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TCS IT Best Practices Audit™ - Frequently Asked Questions

What IT Best Practices products and services are available from TCS?


Professional Services

  • On-site Standard (5 subjects) IT Best Practices Audit
  • On-site Premium (8 subjects) IT Best Practices Audit
  • On-site A la carte/custom On-Site IT Best Practices Audit
  • Program and Project Management Services
  • IT Best Practices Implementation Support Services
  • IT Best Practices Staff Training
  • Self Service Standard (5 subjects) IT Best Practices Audit
  • Self Service Premium (8 subjects) IT Best Practices Audit
  • IT Financial Benchmarking - up to 20 statistics
  • IT Financial Benchmarking - full financial benchmark and statistics

For more information about TCS Services, click here.

Licensed Products

TCS licenses it's products and content for client and consultant use.

  • TCS Audit Platform and Scoring Software
  • IT Best Practices Knowledge Base

For more information about TCS Products, click here, or contact Randy James at (312-835-4742) or

What subjects and topics are available and how many topics are covered?


What subjects and topics are incldued in a "Standard" Audit?


What subjects and topics are included in a "Premium" Audit?


Our IT staff is really busy - how should we get started with an Audit?

Up  In most cases, TCS recommends that an organization begin the improvement process by using the Standard Audit, covering 5 subjects - Desktops and Printers, Microsoft Servers, Storage, Networks, and Software Licensing. These subjects will identfy 100's of opportunities for improvement. Additional subjects may be audited at a later time.

How does the Audit process work?

Up  For on-site Audits, TCS will work with the client to schedule the data collection tasks. For self-service based Audits, TCS will provide links and passwords to the survey(s) to the Client Contact via e-mail. When a survey is completed (all selected subjects), the data is sent to TCS for analysis, scoring, and report creation. Scores generated from the Audit are used to identify areas for improvement, and identify the highest impact topics. TCS e-mails the audit reports (PDF files) to the client contact, and schedules a conference call with the Client Contact to review and discuss the Audit results and recommendations.

How does the Audit survey tool work?

Up  The Audit is software assisted (web based or PC client based) to facilitate a highly structured and systematic "interview" with IT staff to identiy the current state/practice for each topic, and help your team discover opportunities to use Best Practices for improvement. For each Audit topic, the subject, category, and topic are displayed on the screen. An overview/discussion of why the topic is important is also displayed, and recommendatons of where/how to locate supporting data/evidence are provded. The survey tool presents multiple text descriptions to identify the CURRENT state of the topic. The IT staff selects (clicks) on the text description that best describes the CURRENT state of the topic. In addition to the text descriptions, "Not Known" and "Not Applicable" answers may also be selected. The survey is completed when all topics for all selected Audit subjects have been answered.

What IT staff resources are needed to conduct the Audit?

Up  TCS recommends the following minimum participants for each subject: the direct Manager of the subject area, and the most senior member of the IT staff responsible for the subjec area. Including more staff members within the subject area is always educational, and valuable. Senior IT leaders (including CIO's) frequently participate in the interveiws/data collection meetings to gain first-hand knowledge of the current practices or understand the state of key topics.

Does the Audit work with all types of industries?

Up  Yes. The Audit is focused on identifying the use of IT practices and opportunities for improvement, and is 100% industry neutral.

Does the Audit work with all types of technologies?

Up Yes. To the extent possible, the Audit is technology (and vendor) neutral. The Audit does not recommend or endorse any technology, vendor, or service.

Can the Audit be performed in several "mini projects", over a period of time?

Up  Yes. The Audit data collection process is very flexible. Data collection can be "suspended" and resumed by the IT staff at any time. Reports are processed by TCS when the data collection for all ordered subjects is complete.

How does the client IT staff support the Audit process?

Up  The client uses their existing tools and documentation as the source of data (evidence) to select the survey answer that best describes the CURRENT state of each topic. Since the client staff answers the questions, the Audit is free from vendor or consultant bias or interpretations.

What are the "deliverables" of the IT Best Practices Audit™?

Up  The reports provide the current state of each Audit topic, incremental and the Best Practice for each topic, comparisons of the current state with peers, and a prioritized list of specific, actionable recommendations for IT staff to implement. Many of the recommendations can be implemented by current IT staff at near zero cost.

Can the Audit be conducted "off-line"?

Up No. The self service Audit tool is web based and requires an Internet connection to the survey engine to operate. A PC based data collection client is available for use in consultant assisted audits.

How much time is needed for an Audit?

Up  We understand how busy your IT staff is, and we have designed the Audit to minimize the impact on your resources. During the data collection for a subject, only the IT staff with knowledge of the Audit subject is required. A Standard Audit (5 subjects) will require 16-24 total hours of elapsed time to complete. A Premium Audit (8 subjects) will normally require 24-32 total hours to complete. Total elapsed time will depend upon the scheduling and availability of staff within the client organization.

Are the results of an Audit comparable across environments, locations, and time?

Up  Yes. Audit results are direcly comparable - this allows for "before" and "after" comparisons, or use of the tool for due diligence or annual audits to measure the current state and identify progress.

What type of support does TCS provide?

Up  TCS is available by phone and email to answer your questions. TCS performs the analysis of the survey data and prepares the audit reports. Upon the delivery of the Audit reports, TCS hosts a conference call with the client contact (additional staff may participate as desired) to review the Audit reports and recommendations. TCS is also available on a consulting basis to assist the client with planning and implementation.

How often is content added or updated?

Up  Audit content is added and/or updated on a continual basis, while maintaining backward compatibility with prior Audits. Each Audit contains the most current content from our Knowledge Base. User feedback and input are encouraged and welcome!

How do I order the IT Best Practices Audit?

Up  You can order the TCS IT Best Practices Audit™ directly from us. The Audit is priced by subject and delivery method (self service or TCS Consultant assisted) on a per use basis. The audit tools (scoring models and report generation) are also available for licensing. Volume discounts and annual unlimited use discounts are available. Payment methods include credit cards and checks.

What type of security is included in your tool?

Up  The web based survey uses encrypted communications (HTTPS) and password protection. All survey data is stored off-line on local TCS servers.

Why is a Nondisclosure Agreement necessary?

Up  The Audit concept and content comprise the true value of our offerings. In exchange for giving you access to our intellectual property, we require your promise not to disclose our concept or content to others.

How can I suggest new topics or content to be included in the Audit?

Up  Simply contact us with your ideas and input. We encourage and welcome all suggestions for new topics and content.

Can I edit the IT Best Practices Audit topics?

Up  To ensure consistency of the Audit, users cannot alter the Audit topics or content. We encourage and welcome all suggestions for topics and content.

What technical requirements are necessary to perform the IT Best Practices Audit (operating systems, browsers supported, etc.)?

Up  The Audit requires a modern, mainstream web browser that is supported by SurveyMonkey, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox.

Did You Know . . .

The TCS IT Best Practices Audit™ can be used as a M&A due diligence tool - both pre and post acquisition.