How to Grow Your Business IT Infrastructure
As your business starts to expand, there will be more and more need to grow your IT infrastructure to meet your business needs. It is necessary to build a scalable and sustainable infrastructure that will be able to support your business in the long term. Since IT infrastructure determines business growth, it is necessary to build a solid IT infrastructure for your business.
What is IT Infrastructure?
IT infrastructure includes hardware, software, networks, facilities that are used to develop, test, monitor, deliver, control, or support IT services. In the business environment, it is the suite of resources used to operate an enterprise technology environment. IT infrastructure is the pillar that enables the delivery of business value through information technology applications through the employees, stakeholders, and business clients. IT infrastructure should be at the core of your business management attention. As the business grows you will notice that;
i) Your employees become more unproductive
ii) Documentation becomes cumbersome
iii) Server performance issues arise
iv) Backup and recovery systems become less secure
v) Virtual machine bloat
vi) You may lag in infrastructure planning and decision making
vii) Your development and test environment might experience bloat
These are signs that your IT infrastructure is comatose and needs updating. With the growth of your business, processes become more complex and demand more time and attention. .For your business infrastructure to give you the business values that it intends to serve, it is necessary to ensure it is well maintained and up-to-date. When thinking of growing your business IT infrastructure, a good place to start is to think of working on the basic IT components first.
Your hardware may be minimal at first but when you think of scaling up it may prove necessary to invest in servers. Ideally, a ratio of one server to ten users works well.
As your business grows, your operation processes become more complicated and hectic. It may get overwhelming for your employees and affect their productivity. To ensure productivity is maintained, build your software and tools around your growing needs such that your processes are streamlined to make work easier, and increase efficiency. In the same breath, think of investing in your point of sale system. If you are an ecommerce business, it is wise to invest in a cloud-based point of sale system. One of the advantages of a cloud-based POS is that it typically has a lower upfront cost. You only require one or two individuals to manage a cloud-based POS. Additionally, your buyers can easily access the software on the internet on any device.
Below are tips for growing an IT infrastructure that works for you.
1. Simplicity is Key
When your business is growing, processes must be automated to increase efficiency. When it comes to IT infrastructure, it is easier to put in place standard processes that can easily be manipulated to suit all of your different clients' needs. Instead of customizing processes for each clients' needs, have a standardized measure approach especially when it comes to buying products.
As you grow your business IT infrastructure, it is important to keep in mind all of the anticipated future needs. Always consider that there might be unforeseeable customer needs as you grow. It is imperative. Ensure that you are installing IT infrastructure with administrative scalability, growth potential, and options to add functionalities in the future. This is crucial as it saves you unnecessary costs from installing new components each time there is a need to upscale. It will also save you the headache of lost irrecoverable data that may lead to your business lagging costing you an arm and a leg. Consider investing in cloud-based systems that are highly adaptive and diverse in functionality. They are not only cost and labor effective, but a bit also highly scalable across size, distance, and industry.
3. Make Processes Intuitive
The process of engineering your IT infrastructure should be well-thought-out such that processes are not hard to follow up on whenever an issue arises. Avoid over-engineering your systems such that fixes are patched up together creating a mass of implicit knowledge that only the person involved can detangle. As the business manager or IT manager, make sure that processes you engage in building the IT infrastructure are easily traceable by others. Otherwise, it will be costly and cumbersome to keep remembering temporary band-aids and as the business becomes inordinately complex, it becomes increasingly impossible to take a break or even delegate responsibility. To keep your business deft, it is important to keep structural processes and guidelines that everyone, including yourself, can easily follow.
4. Take Advantage of Good Vendor Relationships
When building your IT infrastructure take note of your IT service providers. Be keen to note how they respond to your queries, how fast they fix solutions, and how reliable they are in general. Chances are, how they behave at first is how they will behave in the future. It is your responsibility as the IT manager to keep good peer relationships with IT service providers and other vendors who you need for building your IT infrastructure. Good peer relationships will give you the advantage of consistency in the engineering of processes for your IT infrastructure. It will also save you the headache of reengineering processes when structural changes are required. What's more, it will expose you to the range of products and services available to improve your IT infrastructure for the benefit of your business growth.\
Your IT infrastructure is a crucial part of your business growth. As such, it should be one of the most important management decisions that you make. Always ensure that you are looking out for the current needs of the business while projecting future needs. For you to build an IT infrastructure that meets both of these needs to your advantage, focus on simplicity and scalability. Ensure to make your processes intuitive and take advantage of good vendor relationships for the maximum potential of your IT infrastructure.