No matter what the size of your business, IT infrastructure is a costly but important necessity.
In the current economic climate, businesses are asked to do more with less and IT budgets shrink or stay the same. Yet the demand on IT is even greater; to better serve users, develop applications faster and deal with more and more data. So whether it’s a new IT investment or a current IT infrastructure programme, it’s important that CIOs get the most out of their investment and ensure IT is delivering, not stifling, growth and profit potential.
There can be many factors that contribute to failure in realising ROI from your IT, so here are the five habits that will ensure that you maximise your IT infrastructure, no matter how large or small your business is.
Modern IT environments are complex, and increasingly more so. Knowing what services and capabilities the company has already bought, through other systems, ensures that you do not pay again for a function you already have. Undertaking this process of assessment also allows you to evaluate the lifespan of each element and calculate when you need to replace or upgrade. Choosing agnostic solutions that help you avoid vendor lock in will typically boost flexibility, help you scale efficiently and adapt to change.
Once you have made an investment in sophisticated technology, you need to invest in the staff that will be using it. Untrained staff will not be able to fully maximise the capabilities of your purchased solutions, leading to lack of productivity for both staff and the technology.
Not training staff impacts their morale and leads to job dissatisfaction, which in turn generates a higher turnover of staff. Furthermore, when untrained employees inevitably struggle with their tasks, time is wasted on calls to the IT help desk and senior staff start to wonder if the IT procurement manager has invested in the right product. Training ensures both business, staff and your IT infrastructure can reach their potential.
Whilst it might be tempting to avoid the cost and perceived risks involved in an upgrade, not upgrading leaves your business open to security holes as hackers exploit vulnerabilities exposed by outdated code. Additionally, outmoded infrastructure holds the business back from adapting to changing market conditions. Choose upgrades that come as part of your licence fee and you can keep updated and agile without the added cost.
Consider the cloud
Companies can now rent an almost inexhaustible amount of resource in the public cloud, which is now synonymous with agility. It means you can experiment faster and try new business models, all without the capital expense that it used to entail. This enables you to innovate with less risk, and if successful, scale up almost infinitely. However, no cloud initiative should be made without an exit strategy, so it’s critical to leverage solutions that provide you with ‘cloud mobility’. The freedom to move workloads between your own systems and multiple cloud offerings could be the difference between agility at any cost and agility with controllable costs.
This is the least complicated to explain, but often the hardest to do. Once you have gone through the efforts of habits one to four, you will feel you have thoroughly done your due diligence and your IT infrastructure should be maximised. Regrettably, or excitingly, technology is constantly evolving, as is your business. So, plan frequent reviews to ensure your IT infrastructure is impacting your company’s growth and potential in all the right directions.
Author – Nigel Tozer, Solutions Marketing Director, EMEA, Commvault