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IT Infrastructure Service: Who Benefits From IT

Nov 20, 2012 6:00:00 AM

by Ken Cameron

IT Infrastructure Service Who BenefitsWho does not benefit from IT? IT has evolved into becoming mission-critical for every aspect of any business operation, regardless of company size or complexity. Every single person on your team benefits from IT infrastructure service -- from line managers to the C-suite, back office to sales and marketing, the production floor and logistics. Every day, wherever they’re located around the world.

IT has to support rising expectations among employees, colleagues, suppliers, investors, customers. Everyone wants to work faster, more accurately and more collaboratively. Dependence on technology and web-based solutions has become the new normal.

Today’s college graduates have been using technology since they were toddlers. They quickly adopt and adapt to new gadgets, whether it is smartphones, tablets, or some new software capability. They are more prone to “experiment”.  They have forced the rise of BYOD. For IT Infrastructure management, it is “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!”  The question is how do keep up with all of the demands, while maintaining service quality and cost effectiveness.

The user wants “always available”, “infinite scalability”, “access from anywhere”, “usage-based charges”, are accompanied with “I might change what I want at any time” and “security, privacy, compliance are your problems”.  This has led to the exponential rise of the “As-a-Service” generation.

The purpose of IT infrastructure services is to keep things running “Smoothly”.

Historically, your IT staff has probably been charged with:

  • Maintaining equipment and managing data centers, whether onsite or remote.
  • Providing technical support and often applications training for employees as well as trouble-shooting and repairing problems.
  • Tracking and analyzing performance data to determine the business value of IT infrastructure service functions.
  • Sourcing equipment, applications, etc. to improve processes and service levels.

Each of these areas has to function efficiently, or those who rely on your IT services won’t get the benefit they need and expect.  As IT services have permeated all aspects of business, their demands on the IT team have grown exponentially.  The old emphasis on “prime-time availability” is all but gone.  The weekly 12-hour outage window is a thing of the past.

But failures can occur, from individual computer breakdown to full-blown natural disasters. A recovery plan that ensures least down time is a critical necessity, because your company’s very survival depends on predictable business continuity. A 48-hour Recovery Time Objective based on tape recovery would cripple many businesses.

Getting the most from IT infrastructure services can be a challenge.

Even enterprises with a sizeable IT staff can find it difficult to stay abreast of myriad emerging technical innovations and new applications while also working internally to improve service levels and uncover additional technology-driven revenue streams. It’s a tall order, regardless of your staff’s competence.

You’re in business to serve your customers and make money. You can’t afford IT that isn’t lean. But you also can’t afford to sacrifice services as internal and external customer satisfaction is critical to maintaining your competitive advantage. Anything less than peak performance risks your future revenue and profitability.

So, you are faced with tough choices – identifying and exploiting opportunities to both expand and enhance services while reining-in expenses. Even if your IT infrastructure services are functioning well now – meeting or exceeding expected benefits – it is important to continually identify further efficiencies to reduce operations costs, increase revenue or lower your total cost of ownership.

How?

You can look for ways to squeeze greater value from existing IT infrastructure. You can look outside your organization to migrate data centers, select platforms and/or appropriate enterprise applications or contract with an IT service provider to support specific infrastructure components and/or tasks. You can choose broad-scale outsourcing of IT infrastructure services. Deciding to partner with an external provider can address specific strategic initiatives, and/or reduce IT staff and associated costs. Or you can redirect personnel to more valuable, revenue-oriented activities such as:

  • Following emerging technology trends and new innovations.
  • Studying and integrating industry-specific IT best practices.
  • Forecasting and budgeting.
  • Planning.
  • Monitoring and evaluating progress to identify lingering gaps or new opportunities to maximize IT benefits throughout your organization.

While the choices may be many and the choices may be tough, the rewards can be significant. Selecting the right combination of solutions, resources and relationships will serve you well now and provide the flexibility and capability you need to grow into the future. The goal of every IT infrastructure group should be to transform from a pure delivery model to more of a services broker methodology.

You’ll be able to minimize you total cost of ownership yet realize the strongest possible return on your investment, growing your competitive position and profitability. And that will benefit everyone.

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