Conducted by a business analyst, a technical audit from Ntara is a thorough review of your company’s internal systems, processes, and data giving you a high-level understanding of its infrastructure and current state.
If there are bottlenecks that make processes run poorly, we’ll find them and recommend improvements that will save you time, money, and labor. You will come away with documentation, insights, and recommendations that you can use long into the future.
Who needs a technical audit?
Anyone who has a dream for their company can benefit from a technical audit. Understanding your vision up front helps us navigate together toward your desired goal.
Here are a few examples of the types of challenges we take on with a technical audit:
- A company wants a more efficient global ecommerce system with one, centralized customer experience.
- A company has an outdated corporate website, is still selling from a hard-copy catalog, and is taking orders by phone, email, or even fax. They want to get an ecommerce site up and running, where customers can find product data and buy products more easily.
- A company early in its digital transformation journey needs more powerful technology and more streamlined processes.
- A business needs an efficient process for distributing its product data to various outbound channels, such as Amazon, Walmart, Wayfair, or even their own website.
- A company is heavily siloed, meaning many internal teams don’t know what other internal teams are doing. This means consistency and manageability of their systems is nonexistent. They would like to understand how their teams can work more closely
- A company is inundated by aged technologies or poor use of current technologies and needs direction on improving their existing infrastructure and systems to support modern day digital business.
How the process works
The first and most important step in a technical audit is discovery. Through this process, we gather as much information as possible from you, our client. We’re looking to learn where your data resides and how processes work within your company.
Systems diagrams and/or business flow diagrams that show the interactions between your different applications, departments, and entities provide great insight to the discovery. The more information we can get during this discovery process, the better.
From there, we conduct in-depth stakeholder interviews. Typically, we will meet with all the decision makers—including management and the C-suite—up front.
Then, we’ll dive down into more detail with the subject matter experts from each department. These could be database, system, and software architects; other team members from IT; marketing; product; ecommerce; and more. Subject matter experts are essential to learning about your company and its unique systems and challenges.
Stakeholder interviews help us learn about your current systems and capabilities. Do you have a strong IT department or none at all? Do you work with any external contractors? Is your product information input manually or is it automated? Is your data in a pristine state or is it lacking in desired accuracy?
By the end of the discovery process, we’ll have the answers we need to understand the different parts of your company’s systems and build a more accurate roadmap.
To document what we learn, we will create diagrams and documentation that will show your company’s current state of systems within the context of what you want to achieve. We’ll also deliver a conceptual plan for what that infrastructure should look like and how we see it evolving in the future.
Examples of bottlenecks/problems we may find:
- Your company has several siloed systems from which you’re gathering data, resulting in complexity, confusion, lack of data ownership, and no source of truth.
- Your company has siloed departments working with data and systems independently, leading to duplication, inaccuracy, and uncertainty within your data.
- Your business data is easy to retrieve, but there is a lack of marketing content, detailed information, and specifications. Displaying this data to your customer leaves them questioning if the product will meet their needs, driving them to purchase elsewhere.
- Your legacy systems or software are out of date, no longer supported, difficult to work within, or do not support modern digital technologies.
- Your company has technologies to support today’s consumer expectations, but they are disconnected and not utilized in supporting your customers’ expectations. For example, a customer orders an item, but when the order processes, it turns out that the item is sold out. The order is cancelled, and this customer is unlikely to purchase from you again.
Accurate inventory is crucial
Speaking of inventory issues, it’s important to remember that all buyers—B2C, B2B, or otherwise—are most likely also Amazon customers with Amazon-like expectations.
But your company is not Amazon. It may not have the same level of visibility or distribution capabilities. When Amazon says a product is in stock and the customer will get it in two days, they are utilizing real time data to inform a customer with up-to-the-minute accuracy in information. This includes the current order load, inbound receivables, pick and pack speeds, shipment cutoff times, and capabilities of shipping providers.
Your company likely uses order, inventory, and/or warehouse management systems, but you may not have integrated these systems with each other or with your website, whether it’s from lack of supportive technology or lack of time to properly integrate these systems.
It’s a complicated process to take on internally. You have outbound and inbound orders that continually affect your inventory. You have warehoused inventory as well as special order “just-in-time” inventory. You have various delivery times on when those inbounds will come in and when the outbounds need to go out.
And yet, you should be able to know what saleable inventory you have in stock at any given time. Many companies lack that level of detail about actual inventory availability. That means they can’t confidently make accurate promises to their customers.
This is where a technical audit can truly help your business. We will find the most profitable ways to modernize and streamline your business processes and reduce bottlenecks.
Technical documentation is the basis for everything we do
Documentation is often one of those items created and then neglected—that is, until you need to depend on it. Most companies suffer from the lack of accurate, up-to-date documentation and when they need it, well, it is simply too late.
One of the biggest benefits of a technical audit is the documentation you’ll receive. With a large, complex infrastructure, accurate documentation is essential for maintaining success. This documentation gives you details that you and your teams can reference for years to come.
When you implement changes to your digital ecosystem later, many people in your company will need to access this information. Everyone from managers to developers to marketing experts can refer to the technical audit documentation. This ensures that everyone understands how data flows from one system to the next and how systems connect to each other.
Get the most out of your technical audit
A technical audit is most successful when we have strong participation and enthusiasm from our client. Here are a few points of advice from our team to yours:
- Be willing to learn your own weaknesses. When you assess your internal processes, it’s like holding up a mirror to see what is going well and what could be better. It isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
- Include the right subject matter experts. We’ll need to communicate with the right people to gain the right information throughout your company. And we’ll need your help in figuring out who those people are as well as how to reach them.
- Build buy-in throughout the organization. To generate the support you’ll need for this type of a project, everyone must understand what your company stands to gain. Share your dream with your team!
- Be open and honest about your current state. Do not pull the wool over your own eyes, as it will only hurt you in the long term. Encourage everyone involved to share their woes, concerns, and constraints honestly and openly.
A high-level technical audit tells us what we need to know about your company. It brings to light weaknesses in your systems or integrations while also highlighting your biggest opportunities. With this knowledge, you can make strategic investments to streamline your digital infrastructure. This helps us make better decisions so we can offer you the best solutions.