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How Can a Platform Audit Help Your Business?

New apps that can assist our daily business tasks are developed at an alarming rate and it seems that we are offered a better solution on weekly basis.
Unfortunately, in a busy commercial environment with input from different individuals and departments, it is easy to accumulate many different apps with functions that can overlap or duplicate their intended purpose.
This situation can be accelerated when individuals leave and new starters bring in their preferred choice of useful software, leaving a trail of legacy and ‘zombie’ apps and when a centralised policy for all departments is not adopted, your software stack can become a complicated mess.

A platform audit can:
• identify unnecessary or ineffective apps, streamlining business operations
• allow greater inter-company communication
• reduce your company’s compliance risk levels
• make real savings on IT expenditure

Apps can be beneficial to a business. They are a fast route to enhancing your existing software operations and applications by adding additional capabilities in a vast array of areas.
Existing apps are constantly being upgraded and new apps are entering the market place each week with multiple offerings from many sources that are readily available and simple for anyone to install. How many of the following exist in your software stack?

Typical app platform topics

  • Social media
  • Productivity suites
  • Online advertising
  • Project management
  • Workflow automation and integration
  • CRM
  • E-commerce & payments
  • Accountancy
  • CMS web development
  • Internal communication
  • Online chatbots
  • Video conferencing
  • Landing page development
  • Industry specific portals

Efficient systems will enhance your efforts.

Whilst these ‘add on’ apps can aid your business efforts and are sometimes essential in allowing you to complete certain functions, if not monitored, your software stack can become over-populated with them.
When your central IT system collects legacy apps that have become outdated, with new versions being added or replaced by alternatives from a different source it will result in an ineffective operating system.
By auditing your software stack, removing any unnecessary apps and in some cases replacing with a better option, you can ensure that your business will benefit from an operating IT platform that is fit for purpose.

Clear routes of communication

Whatever the size of a business, it always helps when each individual or department is working together and utilising a centralised system that allows them to communicate well. An audit can often highlight that various apps are being employed when a single version would allow every faction to complete their tasks and interact in a more constructive manner. Reporting channels would also be clearer ensuring better co-ordination and a more focused operation.

Data integrity and compliance issues

When a company allows its software stack to be populated with a disparate array of apps for similar tasks, linked with historic legacy and ‘zombie’ apps, they are leaving themselves open to a greater risk of data integrity issues.
This can be combated by having a centralised IT policy, with a prescribed list of apps, ran from a single platform. This will limit the amount of times customer, transactional or business sensitive data is entered and stored, leading to improved compliance security.

The true cost of IT

Every business now relies on IT in order to operate and IT expenditure, whilst accepted as necessary to a point, has to be closely monitored to ensure any funding is spent well and in a purposeful manner.
This is why an audit of the software stack is a good thing.
We have experience of audits that have discovered several ‘zombie’ apps, those that are still being paid for, but not being utilised by anyone. Examples are common of various different apps that essentially cover the same tasks being employed, some that carried a monthly subscription fee, when a single free version could replace them.
In one instance we discovered that a company was unknowingly paying for two of the same app!

To discover if your business operations could become more efficient, more aligned, more secure and possibly more cost effective, take advantage of our expertise and book a free consultancy here

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Guy Milne About the author

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