work with us, we are committed to providing easy-to-understand articles about a variety of technology topics, so that you have the information you need to make the best IT decision for your organization.
In this article, I’ll explore which information should be included in an IT QBR. We’ll walk through the elements of a comprehensive QBR and I’ll explain the importance of each element so you know why it’s included.
What’s The Purpose Of IT QBRs?
IT QBRs provide an opportunity for the technology team to regularly review the existing infrastructure, budget, and strategic plans with the executive team.
At these meetings, the IT team also has the chance to ask about upcoming plans for the organization that could affect the technology infrastructure, such as a significant hiring spree, a downturn in business, a new location, or a merger/acquisition.
These regular reviews ensure alignment of the business and technology strategies and make certain that the infrastructure is ready to support the short- and long-term goals of the organization.
This exchange of information keeps the entire organization operating efficiently and effectively.
Related article: Why Is It Important To Align IT And Business Strategy?
What Should IT QBRs Include?
The meeting provides a forum to discuss goals and deliverables as well as status updates.
It should include discussion of:
1. IT Assets (including servers, workstations, and network equipment)
It’s important to track the organization’s IT assets (including servers, workstations, and network equipment) not only to have an accurate count, but to know the age of the equipment to plan for replacements and avoid surprises.
2. Recommended Actions
The QBR should provide a strategic forward look at recommended future actions to keep the infrastructure operating efficiently and securely. These recommendations should include scheduling and budgetary plans.
Maybe your organization is due for a vulnerability scan or a network reconfiguration. Or maybe your licenses will need to be renewed next year.
There are two important benefits of this discussion:
- you avoid budgetary and scheduling surprises because you have a plan
- your leadership knows the financial and human resources you need to keep the infrastructure operating at peak efficiency
3. Projected IT Budget
In addition to proposing a list of recommended actions, present a short-term and long-term overview of the overall technology budget which will include licenses, hardware replacement and warranties and support.
Related article: 5 Things Your IT Budget Must Include & Why
4. Comprehensive List of Users
It is helpful to assemble a comprehensive list of users, email addresses, locations, and software. This will make it easier to track your licenses and hardware and will help make the offboarding of users who leave more straightforward.
5. License Count
Tracking licenses ensures that you aren’t paying for more licenses than you are using and that you don’t suddenly realize that you’ve maxed out your license count.
Related article: What Do I Need To Know About Software Licenses?
6. IT Support Metrics
Use this opportunity to highlight the hard work of your IT support team. Provide information about the types of support tickets that have been submitted and the close rate. You know that old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Make sure your leadership team understands the daily value that the IT support team provides.
You may even want to include response to automated alerts in this count. Again, most alerts and warnings are handled by the IT group before the users are even aware that an incident has happened.
What’s The Bottom Line?
Whether they are currently standard practice for your organization or not, IT QBRs provide great strategic value.
After reading this article, you understand the purpose of IT QBRS as well as the types of information that should be included. In general, these meetings should include a look back at what has been accomplished in the previous quarter and a look ahead to the coming quarter and beyond.
The bottom line is that these meetings provide an opportunity for strategic planning and alignment. With regular communication, the IT organization proactively builds trust with the leadership team and receives vital information about how the strategic business plan may affect the technology infrastructure going forward.
For example, the executive team may not think to mention that there will be 10 new employees joining the organization in the coming quarter.
Depending on the size of the business and the condition of the infrastructure, hiring 10 people could be no big deal or it could be the straw that grinds your business to a halt due to a lack of bandwidth to support the extra traffic on your network.
Or maybe your executive team is considering changing locations or adding a location. By meeting regularly, your IT team will be in the know early in the process helping ensure that your infrastructure is ready for what’s next.
Whether your IT is handled by an internal staff or you rely on an external provider, regular IT QBRs are critical to keep everything moving in the right direction.
If you don't have the internal IT staff you need and are considering external IT support, explore several options. The truth is that you have many options and you want to invest the time upfront to ensure that you get the provider that is the best fit for you.
Here is a list of the best questions to ask any IT provider.
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