Organizations with fast, reliable networks are more efficient, have more satisfied customers, retain quality employees longer, and often have improved profitability. If you feel like your network is holding you back, you’re not alone.Will your current IT infrastructure meet the needs of your business and sustain your growth over the next five years? Here are some questions to consider:
- What is the overall age and condition of your network? What kind of issues have you experienced in the past year? How have they impacted productivity, customer satisfaction, and profits?
- What is the condition of your various devices, from servers and switches to individual user tools? What kind of monitoring do you have in place?
- How do you rate your current level of IT security? Do you have adequate protection in place? What about backups and disaster recovery? Have your technical and non-technical employees been given adequate training and procedures to keep your critical data safe?
- How would you rate your vendor relationships? Are they responsive?
- What applications and databases are critical to your operations? Does your infrastructure have the bandwidth to handle those applications? Are the licenses up to date?
- Does your network reflect current industry best practices? Does it take advantage of emerging technologies such as the latest SaaS applications, SSDs, SDN, BYOD support, and cloud storage where appropriate?
- What business growth initiatives do you have in your five-year plan? What are the applications, bandwidth and storage requirements for those initiatives? Have you budgeted for them? Do your facilities have space or other limitations that must be considered? Can your current infrastructure scale to match your needs?
- Will your in-house IT talent be able to devote time to developing your value-adding applications, evaluating and implementing new software, and other growth initiatives, or are they too burdened with keeping the network and devices running to take on additional innovation projects?
Businesses are finding scores of creative ways to use technology to help their teams become more efficient. For starters, employees need secure and consistent access to information. A smart employee armed with timely information—in the office or on the road—can be your greatest competitive edge against larger brands. Technology can also help bridge the gap between you and your suppliers, distribution network and/or strategic alliance partners, supporting teamwork while protecting your proprietary data from unauthorized use. From interactive calendar management, integrated voice and data solutions, video conferencing and other collaboration and communication tools, to sophisticated supply chain management, robust technology solutions can impact your bottom line.
Finally, you must consider the cost and timing of upgrades. Your infrastructure will be updated—proactively or reactively. It is important to plan ahead for the cost, downtime, staff, and training needed in order to keep your network humming. You might be surprised to learn there are affordable, scalable ways to help you improve capacity and efficiency while in some cases reducing costs for space, labor, power consumption, licenses, and more.
Bonus Tip: A good Managed Services Provider (MSP), like Vology, can help your team evaluate your network against best practices as well as your evolving business goals. They can help you plan and implement your upgrades. This allows you to enjoy enhanced productivity benefits quickly while freeing your IT team from mundane tasks, allowing them to focus on activities that add value for your end customer.